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June 15, 2010 1:45 PM

Author Eisler Responds to Review of Williams & Connolly Book

Posted by Ed Shanahan

The following letter was written by author Kim Eisler in response to Michael Stern's review of Eisler's soon-to-be published book Masters of the Game: Inside the World's Most Powerful Law Firm. 

By Kim Eisler

Michael Stern certainly has every right to be dismissive of my new book about five partners who moved Williams & Connolly past the death of Edward Bennett Williams to become the most powerful law firm in the United States. Mr. Stern says that I fail to back up my claim of Williams & Connolly's influence and "power," which Mr. Stern scornfully says amounts to little more than "representing Democrats and Republicans in trouble, and then doing their book deals."

In point of fact, I reveal how Williams & Connolly lawyers permeate the inner sanctums of the White House and presidential politics, the foreign policy establishment, the top media figures and publications, the cable and network anchors, the Senate, sports leagues, and the pharmaceutical industry, and how it has far-reaching tentacles into the intelligence community, a point that was documented previously in Evan Thomas's wonderful biography of Edward Bennett Williams.

Mr. Stern has audacity calling my narrative "disjointed." In rejecting my conclusion that this web of clients and connections equals real-life influence and power, he writes that true "power" is the "allocation of private benefits and social costs, and commercial success." Huh? Maybe I am the one writing clear English, after all.

Interestingly, in his complaint that I am short of compelling stories, Mr. Stern fails to even mention the major portion of the book dedicated to Larry Lucchino, whose remarkable life and near-death story as the "adopted son" of Edward Bennett Williams culminated with his winning a World Series ring--and for the "cursed" Boston Red Sox, of all teams.

Among his factual errors, Mr. Stern confuses Bob Barnett with Bob Bennett and falsely chides me for saying Ken Starr was engaged in a "witch hunt." The witch hunt reference on page 202 is from President Clinton's memoir, not an opinion that I express or hold.

The book is chock-full of compelling stories, ironies, and anecdotes to support my thesis. Not so much the allocation of private benefits and social costs. To that I confess.

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