Paul Goldstein wins Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Paul Goldstein (Photo: Lizzy Goldstein)

Stanford law Professor PAUL GOLDSTEIN has received the third annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his novel Havana Requiem.

The award, sponsored by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, is named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill A Mockingbird.

It is given each year to a novel that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society. Previous winners are John Grisham and Michael Connelly.

Goldstein, the Stella W. and Ira S. Lillick Professor of Law, is an expert on intellectual property law. He joined the Stanford Law School faculty in 1975. He is also an attorney at Morrison & Foerster.

Havana Requiem is Goldstein’s third novel featuring the character Michael Seeley, a New York intellectual copyright lawyer who in this turn is trying to put his life back together after losing his wife and job.

A recovering alcoholic, Seeley is approached by a Cuban musician who is trying to reclaim the rights to his music. But the musician goes missing and soon Seeley is drawn into a conspiracy.

A review on Salon.com praised the novel as a compelling thriller steeped in Cuban culture and history.

“While Goldstein creates a satisfying legal puzzle, it’s his description of a city and citizenry floating through life under Castro that gives Havana Requiem its heart and soul,” wrote Douglass K. Daniel.

Goldstein sees comparisons between Seeley and Lee’s protagonist Atticus Finch.

“I like to think that Michael Seeley, the hero of Havana Requiem, embodies not only Atticus’s integrity but also his unvarnished nobility, and the Harper Lee Prize is not only a great honor for me but evidence that perhaps I got it right,” Goldstein said.

The prize will be awarded at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 19, in conjunction with the National Book Festival.

Read more about the award on the ABA Journal website.