Scoundrels in Law: The Trials of Howe and Hummel, Lawyers to the Gangsters, Cops, Starlets, and Rakes Who Made the Gilded Age
by Cait Murphy '83
"Cait Murphy's Scoundrels in Law paints a colorful portrait of this era, showing us stories of human frailty, hypocrisy and stupidity that, in their essence, are all too familiar from today's police blotters and court reports..."-- Scott Greenfield, Wall Street Journal
- Learn more about the author (view alumni profile)
- Read a message from the author
- Listen to the interview with Cait Murphy and Cassie Abodeely '96
- Read an excerpt
- Explore selected photos from the book
Gangsters and con men. Spurned mistresses and wandering husbands. Strippers and Broadway royalty. Cat killers and spiritualists. These were the friends and clients of Howe & Hummel, the most famous (and famously rotten) law firm in nineteenth-century America. A dramatic, diamond-encrusted presence, Howe was one of the great courtroom orators of his era, winning improbable acquittals time after time. Abraham Hummel enjoyed a quieter but perhaps more fearsome notoriety, shaking down high society so well and so often that receiving an envelope with the law firm's name on it became almost a rite of passage.
The partners bestrode Gilded Age New York with wit and brio, and everyone from Theodore Roosevelt to Lola Montez had a part in their story. Through the windows of the dingy premises of Howe & Hummel, readers can glimpse the Gilded Age in all its grime and grandeur.