When she was not yet a teenager, Kate Hope started “reading law” in the office of “Judge” Hope, her half-blind grandfather, a grumpy eighty-nine-year-old lawyer with problems. One big problem is that he believes in justice for all, not just those who can afford it. He also needs a partner. Together they find a loophole in Colorado law, and Kate becomes a lawyer—technically. She has a law license hanging on the wall in her office, but she has no idea how to practice law. In a courtroom. With a judge and jury and defendants.
It doesn’t help that things don’t start out so well for Kate’s legal career. The firm of Hope and Hope has an unusual first case, and if they lose it, a dog named Herman—the only friend an old woman has—will be destroyed. But Grandfather falls ill, leaving Kate to try the case on her own. Will Kate be able to save Herman from doggy death row? Will Grandfather Hope recover in time to make it to the courtroom? Will life ever be normal again for Kate Hope? Will justice be served?
From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—In Denver in 1973, Kate Hope, 14, has become an attorney in partnership with her grandfather after the death of her dad and brother in a car accident. The firm takes clients who are in need of representation but short of resources. At the center of the story are two cases: a man in the States on a work permit who has been charged with theft, and an elderly woman whose dog has been impounded. Kate is resourceful, deals with her grandfather’s growing infirmity, and has a sometimes boyfriend who helps with investigations. The social issues of the day flavor the narrative, which is also laden with legal detail and discussions of justice that will appeal to aficionados of courtroom dramas. Although the writing is somewhat pedestrian, the book has a unique premise. In an afterword, Downing provides a legal basis for his invention of a protagonist who practices law at such a young age.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library
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