James Bostwick was interviewed by Pat Rullo on her Speak Up Talk Radio podcast to discuss his award-winning novel Acts of Omission and his career as a civil trial lawyer.
Acts of Omission, Bostwick’s fictional legal thriller inspired by a high-profile medical malpractice trial he handled as a young attorney in San Francisco, received Speak Up Talk Radio’s 2021 Firebird Book Award in four categories: Courtroom Drama, Legal Fiction, Legal Thriller, and Best Audiobook.
During his interview, Bostwick discusses his journey to becoming an author and the case that inspired his book, which received national attention and was featured on Walter Cronkite’s 6 o’clock news. He also talks about his incredible career as a plaintiffs’ trial attorney working on medical malpractice and other personal injury cases.
Speak Up Talk Radio is a nationally syndicated radio show available on iHeart, Sirius, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more. You can listen to the full interview with Mr. Bostwick here.
James Bostwickis founder and partner at Bostwick & Peterson. As one of the nation’s most respected civil trial lawyers, Bostwick has secured numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements for clients across the country. Acts of Omission was nominated for the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and is currently being made into a movie, which Bostwick is co-producing. Purchase Acts of Omission here.
Author James Bostwick’s debut novel Acts of Omission won the prestigious 2021 Firebird Book Award, receiving top honors in four categories, including:
Courtroom Drama, First Place
Legal Fiction, First Place
Legal Thriller, First Place
Audiobook, First Place
Hundreds of titles from around the world were read and scored by a panel of judges comprised of professionals in the literary industry. Scoring criteria evaluated the literary merit, content, and production to name the top three category winners across a wide variety of audiences, subject areas, and genres. The Firebird Book Awards, sponsored by Speak Up Talk Radio, charitably benefits homeless women and children living in shelters.
The trial drama, Acts of Omission, has received many accolades since its publication, recognizing Bostwick’s in-depth understanding of the law, first-hand knowledge of litigation proceedings, and adept storytelling ability.
In 2020 Jim was nominated for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, in what he calls “an honor as a lawyer and as an author because they recognize works of fiction that best illuminate the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”
Bostwick’s decades of first-hand experience as one of the top 100 plaintiff trial lawyers in the country inspired his award-winning novel; his complex and high-stakes cases providing many of the details and nuances that drove the plot and characters he developed.
James Bostwick will be interviewed by Pat Rullo of Speak Up Talk Radio to further discuss his accomplishments as both an attorney and an author, and how his professional and personal successes in each field have intertwined over the last few years.
Acts of Omission is an elaborate tale of fact and fiction inspired by a lawsuit that Bostwick filed against Melvin Belli, a famous Bay-Area attorney known for representing celebrities and well-known defendants. Bostwick’s decades of experience as a trial lawyer provided intimate details of the inner workings of legal proceedings, case progression, and a dark side of the courtroom.
Bostwick stated in the interview,
“The agony and the passion that occur in a case is all real. Actual lawsuits that tell the truth about what happens can be the basis of an excellent novel.”
An avid reader, Bostwick had considered writing a novel for a long time, and finally found the inspiration he needed from a creative writing course he took with his wife at the University of San Francisco. After nearly a decade of developing characters, plot, and storyline, Acts of Omission was published in 2019 by Post Hill Press.
Since the launch of its publication, the novel found its way into the hands of Hollywood producer, Jeff Apple, who paralleled Bostwick’s work to that of Barry Reed’s The Verdict. In collaboration with screenwriter Michael Shiffer, Bostwick and Apple are working towards developing the novel into a film.
After over 40 plus as a trial lawyer, Jim Bostwick’s decision to become an author and film producer is a good reminder that it’s never too late to learn and try something new.
If you’re someone who still values the environment of a bookstore, we’ve got the best for you.
There’s nothing like the peace and quiet that comes with finding your new favorite book at a bookstore. Although the internet doesn’t require you to leave your own home, at a brick and mortar bookstore you can sit down and read the synopsis of several (usually with a freshly made coffee), meet your favorite author for a book signing, or meet people with the same interests when you find them in your favorite genre aisle.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best bookstores across San Francisco and the Bay Area here:
1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA Open 10 AM- 5 PM Monday through Friday, 9 AM- 5 PM Saturday, 11 AM- 5 PM Sunday
The “Bay Area’s Liveliest Bookstore” earned its name from hosting a broad spectrum of events every year. From children’s books to book groups and writer’s organizations, every reader or writer will find an event for them.
1727 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA Open daily from 12-6 PM.
This woman-owned bookstore is located in the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. They have many in-person, and now virtual, events you can attend, and their employees are bound to help you pick out your new favorite book.
100 Bay Street, Sausalito, CA 94965 Open daily Mon.– Fri. 11 AM – 7 PM, Sat. & Sun. 10 AM – 7 PM
This bookstore, opened by a local resident, has an expansive section focusing on maritime and nautical reads. It also has a great selection of local authors. This bookstore is specially curated for the community, and its employees have over 30 years of experience.
900 Valencia St. , San Francisco, CA 94110 Open Daily 10 AM- 10 PM.
Dog Eared Books was established in 1992 and has been distributing many different genres, crowds, and puppy sightings ever since. You’ll also find books from a lot of local Bay Area writers (like James Bostwick).
48603 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920 Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11-5 PM.
This memorial library opened in 1981. Not only can you read and buy books at this serene library, but you can also host or attend a private event. They feature Big Sur authors and have had performances from some of the most notable musical artists (Red Hot Chili Peppers and more).
261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133 Open Daily from 12-8 PM.
City Lights Bookstore was America’s first all paperback bookstore. It was established in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, both poets. It now offers all kinds of books, genres, and events dedicated to the knowledge of art, history, music and more.
536 Emerson St., Palo Alto, CA 94301 Open Daily 11 AM- 5 PM.
Bell’s Books was established in 1935. It is a family-owned independent bookstore and has bay area residents raving about their rare book selection and signed copies. Bell’s Books has two stories of a wide variety of genres (everything including children’s books).
Here are some great ways to support Acts of Omission AND your local bookstore!
Engage with your favorite bookstore on social media, and spread the word!
Two of James Bostwick’s favorite local bookstores are included on this list (Book Passage and Sausalito Books by the Bay) so if you swing by, you could potentially run into him! Check out the bookstores on this list, or if you’re not from the Bay Area, take a trip to your local bookstore and purchase Acts of Omission in stores (or through the bookstores’ websites)!
In his interview, he discusses his background, what it was like writing the book, and the exciting events that have transpired from his success with Acts of Omission, and more.
According to Jim, one of the most significant benefits of becoming an author was that he got to engage with people that he may otherwise never had a chance to meet, from young, aspiring lawyers to established, experienced lawyers – to Hollywood screenwriters and producers.
“You never know who you might meet or what lucrative opportunities may present themselves once you become an author.”
In fact, his book is now being made into a movie that he is co-producing. In addition, Acts of Omission has become recommended reading in law schools throughout the country.
When asked about how to grow a business or brand by writing a book, Bostwick talks about the benefits of name recognition that authoring a book provides. He now gets calls from lawyers from all over the country about cases, and he enjoys many new speaking opportunities.
The increased exposure and new opportunities are the amazing results that have come from writing his book, which was nominated for the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Referrals are essential for new business and writing a book can help tremendously with that. He is currently working on the sequel.
James Bostwick shares insight into becoming an author and penning his novel Acts of Omission during an interview with Authority Magazine.
As a voracious reader of legal fiction, Bostwick decided it was time to write his own novel, one that realistically depicts the difficult choices, high risk, ethical dilemmas, anguish and euphoria of everyday life for civil trial lawyers. Bostwick believes there are a lot of works that reinforce “ambulance chasing” personal injury lawyer stereotypes and present skewed or false views of the selection and preparation of trials, so after years of pondering writing a novel, he finally wrote Acts of Omission to correct that deficiency.
When asked about the biggest challenge he faced in becoming an author and how he overcame that, Jim answered:
“…The most significant was overcoming my innate desire to make everything I wrote sound like I knew what I was doing. I wanted it to be lyrical, the prose to resonate and inspire, the dialogue to be real and the descriptions to leap off the page. What I learned was those goals are extremely difficult to accomplish — especially in a first draft. The more I tried for perfection in each paragraph, the less paragraphs got written. I quickly learned that you must spit it out. You are better off just vomiting your ideas out on to the page, if you will, rather than creating a masterpiece with every sentence. Once the juices start flowing the images will write themselves, the story will develop a life of its own. You can always go back and edit, smooth it out and improve it later.”
Jim was asked what 5 things you need to know to become a great author. Based on his experience with writing his novel Acts of Omission, he answered with the following advice:
Write concerning something you are passionate about.
Everyone’s writing wants to explain/tell the reader what is going on — don’t. Show them and let the reader figure it out. When the reader can use their imagination, the story comes alive. In other words, don’t tell them what your character is thinking, show it with their actions or mannerisms.
Don’t use an outline or, if you do, don’t follow it too closely. Characters and storylines must have the freedom to go where the winds may blow them. When your characters start doing things you never had imagined they would do, that’s when the story begins to resonate. Your novel has then developed a life of its own.
Listen to the ideas of friends and family but rely primarily on your own instincts. Writing is a creative process like art — not everyone is going to like the product of your efforts. Every good author is going to have a few one- or two-star reviews. You must give birth to what is inside you and not worry about pleasing everyone.
Editing is key. When you have your 500-page masterpiece completed, remember that it probably has 100 pages of fat that don’t need to be there. When it has been pruned of chapters or vignettes you thought were fun/great at the time but upon cold-blooded reflection aren’t truly necessary, the story will move much faster, won’t have dead spots and will keep the reader more engaged.
James also discusses his biggest influences and habits that helped during his writing process. Read the full Authority Magazine article on medium.com.
James Bostwick has been a San Francisco trial lawyer specializing in catastrophic injuries for more than 50 years and has set the bar for litigating some of the most complex and high-stakes cases in the country. He is recognized as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S. and is one of the most experienced attorneys for plaintiff’s medical malpractice and personal injury litigation with a legacy of record-setting results.
His first novel, Acts of Omission, is loosely based on a real case James Bostwick tried when he went up against the most famous and powerful attorney in the country to fight for justice for a devastatingly injured teenager.
Here he answers some questions about being a lawyer, writing a novel, and finding that work/life balance:
What do you like best about being a lawyer?
There is so much – probably the opportunity to make a real difference in the life of someone with a devastating injury to themselves or a loved one. We can’t fix injured people, unfortunately, but we can make life a bit easier, get them the help they need and provide some economic security for their future. Also, of course, the challenge of preparing and trying a case against really talented adversaries that you really want to beat but can still respect highly!
Are there similarities between presenting a case and writing a novel?
Oh, yes. Perhaps the greatest similarity is the fact both are an artistic presentation of the facts – done in a way that is interesting, compelling, and tells an important story. Both start with a blank “canvas” and you as the author/trial lawyer are responsible for creating a cohesive, understandable and persuasive vision of what needs to be conveyed to the viewer/jury/reader.
How do you find work/life balance?
You have to set your priorities and then MAKE yourself adhere to them. Family, health, exercise, friendships, and fun pursuits must not take a back seat to your work even if you love it. It is awfully easy to rationalize a few extra hours, time and time again – and then, before you know it, you have lost critical moments and some important events are history. Things/important elements of your life that you can never regain are gone forever.
What are your top 5 favorite authors/novels?
Seabiscuit and Unbroken by Hillenbrand; Educated by Westover; The Lewis Trilogy about the Hebrides by Peter May; Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin; Deerslayer, Cooper; The Sun Also Rises etc, etc geez – where to stop?!
To read more about the nationally recognized trial lawyer and author James Bostwick click here.
Acts of Omission is celebrating the 12 days of Giftmas by sharing some great gift ideas for the lawyers and law students in your life.
For the 1st day, get the lawyer in your life someLawyer Socks from Hot Sox. These ultimate stocking stuffers can be worn while suited up for trial or while relaxing, working, or studying on a Sunday afternoon.
For the 2nd day of Lawyer Giftmas, help the lawyer in your life see clearly (and look hip) inCaddis blue light blocking glasses and readers. These stylish glasses, which come in several styles and colors, help block 45% of harmful blue light.
On the 3rd day of Lawyer Giftmas, gift the lawyer in your life the UbeesizeVideo Conference Lighting Kit. In our new normal we have turned to webcams and video conferencing for school, meetings, and depositions and perfect lighting can make all the difference in looking your best.
For the 4th day of Lawyer Giftmas, send a personalized handcraftedwooden door sign from Mad Tree Woodcrafts. Mad Tree Woodcrafts creates custom keepsake boxes and mindfully made signs to help us slow down and cherish life’s memories.
On the 5th day of Lawyer Giftmas, purchase the best-selling legal thrillerActs of Omission. This debut novel written by top 100 trial lawyer, James Bostwick, has readers saying “move over Grisham.”
On the 7th day of Lawyer Giftmas, send the lawyer in your life the latest version of Apple Airpods Pro. These new versions of AirPods have active noise cancellation with transparency mode, sweat and water resistance, and a customizable fit.
For the 8th day of Lawyer Giftmas, give the lawyer in your life aRuth Bader Ginsburg “tRuth” keepsake tea towel in honor of the late RBG. RBG was a tireless champion for equality and justice whose legal brilliance, integrity and perseverance changed America for the better.
On the 9th day of Lawyer Giftmas, send a gift that will support local bookstores with amembership to Librofm. You choose the membership (1, 3, 6, or 12 months/credits), your gift recipient picks their own audiobooks, and your local bookstore is supported by your purchase.
On the 10th day of Lawyer Giftmas, gift the lawyer in your life a Friends inspired lawyer tee from Etsy. “I’ll be there for you” is the perfect slogan for the time lawyers spend trying to help others through complex and difficult waters.
The 12 days of Lawyer Giftmas comes to an end with a great gift for all the lawyers and law students in your life – the New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons. A good laugh is needed more than ever this year, and what better way than by reading a collection of eighty-five cartoons about the legal profession by critically acclaimed cartoonists including Addams, Steig, Arno, Shanahan, and Leo Cullum.
We hope you all enjoy gifting to the lawyers and law students in your life, and that they feel the appreciation for the hard work and dedication they put into helping people at their greatest time of need.
This holiday season it’s more important than ever that we support our local independent bookstores.
Independent bookstores are not just stores, they are the anchor to a community where friends gather and out of towners come to visit. They spur ideas and creativity and range from quiet places where perusing is a day well spent to lively performance spaces.
There are many ways to support your local bookstore:
Shop Online: Use this handy bookstore finder from IndieBound.org to find a local bookstore to support. You can also shop online at Bookshop.org, an online bookstore that financially supports local, independent bookstores. Acts of Omission is available in paperback, and you can choose which independent bookstore you’d like to support.
Buy Gift Cards: You can’t go wrong buying a bookstore gift card for someone you care about! Call or go online and purchase gift cards from your local bookstore.
Enjoy Audiobooks through Libro.fm: One of the best ways to get audiobooks is through Libro.fm because each purchase directly supports an independent bookstore of your choice! And, of course, if you enjoy legal thrillers, mysteries, suspense, and courtroom drama, Acts of Omission is available as an audiobook!
Pre-order, Pre-order, Pre-order: Pre-ordering a book helps bookstores know what you want to read so that they can order it, have it in stock, and in your hot hands as soon as it’s released. When you pre-order, it also lets publishers know that there is a demand for an author’s work – a win, win all around!
Engage with bookstores on Social Media: Follow independent bookstores on social media and sign up for their newsletters. Get updates on book releases, virtual events, giveaways, and more. Then recommend that others shop at their local store as well. Tag independent bookstores in your Instagram Story, share virtual events on Facebook and Twitter, and revisit bookstore events you’ve loved by sharing photos are all great ways to show your support.
Donate to Binc Foundation: The Book Industry Charitable Foundation helps booksellers impacted by financial emergencies and is currently helping booksellers affected by COVID-19. If you’re able to, consider donating to the foundation to support booksellers during this difficult time.
It’s never too early to start shopping for the holidays. If you have a lawyer or law student on your holiday list this year, we’ve gathered 12 “lawyer tested” gift ideas that are sure to please those honorable, hard-working loved ones of yours.
Elevate attire with Women and Men’s Lawyer Socks from Hot Sox. The ultimate stocking stuffer can be worn while suited up for trial or while relaxing, working, or studying on a Sunday afternoon. Price: $7-12
See clearly (and look hip!) with Caddis blue light blocking glasses and readers. These stylish glasses, which come in several styles, help block 45% of harmful blue light. Something we can all use while staring at screens. Price: $60-115
Enhance the Zoom Room with a Video Conference Lighting Kit. In our new normal of the Covid-19 era, many have turned to webcams and video conferencing for school, meetings, and depositions and perfect lighting can make all the difference in looking your best. Price: $65
Escape with the best-selling legal thriller Acts of Omission. The debut novel written by one of the top 100 trial lawyers, James Bostwick, has readers saying “move over Grisham.” A must-read for lawyers and aspiring lawyers, the story is based on a case Bostwick tried and authentically depicts the risks and rewards of being a trial lawyer. Price: $9.99-16.99
Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg by displaying this “tRuth” keepsake tea towel. RBG was a tireless champion for equality and justice whose legal brilliance, integrity, and perseverance changed America for the better.