Last of the Gladiators
He was a titan, standing taller than the Empire State Building. He was voted one of the “100 Smartest New Yorkers” and deemed by People Magazine and his peers one of the top half-dozen defense attorneys in the country. His was a household name, so when he died in 2014, the world’s leading newspapers ran lengthy obituaries of him. As an attorney, he was a warrior, a Roman gladiator, feared by prosecutors, respected by judges. He represented clients as notorious as mobsters Paul Castellano and Carlo Gambino, and as diverse as Ross Perot, Studio 54, Keith Hernandez, the New York Jets, MGM, Def Jam Records, and Columbian drug lords. He argued before the Supreme Court, and several times remade criminal law in ways that remain to this day. Of nearly 1000 cases he tried, he won more than 80 percent. He was described as a combination of Bob Hope and Darth Vader. He was superhuman, brilliant, charming, and unforgettable. He was trial lawyer Jimmy LaRossa, and they’ll never be another American lawyer quite like him. This is his story, Last of the Gladiators: A Memoir of Love, Redemption, and the Mob by his son, James LaRossa Jr.