Inside the Episode: Jim Beasley Jr.
I listened to the audio version of Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, about the first year inside the Trump White House, over the course of a week or so driving to work and back. I don’t know how much of the chaos Wolff describes is true, but it sure rings true.
Then President Trump railed against Wolff and called for stricter libel laws, which sounded like a threat that the President might be considering a lawsuit against the author. My thought when I heard this: What is Trump talking about, making the libel laws stronger?
I thumbed through my mental rolodex . . . . who could I get on the program to talk about libel law? The person who came to mind first was Jim Beasley Jr. He graciously agreed to come and do the program, showing up at my office in a Penn sweatshirt. (I had told him he didn’t need to worry about dressing like he was going to court and then I turned around and wore a tie!)
Jim went to Penn for Med School and Law School, so his attire made sense, but it was Jim’s Dad (who left enough money to Temple University that the school named its law school after him) that made Jim and I, well, kind of related.
Jim Beasley Sr. was one of the truly great trial lawyers in Philadelphia. A legend. And many of the City’s next generation of leading Plaintiff’s lawyers started out working for Jim. In the mid-90s, two of those lawyers, Tom Kline and Shanin Specter, left the Beasley firm to start their own shop. Two years later, I went to work for them.
Tom and Shanin were my legal mentors, just like Jim Beasley had been theirs. So I have also felt that Jim Beasley was something of a grandfather-figure, even though I didn’t really know him. The relationship is there, according to the genealogy of trial lawyers in Philadelphia.
And that makes Jim Jr. my . . . . legal cousin? Uncle?
What I do know is that Jim is a brilliant guy and he knows a hell of a lot about libel law and that really shows in our conversation about the state of the law in this area. I learned a lot and I know you will, too.
Enjoy, and, as always, please share any feedback! Here is a link to the episiode: