Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jake Ehrlich & Loius Lurie with San Francisco's Finest...

Jake Ehrlich Standing behind his lifelong best friend, Louis Lurie and San Francisco's Finest. This photo is taken in Louis Lurie's office. 

Nancy Reagan First Lady of The United States & Friend...

Jake Ehrlich was close friends with Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Jake's wife, Marjorie was very close friends with Nancy's mother.

Dinner Party with Family & Friends...

Jake Ehrlich Sr., is pictured sitting on the far left with his granddaughter Cynthia sitting on his lap. His brother Esau is sitting on the right side of him, next is his son Jake Ehrlich Jr.; his wife Marjorie Mercer Ehrlich and standing between Jake Jr., and Marjorie in the white dress is his daughter, Dora Jane Horton next to her husband Edgar Waverly Horton III. The man standing on the far left is Paul Baker.

Letter From Attorney Jerry Giesler...

Jerry Giesler served as co-council on the Alexander Pantages case and later wrote this letter to Jake Ehrlich.

Click on letter to enlarge:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


James Farragher Campbell

I am honored that Jake Ehrlich III would invite me to write a quarterly column for the Never Plead Guilty Blog.

Why? Because his grandfather, the Master, Jake Ehrlich, was the person who started me thinking of becoming a lawyer. Let me set the scene.

I was a senior in high school attending Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Illinois, just out side of Chicago. I had my heart set on becoming a sea captain and was ready to enter the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.

I was on guard duty, which was exciting because that meant I could lawfully skip some of my classes. Somehow, I came across Jake Ehrlich’s book, Never Plead Guilty. I started to read it and couldn’t put it down. I was hooked!

Good-bye to the Merchant Marine Academy and hello to college, the liberal arts and onto law school. After reading The Lost Art of Cross-Examination by Jake Ehrlich, I knew it was the life of a lawyer for me. 

And, after I read the rest of his books, including Ehrlich’s Criminal Law, I knew it was the life of a criminal defense lawyer for me. I have never regretted my decision.

It was these books that lead me to other books by San Francisco lawyers, including a series of books, Criminal Law Seminar, by Nathan Cohn. 

Nate has his own unique story and place in the great history of the San Francisco criminal defense bar as well as the nation’s criminal defense bar. He is a living legend and I am so honored that he sponsored me to join the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. The ABCL is by invitation only and you must pass very strict standards in order to be considered for membership. Your admission into this prestigious group is only by a unanimous vote of approval by the Board of Governors. 

Not only did I get in, but in 2007 I was elected President of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Somehow I know this all started with Jake writing a book, me reading the book, and being nurtured by all the other lawyers who Jake also brought along the path of criminal defense.

It was Jake that also made me think of coming to San Francisco. I have never regretted that decision either.

My San Francisco office is housed in the historic and very beautiful Stock Exchange Tower at 155 Sansome Street in the heart of the old financial district. On my walk to my office I feel the spirit of those that made San Francisco. I still feel the buzz of commerce, the gamblers from the gold fields, the Big Four, Black Bart, Emperor Norton and yes, the Master, Jake Ehrlich. Who would not be energized coming down the street from Nob Hill into the canyons of the financial district?

As I sit in my office chair behind my desk I can easily recall memories of cases and people I have come across in the practice of criminal law. Hung on the walls, or set about the office, I see all significant objects, mementoes and pictures of my practice and my life. I believe memories should be seen and not put away in the attic. There is also a touch of the opulent for added drama, red walls with grand damask curtains and gilded chairs. I refer to my decorative style as “eclectic opulence.”

One object hanging on my wall is of special interest with regard to Jake Ehrlich. It was given to me by his grandson as a memento of how Jake has influenced my life. This object was originally given to Jake Ehrlich many years ago by the warden of San Quentin Prison as a present to Jake for his work in the criminal justice system. It is the lock and key to the front prison gate. A gate that never had to be opened for any of Jake’s clients!

So, my quarterly column will be “If Jake Were Here Today.” It will describe changes in the City, the law, and certainly changes in the sartorial splendor since Jake left us. I will ponder what would Jake think and what would Jake say?

I hope to hear from all of our readers as well on what they think Jake might make of the changes today in our society and our little sanctum of San Francisco. 

I also hope to interview other lawyers that Jake had helped along their way, influencing them in the process. This will be a true labor of love.

Until next time,

All the Best,

James Farragher Campbell