Federal Judge Frederic Block: Book Review

I recently read a book titled, “Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge.” It was written by Frederic Block, who is a judge in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York. The book is about Judge Block’s life as a lawyer and a United States Federal judge.

The Brooklyn, NY born Frederic L. Block graduated from Cornell Law School in 1959.

The first half of this wonderful book discusses his 30 years as a lawyer practicing in a small town in Long Island. Judge Block initially opened up a law office with no partners and no cases. How he made a living practicing law is a compelling story.

Federal Judge Career

What is even more interesting is his career as a Federal judge. Judge Block is probably the first Federal judge to write a book about the Federal court system while still being a judge. He sat on cases involving the mob, terrorists, as well as every legal issue one could imagine.  In 2004 he tried a money laundering and racketeering case, resulting in an almost ten year sentence for Peter Gotti of Gambino family notoriety. Block also sat on cases involving Kitty Genovese and the Crown Heights riots.

The book should be read by every high school or college student who aspires for a career in the law. It is written in a way that brings the understanding of intricate legal cases into language both enjoyable and understood by the non-legal lay person. Judge Block’s overview of his career shows the justice as well as the injustice in the legal system, and is one man’s account in dealing with it.

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