A Thousand Invisible Cords: An American Lawyer's Unorthodox Journey

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Book Description:

In this memoir, Attorney Sanford Perliss narrates a fascinating and surprising insider’s journey into the world of criminal and immigration law in the multicultural melting pot of Southern California. A former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, Perliss became the first American lawyer licensed by the People’s Republic of China to open a foreign law office in Central China, Sichuan Province, City of Chengdu. Perliss’ unorthodox journey began as a prosecutor, and quickly evolved into criminal defense lawyer, then immigration lawyer, then American lawyer practicing in China. Perliss writes of his involvement in famous cases such as The Night Stalker, The Thai Slavery Case, and The German Tourist Slaying Case; and not so famous but intriguing cases: The Mayan Maestro of Break-dance, The Dim Sum Kidnapping, Murder of a Government Informant and Dead Body in the Park. Perliss tells of unusual Chinese immigration cases in Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Valley: A Politician from Taiwan, A Twice Hapless Widow, and Mr. Fan & the Red Envelope. Finally, he relates startling cases he stumbled upon in China, like The Case of the Five Million Dollar Bond. Throughout the journey, Perliss reminds the reader of the world’s interconnectivity, how one client leads to another, how one idea evolves into many, how one acquaintance, friend or source of business combines with others to resolve a client’s case. Perliss’ own sensibilities are always just below the surface although at times they emerge. In the section entitled Europe and the Dancing Girl, on behalf of a client imprisoned in Holland and referred by a Southern California lawyer and friend, Perliss enlists the help of a Belgian lawyer whom he met under comical circumstances in Beijing while receiving his China law office license. While defending this matter, an odd and chance encounter overwhelms Perliss’ usually steady demeanor. In developing his practice in China, he becomes acquainted with his Taiwan-born wife’s long-lost China family, which included a high-ranking member of the People’s Liberation Army, and in a toast, Perliss turns the tables on the Colonel. Another member of the China family and employee of Perliss’ Chengdu law firm disappears on a visit to America. Perliss weaves legal cases together in a way that fascinates and teaches the reader the essentials of American law. At the same time, he describes the emotional rollercoaster of a law practice, and the life of a Los Angeles lawyer in America as well as an American lawyer in China. While Perliss never loses his Midwestern Jewish-American roots, he finds himself profoundly immersed in Chinese culture as lawyer to the Chinese community and son-in-law of Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Sanford H. Perliss, A Professional Law Corporation (June 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615592260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615592268
  • Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches