The Lawyers Behind The Lincoln Lawyer
Ben Boman* Two defense lawyers served as the inspiration for the character of Mickey Haller in the novel “The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly.
One of the key inspirations for the Mickey Haller character was former LA defense attorney David Ogden, whom Connelly met by chance at a baseball game when Ogden advised him that he worked from his car, which was chauffeured by a former client.
That set Connelly’s creative mind racing and he gathered further information about how Ogden worked to develop a successful defense law practice.
Ogden is pictured (right) with Michael Connelly at the premiere of The Lincoln Lawyer movie featuring Matthew McConaughey.
David Ogden, who died in Montana in 2020 and was also president of the Malibu Bar Association and grew a substantial reputation as a defense attorney in Los Angeles.
As a defense attorney, he represented a variety of clients, including celebrities, politicians, and business executives. Ogden also featured in numerous media outlets and was a commentator on high-profile legal cases.
The ‘Other’ Mickey Haller
But there was more than one defense lawyer who Connelly used for the character. Indeed it was Florida lawyer Dan Daly who perhaps provided the greatest inspiration for the character and also the central theme of the original book, published in 2005.
While working as a junior reporter for the Daytona Beach News Journal, Connelly met a number of lawyers, including Dan Daly, who still practices from his law firm
Regular meetings with Dan Daly and his partner, Roger Mills, at a Florida bar became occasions for the attorneys to share their experiences and cases with Connelly, who meticulously recorded their insights on napkins.
Connelly said it was in one of those conversations that Daly said something that resonated with Connelly. “There is no client as scary as an innocent man,” and it was that quote that became a central theme of “The Lincoln Lawyer.”
“That became the first line of the book,” Connelly said.
Daly did not spend as much time in the back seat of his car like Mickey Haller but was often on the road working cases within a 120-mile radius of Gainesville, rather than his then-unmarked office.
He drew inspiration from classic works like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ echoing the timeless theme of moral courage in the face of adversity.
Dan Daly’s fast-paced, always-on-the-go legal career left a profound imprint on how Mickey Haller operates within ‘The Lincoln Lawyer.’ The character reflects the hustle and intensity of a real-life attorney’s life.
Although the creation of Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller draws inspiration from David Ogden and Dan Daly, he is ultimately a character in his own right, developed into the book-and-movie character by Michael Connelly.
Author – Ben Boman is a LawFuel contributor who writes on law life and legal issues for online publications. His last article was the Top 10 Law Dramas on Netflix