At twenty-three, Thomas Jefferson became the youngest practitioner before Virginia's highest court. This is the first book to explore in depth the eight years that Jefferson spent as a trial lawyer. Frank L. Dewey considers how Jefferson prepared for his career, how he acquired a clientele, what kind of cases he handled, how he fared financially, and why he retired from the law.

The principal sources for this account are found in unpublished notes of Jefferson. As Dewey pieces together these notes, a larger picture emerges. The appeal of Jefferson is universal, and Thomas Jefferson, Lawyer fills an important gap in our knowledge about him.