Story Synopsis

“True North is the intense and unforgettable story of how the love between a father and son
can overcome any and all obstacles, of how the very limits of life can be overcome.”

When the author discovers his father, alone and nearly dead, in the intensive care unit of New York Presbyterian Hospital, he makes a critical decision.

“You’re just not going out this way,” the author promises his father. Hours later, he’s loaded onto a Medevac jet, headed for a California coastal town and an unknown future.

As the son begins, with single-minded determination, to put into motion a monumental plan to rescue his father—one of the most accomplished trial lawyers of his generation—word of the lawyer’s unexpected escape from New York to California reverberates in the Mob’s smoke-filled backrooms, the country’s highest-flying corporate boardrooms, and America’s halls of justice.

Then, in the role reversal of all role reversals, the son begins to personally look after the deepening medical needs of his wheelchair-bound father, and seeks to give him “quality time,” even cooking him his favorite Italian dishes. The son also uses the time together to corral his father’s near photographic memory, with the master trial lawyer producing a master story about America’s criminal landscape of half a century.

Not to be outdone, the author’s lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder is revealed for the first time. As a writer and publisher, he is a walking petri dish of expert insights about, and personal conquests over, mental illness. He fights tooth and nail to save his beloved father, and we see first-hand how the author faces down his own personal demons with the guile and smarts that only his father could have gifted him.

The wily attorney not only stays alive another five years, but has a ball doing it.

The story comes full circle when the son begins to realize he did not, in fact, “save” his father. His father “saved” him.

True North is the intense and unforgettable story of how the love between a father and son can overcome any and all obstacles, of how the very limits of life can be overcome.

As their story together unfolds, so does a 50-year-long tale of organized crime, politics, trial law, personal redemption, indomitable spirit, and family loyalty that could only be told by the father-son team who rode into the eye of the storm and lived to tell about it.

Part intimate portrait and part historical saga, True North will leave readers in a giddy state of fascination and inspiration.

TRUE NORTH, A Son’s Memoir, is based on actual events.

True North, A Son’s Memoir of Love, Redemption and the Mob, will be available from Bancroft Press in hard cover by March, 2019.


The Skinny on Jimmy
Notes From the Author

My father and I share the same name. For the purposes of this book, there is only one Jimmy—my dad, trial lawyer Jimmy La Rossa. Though I never addressed my father by his first name, the decision to refer to him informally throughout parts of this work was done to better represent Jimmy La Rossa as the extraordinary man that he was, and to avoid redundancy.

What follows is based on actual events. Pseudonyms and initials are used throughout the work to protect the anonymity of living characters who may be compromised by their depiction in this true story. For the most part, trial scenes are based on the original transcripts as well as direct quotes from contemporaneous press reports.

A Word on the Title: A simplified definition of “true north” is “a meridian of longitude.” As a metaphor for my father, however, the novel usage of TrueNorth as a super noun throughout this work is a purposeful sematic progression that is warranted by the unique subject matter.


This work, originally titled LAWYERS GUNS & MONEY, began as a lengthy treatment for a television series. LAWYERS GUNS & MONEY is a registered trademark of Jimmy Boy Productions LLC, Los Angeles CA., Category 041—“Entertainment services in the nature of an ongoing historical drama.”

The La Rossa Boys


James M. La Rossa, Esq.

December 4, 1931 – October 15, 2014

New York Times – James M. La Rossa, Defender of Mob Bosses in Court, Dies at 82.

New York Daily News

The Times (London)

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James M. La Rossa Esq., Cases: The Mob, Unions, Political Indictments, Business/Medical, Sports, Drugs, etc.