For just $249.95, you can peek at a legal pro's playbook

Veteran defense attorney Kirk McAllister is the go-to guy when people in the know get in trouble with the law.

A judge who got caught driving drunk, custodial deputies accused of indiscretions with inmates, a city attorney who got in trouble over some bond sales in Waterford -- they all sought help from McAllister, who negotiated their plea deals.

He also is the guy Scott Peterson turned to while the world was looking for his wife, Laci, before celebrity attorney Mark Geragos of Los Angeles swept into town with his entourage.

Now, McAllister is giving legal insiders a peek at his playbook, for $249.95.

He has written a text aimed at trial attorneys who need a quick way to find cases that back up their arguments. He said it is the natural evolution of a file folder system he has kept in his Modesto law office for decades.

"I hate researching the same stuff twice," McAllister said.

At 63, McAllister has 27 years of legal practice under his belt and his e-book touches on everything from double jeopardy to biblical references to tainted testimony. "The Criminal Trial Book" comes on a compact disc, making its 333 pages of case law and objections easy to search on a computer.

Attorney Michael Cardoza of Walnut Creek, a legal analyst on cable TV shows, said he met McAllister because of the Peterson case. He lent his name to promotional materials because he read the e-book and thinks it will stand up to other reference manuals lawyers use when they need to find a case fast.

"You can tell who knows what they're doing," Cardoza said. "Kirk has been there, done that."

Attorney Bob Chase of Modesto said members of the defense bar likely will find the e-book useful because they need all the help they can get protecting the constitutional rights of their clients.

"I'm a believer that we're outspent, outnumbered," Chase said. "We need all the help we can give each other."

McAllister said he wanted to be a trial attorney since he was a kid, when he watched his uncle, who was a judge, preside over a San Joaquin County courtroom. He has come to believe that some criminal cases are so dramatic that even Shakespeare could not have dreamed them up.

He switched from prosecution to defense so he could be his own boss and doesn't take court- appointed cases, because he has enough clients who can pay his fees. McAllister fights tooth and nail to get the charges knocked down. A lot of times, he wins.

"Nobody has ever paid me to judge whether or not my client was guilty," McAllister said.

Attorney Kirk McAllister will host an e-book signing tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at Tresetti's World Caffe, 927 11th St., Modesto. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. The e-book may be ordered at www.promakos.net or by calling 888-299-4844.

Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen can be reached at sherendeen@modbee.com or 578-2338.