It’s late summer–who really wants to read about the latest developments in an obscure area of the law?
So today we will uncover a different sort of treatise, Fish Sunday Thinking.
The UK legal world is apparently all atwitter over this book, allegedly written by a young lawyer at an unnamed Top 50 law firm. According to British newspaper The Independent:
The sexual antics and misbehaviour of some of the City’s richest lawyers are uncovered in a novel that threatens to scandalise the legal profession.
Binge-drinking, bullying and licentious corporate bonding sessions are all explicitly recounted by the author, a 27-year-old solicitor who claims his book is based on events that took place at one of London’s biggest law firms.
The Times Online explains the book’s title as reflecting “the dread of returning to work after the weekend.” It further states that the author, “Alex Gilmore, ” has kept his real name secret in order to “protect his lucrative job as a legal beagle and pay his mortgage.”
Hmm. Sounds familiar.
The Times Online goes on to compare the mystery about the author to one occuring earlier this year over a book written by an anonymous London prostitute. Proving once again that the law makes strange bedfellows.
I am skeptical, since this tale sounds more like a caricature of large law firm life than a true memoir. The author may also have had reason to fictionalize events to avoid legal action later if his “identity” is exposed.
What also comes to mind is the hubbub over the “Anonymous Lawyer,” who turned out to be a 3L at Harvard Law, explained here by Evan Schaeffer. Many people, including law firm associates who should know better, thought it had too much of an insider’s tone to be fiction. But it was believable because it was well written, not because it was true. As the author, Jeremy Blachman explained to the New York Times:
“I wanted to see if I could post as a hiring partner and be believable,” he said . . . “I thought it would last for a week.”
“I was just writing satire,” he added. “The stories I’m telling, to me, feel so outlandish. In a way I’ve been disappointed that I’ve been able to pull it off. I’ve painted a picture based on a few months of observation and the worst things I saw, heard about or could imagine about law firms, and experienced lawyers are chiming in, saying, `This is exactly what it feels like.’ ”
An honest depiction of life in a large law firm would probably end up on the remainder table outside Borders, perhaps titled “Law Monday Reality.”
Update (28 Aug 05): It looks like Alex Gilmore’s 15-minutes-of-fame may be up. UK law site Roll on Friday reports on the wayward lad’s identity. A picture and bio are here. The Times Online has further details. As I speculated on Friday, the paper states that the young solicitor is now invoking more of a “novel” than a “memoir” character to Fish Sunday Thinking:
But, in a change of tune, he now insists that the book was the product of his imagination and an entirely fictional work.
Hope he received a large advance (and hasn’t spent all of it). Thanks to one of the eagle-eyed editors at the Blawg Review for the tip.