Summer reading for lawyers

It’s August and lawyers across the country are vacating these shores for a well-earned rest.

Holidays are a chance to escape from office life, but if you really don’t want a break from the drama that is the legal profession even for a fortnight, here are five recently-released books by lawyers, about lawyers, that you can browse on the beach.

Alternatively, if you’ve read any of these books and would like to review them for Lawyer 2B, feel free to get in touch.


Being Simon Haines

The author: Tom Vaughan MacAuley – a former associate at Slaughter and May and Linklaters, and now an in-house lawyer.

Read it if… you’re questioning your place in the profession. MacAuley says the book is “not anti-law, but provides a deep and reflective narrative telling of the stresses and joys and psychology of a generation of young professionals… it’s the first novel that really tells the story of how City lawyers and other young professionals feel, and how they came to do the job they do.”

The blurb “Meet Simon Haines. For a decade he’s been chasing his dream: partnership at the legendary, family-run law firm of Fiennes & Plunkett. The gruelling hours and manic intensity of his job have come close to breaking him, but he has made it through the years and is now within a whisker of his millions: in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba in an attempt to rediscover his youthful enthusiasm and curiosity, and to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past…

Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, and charged with emotion, Being Simon Haines is a searching story about contemporary London and aspiration, values and love. Painting a picture of a generation of young professionals, it asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are?”

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Flack’s Last Shift

The author: Alex Wade, a lawyer whose career story has already been charted on this website.

Read it if… you into the world of media and associated gossip. This is as much a behind-the-scenes look at the world of newspapers as the world of law.

The blurb: “Harry Flack is reliable and his judgement is cast-iron.

For years, as the longest-serving night-lawyer for The Record, he has kept the newspaper out of court. But on the last day of his working life, a new editor arrives. It’s Eddie Conrad, and Flack has reasons to seek revenge on him for affairs between them and others that are set deep in the past…

Eliminating legal problems has been Flack’s life-blood for a quarter of a century. He knows them intimately; he is Fleet Street’s finest. But will creating legal blunders to incriminate Conrad be as easy? Can he do it without implicating himself? And can anyone stop him?

With newsroom twists and turns and a rare sense of absurdist wit, Flack’s Last Shift blurs fact and fiction, shining a light on what goes on behind the scenes on Fleet Street. It is a deft portrayal of the newspaper world at a time of unprecedented change and upheaval. Next time you pick up a paper, you’ll think twice about how it’s ended up on the newsstand.”

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Summary Justice

The author: John Fairfax – or to use his real name, William Brodrick, a former monk who then became a criminal barrister in Newcastle.

Read it if… you like crime drama.

The blurb: “The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He’d said he was innocent. She’d believed him.

Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger’s in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson’s life. The price of his rehabilitation – and access to the Bar – is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge…

True to life, fast-paced and absolutely compelling, Summary Justice introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost.”

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An Honest Man

The author: Simon Michael,

Read it if… you like crime drama, but set in the 60s.

The blurb: “Criminal barrister Charles Holborne may have just escaped the hangman by proving he was framed for murder, but his life is now in ruins. His wife is dead, his high-flying career has morphed into criminal notoriety, and bankruptcy threatens.

When the biggest brief of Charles’s career unexpectedly lands on his desk, it looks as if he has been thrown a lifeline. But far from keeping him afloat, it drags him ever deeper into the shadowy underworld of 1960s London. Now, not only is his practice at stake, but his very life.

Can Charles extricate himself from a chess game played from the shadows by corrupt police officers and warring gangs without once again turning to crime himself?

Based on real Old Bailey cases and genuine court documents, An Honest Man is the second in the series of Charles Holborne novels by barrister, Simon Michael, set in the sleazy London of the 1960s.”

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Five Ideas to Fight For

The author: Lord Lester of Herne Hill, one of the country’s most respected human rights barristers

Read it if… you fancy some non-fiction, and are passionate about human rights

The blurb: “Human Rights. Equality. Free Speech. Privacy. The Rule of Law.

These five ideas are vitally important to the way of life we enjoy today. The battle to establish them in law was long and difficult, and Anthony Lester was at the heart of the thirty-year campaign that resulted in the Human Rights Act, as well as the struggle for race and gender equality that culminated in the Equality Act of 2010.

Today, however, our society is at risk of becoming less equal. From Snowden’s revelations about the power and reach of our own intelligence agencies to the treatment of British Muslims, our civil liberties are under threat as never before. The internet leaves our privacy in jeopardy in myriad ways, our efforts to combat extremism curtail free speech, and cuts to legal aid and interference with access to justice endanger the rule of law.

A fierce argument for why we must act now to ensure the survival of the ideals that enable us to live freely, Five Ideas to Fight For is a revealing account of what we need to protect our hard-won rights and freedoms.”

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Lawyer for the Cat

The author: Lee Robinson. Practiced law for over 20 years in Charleston, South Carolina, first female president of the Charleston County Bar. Now teaches at the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Also the author of Lawyer for the Dog.

Read it if: You like cats

The blurb: “Sally Baynard is one of the best lawyers around. In the years since her divorce from Family Court Judge Joe Baynard, she dedicated herself to representing the worst and craziest Charleston, S.C. had to offer. But none of the murderers, burglars, or angry divorcing clients compared to Sherman, the dog her ex-husband appointed her to represent. Although the miniature Schnauzer found his way into her heart (and brought his handsome vet Tony along too), his case was a thorny one. With that business out of the way, Sally is happy to move back to non-canine clients… until a probate judge asks her about a cat.

“Agreeing to represent Beatrice, a black cat who’s the beneficiary of a multimillion-dollar trust and a plantation, Sally must put her wit, charm, and brains to the test, choosing among three colorful potential caregivers while dodging the former owner’s angry son. Meanwhile, Sally must juggle the demands of the court with those of her aging mother and make a decision about Tony, who wants to get more serious. Lee Robinson’s Lawyer for the Cat is Southern women’s fiction at its most delightful, featuring strong, smart characters, a charming setting, and plenty of adorable critters.”

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