#FRC2015 Book Review: BIGLAW by Lindsay Cameron

#FRC2015  Book Review: BIGLAW by Lindsay CameronBiglaw by Lindsay Cameron
Published by American Bar Association on August 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, Legal
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads

Mackenzie Corbett has always dreamed of living in New York City. Now, almost two years into her job as an associate at a premier Manhattan law firm, she’s living her fantasy big salary, high profile deals, cute boyfriend, designer bag on her arm. The giant bags under her eyes from lack of sleep don’t fit into the fantasy, though. To make matters worse, she’s being tormented by a bitter, bitchy senior associate, her cute boyfriend is annoyed she never has time for him, and now she’s stuck on the deal from hell with a partner whose biggest claim to fame is throwing a stapler at a cleaning lady because she touched his ficus plant. With the opportunity to secure a prestigious secondment on line, the overachiever in her is determined to endure whatever it takes to close the biggest deal in the firm’s history. But when Mackenzie finds herself the focus of a devastating investigation her dream job begins spiraling into a nightmare. In this pitch perfect, frightening accurate novel, Lindsay Cameron throws back the curtain to this intriguing world exposing the truth about life in BIGLAW.

No big surprise to those who know me personally – I work for lawyers. I’ve worked for lawyers for about 30 years now.  I’ve worked for sole practitioners in the suburbs and I’ve worked for larger firms “downtown” in big cities, but I’ve never worked for a law firm quite like the one portrayed in Lindsay Cameron’s new book, BIGLAW!

I will say though that I could relate – I can relate to the stress, the feeling of being overworked but not wanting to let anyone down, of being replaced overnight.  Most of all I can relate to the atmosphere of a law firm like the one in this book – people’s quirks, the unbelieveable personalities, the passive/aggressive behaviors, the office gossip and romance… I’ve seen it all and I can honestly say BIGLAW touched on most of those crazy situations.

BIGLAW is a great book – fast paced with a very likable main character who suffers the wrath of the not-so-likeable people that touch her life. I commend Ms. Cameron on her writing skills because I really breezed right thought the book and enjoyed the story as if I were watching a movie instead. I read the book in two days – two weekdays after putting in over 8 hours a day at the law firm too! 

I watched law clerks “grow up”, finish school and become associates only to be drained of their every waking moment to meet the needs of the partners they were assigned to at the firm. Being taken advantage of until the day they might get an office of their own. I loved how Ms. Cameron’s book shared the inner workings of this chain of events in the larger firms.

You can honestly tell she lived the experience of which she writes. In fact, I learned Lindsay Cameron worked at a big law firm, Schulte Roth & Zabel, in Manhattan. Within a year, she quit her job and began working on this book. Rumor has it that the story has been optioned for a TV show or film by Paramount Pictures.

“The book is definitely fiction, it’s not a memoir, but there are characters and circumstances that are based on my own experience with some poetic license thrown in,” Cameron said.

I can tell you this – anyone who has wondered why a lawyer would leave a lucrative career at a law firm to do something else can find some of those answers in BIGLAW.  The main character, Mackenzie Corbett, clearly worked very to get where she’s at. She’s an associate at a high-profile law firm, but the demands of being an associate wreak havoc with her social life. She’s having boyfriend issues, she can barely catch face time with her friends and her family is worried that she’s in trouble just because she dashes out on Christmas Day to fax a document to a partner of the firm. When Mackenzie realizes how much she is sacrificing, she starts realizing the stresses of the boys club at the office and the double standards she continues to face, even when her mentor is another woman!

Mackenzie’s life continues to get more and more stressed, her life starts to fall apart and to ice her cake, she gets called into a meeting with federal investigators. She finally stands up for herself, calls out her enemies, receives her reward for plowing through, and decides to walk away instead.  The plot is hilarious, the dialogue is great and the pace of the story is lightning quick with lots of twists.  Overall BIGLAW is a great read that I really enjoyed. There weren’t any slow spots in the story, it just kept going from cover to cover. I could not put the book down and read through the night — and really paid the price the next day at work!

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Lindsay Cameron is a graduate of the University of British Columbia School of Law. She worked for six years as a corporate attorney at large law firms in both the United States and Canada, including one of New York’s most profitable firms. Deciding that writing was more fun than lawyering, she left the law behind to pursue a career writing novels while hunched over her laptop at Starbucks. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two young children. BIGLAW is her debut novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.

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