Charting a year in the life of a young divorce lawyer, James James takes us on a mostly personal, sometimes professional, journey as he copes with demanding clients, girlfriends, partners’ meetings, colleagues and friends.
Set in a small legal office in a fashionable part of London, the book gives us an insight into how lawyers work – the office life, the politics, the friendships and the anxieties. All are instantly recognisable by those of us who work in this environment.
Meet Emily, his trusted secretary, who has a career outside the office and upon whom James relies not only in his working life but increasingly in his personal life. His barrister friend Charlie is always ready for a drink and a chat, and the occasional trip to court to fight an interesting divorce case. The trainees are green but eager to learn – their angst something we have all known in our youth. The partners, meanwhile, compete for position and power.
James puts into words what we lawyers in private practice have all experienced as we pursue our chosen career. The book is a reflection of real life in a small practice which could be anywhere. As it is, we are treated to a stroll through many of the landmarks of London: the pubs and restaurants and historical sites.
Author: James James
Publisher: Blue Mark Books (£14.99)
The strength of the book lies in its description. This is a small, incestuous environment in which adversaries are often friends and sometimes foes.
James James is recognisable as the single bloke in the office with a varied social life and passion for ending the day with a drink. His character develops throughout the year until he discovers what is really important to him. Along the way, he deals with shocks and tragedies, rather than always finding a joke in everything.
There is very little actual law involved. When legal practice does creep in, it is kept succinct and there is no danger of confusing the reader. Lawyers and non-lawyers will find the book entertaining and enjoyable.
Jane Sanders is a senior solicitor at Healys and has practised in family law for over 30 years