Opening Statements

One L of a Read

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Law schools are all about diversity these days, yet when it comes to reading about the law school experience, all the authors seem to be white guys from Harvard. Like Scott Turow, author of the classic One L, and Richard D. Kahlenberg, who wrote Broken Contract.

Enter Martha Kimes, a Phoenix-based former big firm litigator whose forthcoming memoir chronicles her experience at the none-too-shabby Columbia Law School in New York City.

Ivy Briefs: True Tales of a Neurotic Law Student (Atria/Simon & Schuster; May 15, $23) follows Kimes’ journey from LSAT to new associate a journey that’s sometimes snarky, always emotional and ultimately enjoyable.

Kimes was inspired to write Ivy Briefs after posting a few recollections about her Columbia days to her blog, the Random Muse. She received a number of lively comments, and she started to think she was on to something.

Her first research trip was to the garage. “I dug through boxes filled with my outlines and the blue books that I had scribbled in, and my heart was racing just looking at it all,” she recalls. “It’s funny, but just looking through your civil procedure outline, you instantly remember the names of cases and things you wish you could forget.”

Kimes hopes that her book will have universal appeal, but anyone familiar with International Shoe v. Washington will definitely appreciate the humor, the anguish and the seemingly universal cast of characters, like the Gunner, the Show Off, the Self Righteous Do Gooder and, of course, the Sadistic Professor.

There’s even a take away message for aspiring lawyers, Kimes says–that it is possible to get through law school and stay “somewhat sane.” But, she adds, “You have to work at it.”

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