Law in Popular Culture

ABA publishing kicks off new trade imprint with a novel by ATL founder David Lat

  • Print.

Supreme Ambitions

The ABA is planning to publish 35 books next year with a broader appeal than handbooks packed with legal information or offering law practice advice.

Kicking off the ABA’s new trade imprint is a novel by Above the Law founder David Lat called Supreme Ambitions, the New York Times reports. The newspaper writes that, among an elite niche that includes federal judges and their law clerks, the book “has become the most buzzed-about novel of the year.”

The Times says Lat brings a “snarky tone and blend of fact, fiction and rumor to his debut novel” about a recent Yale law grad who lands a clerkship with an ambitious federal appeals judge. The Times notes sometimes dense jargon and says drama is sacrificed for realism.

“There are no murder plots, corrupt jurors or searing cross-examinations” in the book, the Times says. “Instead, the story turns on a jurisdictional defect that throws an appeals court case into question.”

The book is published by the ABA’s new trade imprint, Ankerwycke, named after a tree in England said to be the site where the Magna Carta was signed. The publishing arm will publish legal fiction and more accessible nonfiction books. Supreme Ambitions is listed this ABA gift-giving guide (PDF).

The Times describes three of the upcoming titles this way:

Courtship, “a Nicholas Sparks-like romance starring a public interest lawyer”

Biglaw, “a Devil Wears Prada-type tale about a wide-eyed associate at a Manhattan law firm”

Tuttle in the Balance, “about a Supreme Court justice having a midlife crisis”

Ankerwycke editorial director Timothy Brandhorst told Publishers Weekly that the trade imprint will publish four categories of books for nonlawyers: legal fiction; business books; true-crime books and other nonfiction; and consumer guides.

Related articles: “Around the Blawgosphere: David Lat Takes a Crack at ‘Clerk Lit’; Introverts and Extroverts on Juries”

Updated at 10:40 a.m. to include information from Publishers Weekly.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.