Saturday, June 29, 2013

Me, Esquire

As some of you know, I'm a lawyer by day (and occasionally by night and weekend too when work gets busy). For the most part, I really enjoy it. I work primarily in the field of estates - trusts, wills, that sort of thing. I like it because I help people plan for their futures, for their families. And I like being there to help them through their grief, to tell them what to do when they are too upset to know.

But I find some of it astonishing... the people I meet are sometimes more outlandish than the characters I create in my books (and I write fantasy!). I guess, having grown up in a somewhat astonishingly functional family, that I didn't expect the level of dysfunction I see in so many clients.

The stories these people tell and the grudges they can bear... it's remarkable. I worked on a case a long time ago where two feuding siblings had bankrupted a multi-million dollar estate fighting over who got a set of silverware. Silverware.

I like it because the stories keep things interesting and give me faith that no matter what my subconscious dreams up, there are stranger things than are dreamt of in my philosphies.

But I also find the fiction version of the law astonishing. Not things like Legally Blonde (admittedly, a large part of why I went to law school) or Law and Order (if they actually obeyed most of the laws, it would be the most boring show on the planet). But I've read more than a few books that include tales of wills forcing marriage and other bizarre things to inherit.

And I love it! I don't begrudge the authors their literary free rein with the law. Goodness knows the reality can't compare. Some days its more than fiction, but most days its a lot less. But I love seeing the law used creatively in fiction.

So, if you have any legal stories or threads in your work in progress, let me know. If I have time, I'll try and help you out.



  1. Interesting, my father was a criminal defense attorney for years before going into corporate law, and I was surprised once when my Mom said I got my creativity from him. She said lawyers are usually extremely creative because they have to be, building a case akin to plotting etc.

    Funny, all professions used in fiction require research - and while it may not be perfect, you can always tell when an author glossed over it, whether it's being a cop, doctor etc. I always send my technical science stuff to my sister for evaluation as she's a lab scientist - because even if I'm writing off-the-charts unreality, those little details that line up with reality make it more palatable to the reader.

    1. It's kind of true - I had an easier time in law school because I was good at writing than a lot of people who hadn't had that practice. Yay for being a writer/lawyer. Of course, most writer/lawyers quit the law to be writers... I went the other way around :)


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