I recently read a book called Ivy Briefs: True Tales of a Neurotic Law Student by Martha Kimes. This is an excellent book following Martha through her trials and tribulations as a first-year, second-year, and third-year law student at Columbia Law School in New York. I highly recommend it to anyone that plans to go to law school, has gone to law school in the past, or is just interested in the captivating tales of those involved in law.
I pulled up the listing for this book on Amazon.com and it currently has received a 5 star rating from 24 out of 36 reviewers. This book really does deserve these high accolades. In fact, you can now add me to those people that rate this book 5 stars.
Although I get many books from publishers related to law, some I really can't recommend. I can definitely recommend Ivy Briefs. Martha adds humor, comedy, wit, insight, and endearing self-deprecation to her writing that really makes you feel that you're inside Columbia Law School and she's your best friend, confiding her inner-most thoughts with you.
What I liked most about Ivy Briefs was that I felt like I was actually there in Columbia Law School with Martha. She gives a great look inside her personal life (friends, family, and romantic relationship) and how law school has influenced those relationships. Some in positive ways, and some, well, in not so positive ways : )
I found the way that Martha wrote to be very unique in the world of law-related books. She writes in a very personal way, as if she's speaking directly to you. At times, I found myself rooting her on or maybe thinking of some advice to give her until I realized, oh yeah, I'm just reading a book, she can't really hear me. : ) But that's how it is when you're reading Ivy Briefs, you'll feel like Martha's a close friend when you finish reading and you cannot put it down. Most law books are either too boring or border too much on intense dramatics, of how law school is. Rubbish. This book tells it like it is. It's hard, yes, but definitely achievable for the average person as long as they keep a positive mindset, work hard, and have great people giving support and encouragement.
Ivy Briefs has a lot of humor – funny anecdotes and stories abound. Here's an example from the book when she goes interviewing for a summer associate position at a law firm:
“You know I went to law school here,” he said,”and my classmates were all a bunch of asswipes. The professors, too. Ah, well, screw 'em all, that's what I say.”
Oh. Okaaaaaaaaay. That's not really a question. How does one respond to vitriol in an interview? I know, I'll give off a little laugh in hopes that he was just joking! I'll show that I'm lighthearted and humorous! “Hee hee hee!”
My laughter was met with total silence on his part.
Okay, not a joke. Just a crazy person interviewing me.
Just a short example of the many humorous situations Martha gets into : )
It's not just comedy either. Martha shares some of the advice she's received from people in her law school journey. Some relates to studying in law school (outlines!), some relates to summer associate positions , and some relate to having lucky charms for tests (lucky pencil!)
Here's an interesting portion when she speaks with Colin, her office mate:
Curious, I asked Colin about his Lavish Law Firm plans when he came in later that morning. Did he hope to make partner? Did he plan to stay for the long term? If not, then what?
“Hell no, dude. I'm serving my time for three years to the day, then I'm out of here. I'll go in-house at Goldman Sachs or Credit Suisse First Boston or something. Investment banking is where it's at. This shit is for suckers.”
“Suckers like me?” I asked.
“No. That's not what I meant. Because, really, this gig isn't so bad. If you're not a Jerome worried about making partner, it's easy enough to let yourself fall between the cracks. Take it easy. Do the work they give you, but don't do more than you have to. I mean, no one ever gets fired. Sure, if you're a sixth-year associate and they have no intention of ever making you partner, they'll find a gentle way to usher you toward the door, but for the first few years, it's a piece of cake. And everyone gets paid the same – your salary just depends on what graduating class you were in. Whether you bill eighteen hundred hours per year or twenty-eight hundred hours, the same paycheck goes in your pocket. So why be one of the twenty-eight hundred-hour suckers?”
This is real life. This is how life is at law school and at law firms. You can tell you need hard work to get where you want to go. But it also proves you can have a social life at the same . It recognizes that you NEED to have a social life because these people around you that care about you allow you to unwind, release your tensions, and have someone to celebrate your successes with.
I highly recommend Ivy Briefs, whether or not you're a law student or you're in the legal profession. It gives you a great glimpse into the author's life, with a great deal of insightful commentary, humor, and heartfelt stories. Set your coffee pot going now, because you're not going to want to put this book down until you finish.