Sunday, October 04, 2009
Book Review: Nibble & Kuhn
When I'm not busy being a blogger or a mom, or holed up with a good book, I'm a paralegal. When I was offered a chance to review Nibble & Kuhn I hesitated. In my experience, many books about law firms are either unrealistic and fun to read or realistic and kind of boring. Fortunately Nibble & Kuhn is both a good read and somewhat realistic. For those not familiar with the process, law firms hire recent law school graduates as "associates". These people are employees--they are paid a salary, and sometimes a bonus, but they don't own any of the business and generally start off doing work assigned by other attorneys. Over the years it is expected that they will find clients of their own, or that existing firm clients will request that they work in the files. After a certain number of years (a figure that has gotten longer in recent years), they are offered a partnership--the opportunity to buy a portion of the business and to be paid a portion of the profits. Generally speaking, if you don't make partner at the expected time, they are basically asking you to leave.
The main character in Nibble & Kuhn is Derek, who will be up for partnership in six months. A partner leaves the firm, and he is "given" her big case--a personal injury contingency case on which she has spent a lot of time and money but on which she does not have legitimate experts, did not take good depositions and has not been able to prove a causal link between the defendant and the plaintiff's injuries. At the same time he becomes involved with another associate in the office. Also complicating matters is that the firm is moving from one office building to another, and, at the same time, trying to "re-brand" itself to attract new business to pay for all these improvements.
The book has captured much of the "real" world of litigation. Trials are rare, judges push you to settle, and incomprehensible experts of questionable expertise expound for hours on topics the jury doesn't understand. On the other hand, the resolution of the case in this story is kind of Perry Mason-ish, so while not impossible, I'd say it is highly improbable.
I read a lot of romance novels and most are written from a woman's point of view. This isn't a romance novel, but it is a novel that includes romance, and it is written from the man's point of view. Frankly I found both he and his love interests to be shallow human beings--but that's just me I guess.
Nibble & Kuhn is a light enjoyable read that subtly pokes fun at the legal establishment, though I suspect some of the humor may escape those who aren't "inside".
Click to purchase from Amazon: Nibble & Kuhn
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.