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Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup…
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Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True…

by Margaret Klaw

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you are interested in law this is a good place to start. Written for the uninitiated, it has a mild tone and is easily digested in one sitting. She uses interesting tales to illustrate different aspects of family law. I do wish however she had spent less time on one main case and instead expanded more on other cases presented throughout the book. ( )
  knitgeisha | Apr 20, 2014 |
Interesting glimpse into problems of family law practice, particularly regarding changes in expectations, child bearing arrangements and custody disputes.
  ritaer | Mar 21, 2014 |
Margaret Klaw is a good storyteller. This was a very enjoyable book. I liked seeing behind the scenes of family law. It read a little bit like a serialized novel in that the main case narrative was interrupted with interesting facts about how the courts work. These asides did not appear to relate to the case however. They were very interesting tidbits and I was startled to learn about them for the first time. It did keep me turning pages. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Keeping It Civil is extremely entertaining. It's the kind of book you can read on a one-way train ride from New Haven, Connecticut to midtown Manhattan. I should know because I just did it. It's a peepshow into the world of relationships which are on the brink of complication. Divorce is the obvious scenario for which a family lawyer is needed but consider these cases: same-sex marriage and artificial insemination rights, to name a two. Nothing about humans or their relationships is cut and dried anymore. For example, I was surprised to learned that as a same-sex couple, you can get visit the state of Vermont and get married while you are there, but to get divorced you have to have lived in the state for a minimum of six months. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jan 29, 2014 |
Margaret Klaw is an accessible, warm and engaging writer. In Keeping It Civil she manages to humanize her frequently unimaginable, if not wholly maligned, profession. When I refer to her profession here I mean not only the law but family law in particular. My father was a lawyer, and he took a number of 1st degree murder cases, but never performed any work on any family matter in decades of general legal practice. He thought it was too ugly. So believe me, my default stance on practicing any kind of family law is "I would not, could not Sham I am...in a box, with a fox, etc. etc." But Klaw is nothing if not relatable, so I got a real felt sense of why she does what she does. The business and social oddities of this type of work were also interesting for me to learn about.

Since she softened this skeptic, Klaw could very well make you see lawyers as human beings who can help others and are necessary. She also lifts the curtain on a confusing system that affects many American's lives in the most fundamental ways. What's great is she never gets too technical or caught up in the legal profession thematic talk. She illustrates her points through walking the reader through the ins and outs of the matter at hand. Most importantly, her stories are engaging! You could finish this book before you know you started it. It's very light but very worthwhile career/memoir nonfiction, is what I mean by that.

To conclude, it seems like there is a lot of mystery surrounding how a lawyer behaves humanely and within the peculiar forms of American law when passions and the dearest interests of human beings are at stake. This quick but thoughtful book runs through a case to give the reader a good sense of the heart of this matter, at least in her own life. I particularly enjoyed her portraits of some of the different humans she encounters as opposing counsel (in the chapter of that title), and her clarification that most lawyers are compassionate but stay professional.

I got a copy of Margaret Klaw's little gem here from the GoodReads Giveaways.


( )
  kara.shamy | Jan 9, 2014 |
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An accessible description of an intricate field of law, examined in an open-hearted style.

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