Morgan Siler is one of Washington, D.C.'s most powerful K Street law firms, its
roster of clients stocked with multi-billion-dollar corporations. Through the
obsessive efforts of its founder's son, Peter Morgan, his father's old-fashioned
business has been transformed into a veritable goliath, embracing bankruptcy and
merger divisions that Archibald Morgan had deemed ungentlemanly. As Peter
reaches the pinnacle of his career, his firm is embroiled in two difficult
cases: a pro bono death-penalty case in Virginia, and a class-action lawsuit
brought against Hubble Chemical of Texas after an on-site explosion killed
dozens of workers.
Assigned to these cases is a group of young associates and seasoned partners
struggling to make their way in the firm. Mark Clayton, fresh out of law school,
is beginning to loathe his dull workload, and to be frightened by the
downgrading of his personal life, when he is assigned to the pro bono case.
Assisting him is the mercurial Walker Eliot, a brilliant third-year associate
whose passion for the law is as great as his skill at unraveling its
intricacies. The aggressive, profane, and wildly successful litigator Harold
Fineman is leading the Hubble defense, assisted by first-year Katja Phillips,
whose twin devotion to productivity and idealism intrigue him, and Ryan Grady,
another first-year, whose quest to pick up girls is starting to interfere with
In this complex, ambitious, and gripping first novel, Kermit Roosevelt vividly
illustrates the subtle and stark effects of the law on the lives not only of a
group of lawyers, but also on communities and private citizens. In the Shadow
of the Law is a meditation about the life of the law, the organism that is a
law firm, and its impact on those who come within its powerful orbit.
As the story opens, the firm has two particularly challenging cases on, one a class action suit against a Texas chemical company, and the other a pro bono case assigned to eager young associate Mark Clayton. So far this sounds pretty much like many another legal thriller - but Roosevelt's is a little more thoughtful than most - combining enough twists and turns to keep thing interesting while also pondering some of the bigger questions about the law and the moral dangers to those who practice it. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Library Journal - David Keymer
The ending suffers owing to stretched coincidences and a too-neat resolution, but these are small flaws in an otherwise superior novel.
Booklist - Stephanie Zvirin
If the first few pages of Roosevelt's debut call to mind John Grisham, don't be fooled. This isn't a plot-driven legal thriller of the sort Grisham writes.....Legal terms and concepts abound so this isn't breezy reading; thought-provoking is a much more accurate description.
Starred Review. This outstanding debut goes behind the scenes at Morgan Siler, one of Washington, D.C.'s most powerful K Street law firms....Though the novel features plenty of satisfying twists and turns, the book transcends the legal thriller genre.....Most of all it's the vividness and complexity of the characters...that heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice.
Colin Harrison (author & editor)
Perhaps only once a decade does a brilliant young lawyer write a terrific first novel that suddenly announces him as a first-rate story-telling talent while revealing anew the enormous drama hidden within the colossus that we call the American legal system. Kermit Roosevelt is such a writer and In the Shadow of the Law is such a book. A tremendous, satisfying read.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Debra Dense! I could not get through this book. It reads like a textbook on the law. I would not recommend it to anyone for pleasure...maybe a lawyer, but it does not paint lawyers or firms in a good light.
Rated of 5
by dave hayes great characters This is a very good but not easy read. Unlike other legal novels, you can't skim through it, nor does it have one single hero type main character. The book has several main and well defined characters who are interesting and human. I recommend... Read More
Kermit Roosevelt's first novel.
He is an assistant professor of
law at the
University of Pennsylvania Law
School and a former clerk to
a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
He's also a descendent of
Theodore Roosevelt, but to his
credit, this is a fact that I
only gleaned when I asked his
publisher a direct question,
having noticed that he shared
the same name as one of
Presumably this also makes him a
relative of Kermit Roosevelt,
the CIA agent who is believed to
have masterminded the coup that
put the Shah of Iran back on his
Throne in 1953.
His latest projects appear to be a
work about legal
scholar Walter Wheeler Cook (died 1943) and
a book to be published...
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...