Keeping It Civil: Book summary and reviews of Keeping It Civil by Margaret Klaw

Keeping It Civil

The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer

by Margaret Klaw

Keeping It Civil by Margaret Klaw X
Keeping It Civil by Margaret Klaw
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Book Summary

A woman seeking a divorce has no idea of the family finances - her husband doled out money only after she gave him requisition slips for her intended purchases. A lesbian couple wants to include their sperm donor in their child's life - the sperm donor is the brother of one partner, so he will be the biological father as well as the child's uncle. These are the clients who come knocking on family lawyer Margaret Klaw's door, hoping for resolution.

Keeping It Civil looks at hot-button issues, such as new reproductive technologies and gay marriage, through the lens of ordinary people seeking counsel. A case about a prenuptial agreement becomes a meditation on the financial independence of women. A father who sues for custody because his ex-wife sends their son to school in slippers offers a look at how a lawyer selects what is relevant when pleading a case, and how a judge determines what makes a "good" parent.

We accompany Klaw as she negotiates with opposing counsel, prepares witnesses for testimony, sifts through legal precedents to develop her courtroom strategy, presents an argument to the judge, and keeps her clients in check. Like the medical observations of Atul Gawande and Oliver Sacks, these actual cases reveal our cultural biases and make for addictive reading, while offering a deeper understanding of what we talk about when we talk about family.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Substantive yet accessible enough to appeal to both law students and clients alike, this book accomplishes an admirable goal: to foreground the humanity in the halls of justice." - Publishers Weekly

"Conversational, entertaining... informative and smart... An accessible description of an intricate field of law, examined in an open-hearted style." - Kirkus

"Margaret Klaw's keen observations about the law and human nature are eye-opening and jaw-dropping. This book shows how today's cultural conflicts are played out in the lives of ordinary families in true-life cases that involve love, money, sex, betrayal, and power. A must read!" - Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of the legal thrillers Save Me and Think Twice

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Author Information

Margaret Klaw

Margaret Klaw is a founding partner of Berner Klaw & Watson, a family law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named by Martindale-Hubbell as a "Preeminent Woman Lawyer," she has been recognized as a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" for the past five years. An adjunct professor of family law at Temple University's Law School, she speaks frequently on family law and blogs for the Huffington Post and dailyworth.com.

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