Mark Herrmann's latest book "Inside Straight" breaks new ground even for this lawyer who certainly broke ground with "The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law." That book is used as a text in many law schools.
This latest one "Inside Straight" will have a much wider distribtution. To begin with, it will be passed on in a plain brown envelope to high potential associates in law firms of all sizes who are expected to become rainmakers. Receiving the book will become the secret sign that they are on the partner track.
Chapter 3 "Attracting Business" covers how to develop new business. And, from my own work in marketing for professional services firms, I am convinced Herrmann is right on the money in how to compete for clients. The tone is candid, especially about the element of luck.
The book will also be given to all summers and first-year associates, along with their photo ID. It explains the arcane rules, rites, and rituals of The Firm. The message they will get is that the environment is not one created and maintained by a reasonable person. Chapter 4 covers all that.
In addition, it will make Scott Turow's "One L" an anachronism. When we were heading to Harvard Law School, everyone told us to read/not read "One L." It was the then-bible for gaining insight into the unusual niche in higher education that we were entering. Herrmann's book takes that a step further. In essence, it decodes the whole parallel universe of law, ranging from law school and summers to practicing law as an associate, partner, in-house counsel, and contract lawyer. Yes, yes, yes, there are chapters or sections of chapters for lawyers who toil in the womb of corporate America, work just in time, or are dancing as fast as they can so that they can't sort out what "man" they are working for. Could be they are really slaving for the ghost of their father who hasn't been exorcised. We run into lots of JDs at 12-step meetings.
"Inside Straight" is bundled from columns Herrmann has penned twice weekly for Abovethelaw.com and it's published by ABA Book Publishing. Some of the best bits are the comments readers have left. Thanks to this book, ATL could become as famous as was the fictional newsroom in which Mary Richards and Mr. Grant worked. Instead there are Mark, David, and Elie.
Here you can order "Inside Straight."