Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Things Are Going To Slide

In Things Are Going to Slide, Marilee Carson Cooper, daughter of a prominent southern family, teaches law and runs a law school legal aid clinic in the small Alabama town her family has inhabited for generations. But then things slip out of her control. She is pregnant with her second child when her husband leaves her for another man. She loses a coveted job--to her first love--that would ensure her financial security, and she is desperately trying to help a teen-age mother accused of murdering her baby. Described by one reader as "smart chick-lit/mom-lit,law-lit", and another as"the kind of book that makes you keep reading long after you meant to turn out the light."

Guest Post
For a little over a decade, I have taught in the clinical law program at one of the Washington, D.C. area law schools. That work experience is reflected in my newest novel, Things Are Going to Slide.
For those of you who have never heard of clinical law, a law clinic is a nonprofit law practice in a law school that serves the public interest. In most law clinics, law students represent clients and appear and argue in court pursuant to student practice rules. The dual goals of most clinical law programs are to teach skills and values to law students and to serve populations of individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to have lawyers. Most U.S. law schools offer legal clinics to their students in a broad array of subject matters and over the last few decades clinics have become an essential part of legal education. In the U.K., however, a much lower percentage of schools offer clinical education opportunities to their students (I don’t know what accounts for this difference).
If you’ve seen the movie Legally Blonde you might recall the scene where Elle Woods takes over the defense of her former exercise instructor and reads from the statute allowing her to practice law under the supervision of a practicing lawyer. Elle’s approach was somewhat unusual (to put it mildly). In clinics outside the world of movies, our students sign up for clinic as part of their third and last year of law school and professors instruct the students in the classroom and supervise them outside the classroom as the students embark on their first cases.
Although most U.S. law schools have legal clinics, different schools employ different types of clinic pedagogy. In Things Are Going to Slide, those differences became one of the conflicts between my heroine, Marilee, and her first love, Dwight, who betrayed her years earlier. Marilee’s clinic was non-directive, meaning that her students handled the cases largely on their own, with weekly meetings with their supervisor, Marilee. Dwight, who “stole” Marilee’s job promotion, was trained in a very directive model, in which the supervisor acts as the main lawyer on the case and the students are assistants.
The requirement that clinic professors publish law reviews like their peers who teach substantive courses also is part of the plot in Things Are Going to Slide. Marilee will lose her job if she doesn’t publish a law review article, a somewhat unfair requirement given that a clinical law professor not only teaches but also runs a law firm!
Another aspect of clinical law that became a significant part of the book was the clients and their stories. Almost every legal case involves someone in some kind of trouble. The stories clients tell their lawyers are often riveting and I wove several hypothetical legal stories into the plot of Things Are Going to Slide. Many of my readers think this aspect of the book lends itself to a sequel. Let me know what you think!

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. After college in Atlanta, I moved to D.C. for law school. I never left D.C., much to my surprise, and, in between raising four children and writing books, I have practiced public interest law and corporate law, I have prosecuted anti-trust and criminal cases, and I have represented several white collar criminal defendants facing politically motivated charges in federal court. Most recently, I have taught a variety of courses at the Washington College of Law and done pro bono work on behalf of asylum and immigration client. Things Are Going to Slide is my second published novel. My first, No Defense, will be re-released as an e-book in the spring of 2013.
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  1. Thank you for hosting Rangeley's guest post as part of her tour today Jillian.


  2. Thanks for participating in the Fiction Addiction Book Tour for my book Things Are Going to Slide.