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Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-Nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyerby Margaret Klaw
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"A prominent family lawyer with the Philadelphia firm Berner Klaw & Watson shines a light on the tumultuous and complex world of domestic relations law in this optimistic yet cautionary exposÃ©. Klaw addresses the old and the new, covering everything from divorce cases to the evolving legislation on same-sex marriages. Illuminating chapters on these legal conundrums alternate with a detailed narrative of a particular divorce case as it wends its way through the Pennsylvania court system. This 'Anatomy of a Trial' serves as an excellent, non-technical crash course on how and why lawyers do what they do — from planning a witness examination to devising strategies to appeal to a judge, navigating conflicts with the opposing counsel, and managing the relationship with their own client. Klaw's candid and pragmatic commentary provides additional insight into how lawyers balance personal convictions and professional considerations, a feat made all the more complicated by the nature of Klaw's particular kind of practice. 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. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Provocative true cases that explore the intersection of our most intimate relationships and the law--and offer a window into how we define a family today.
About the Author
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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