by Kermit Roosevelt III, 2005

A Review: Will you still want to be a lawyer?

In his novel In the Shadow of the Law, University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Kermit Roosevelt III crafts his legal thriller around three tactics from the writer’s strategic toolkit. 

These tactical choices have particular relevance for attorneys at law:

  • Rhetorical analysis, 
  • Strategic and tactical analysis, and
  • “the key”.

In this book, the key is the female lawyer who provides essential keys to crucial developments in the two contrasting legal cases featured. 

Our legal femme fatale is the key, or at least holds the keys, to unlock the transition points and the climax of the novel. Her part is small, but this comes across as a commentary on the condition of women in many law firms and society as a whole. Like “code girls” during WWII and the Black women who crunched numbers for the Mercury program at NASA, women may take a back-seat role, but when necessity demands creative solutions, women often come to light as holders of the keys of the kingdom, to crucial elements that lead to a successful resolution of a situation. The key leads to success, to victory.

In the end, In the Shadow of the Law is a redemption story. It is about a brilliant Jewish attorney who finds his own private redemption, his singular liberation. It is about a  woman, a legal Braveheart, a cast of damned characters, and an Irish-American transforming defeat into victory through sheer persistence. Finally, the firm itself may well emerge as an antihero, a variety of redemption with which large, powerful law firms may have to be satisfied as approaching redemption. 

How does Prof. Roosevelt accomplish this legal alchemy? It is all there In the Shadow of the Law!

Four solid stars **** for Kermit Roosevelt’s premiére novel!

Find In the Shadow of the Law here.


  • president and International coordinating editor, Democracy Watch News; Pacific Northwest coordinating editor, International Collaborative Media Alliance.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *