The Joy of Clerkship, Con't
A press release from Grove Press describes the forthcoming novel by Saira Rao (entitled "Chambermaid") this way:
The devil holds a gavel in this wickedly entertaining debut novel about a young attorney’s eventful year clerking for a federal judge. Sheila Raj is a recent graduate of a top-ten law school with dreams of working for the ACLU, but law school did not prepare her for the power-hungry sociopath, Judge Helga Friedman, who greets her on her first day. While her beleaguered colleagues begin quitting their jobs, Sheila is assigned to a high-profile death penalty case and suddenly realizes that she has to survive the year as Friedman’s chambermaid — not just her sanity, but actual lives hang in the balance. With Chambermaid, debut novelist Saira Rao breaks the code of silence surrounding the clerkship and boldly takes us into the mysterious world of the third branch of US government, where the leaders are not elected and can never be fired. With its biting wit and laugh-out-loud humor, this novel will change everything you think you know about how great lawyers, and great judges, are made.I haven't read the book (it's not going to be released until Spring), so I have no idea whether and how Ms. Rao "breaks the code of silence surrounding the clerkship" and I'm a tad skeptical that this book will "change everything I think I know about how great lawyers and great judges are made."
But what's particularly interesting about this is that Ms. Rao was herself a law clerk for Judge Dolores Sloviter of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (according to the WSJ blog). Rumors have been circulating around Philadelphia for some time that Judge Sloviter has become, shall we say, a very difficult person to get along with (and to work for) in chambers. So my guess — and it is, to be sure, only a guess at this point &mdash is that this is a pretty thinly-disguised roman a clef, with Ms. Rao herself as the idealistic "Sheila Raj" and Judge Sloviter the "power-hungry sociopath, Judge Helga Friedman."
I suspect that this will cause quite a rumble in the rather insular and staid world of Philadelphia's legal establishment.