February 22, 2017

Ankerwycke releases rollicking satire of American legal education

“You will never view legal education in the same light
after you’ve read ‘Legal Asylum.’”

— Alan Dershowitz, author and prominent law scholar


CHICAGO, Feb. 22, 2017 — With increased emphasis nationally on the state of U.S. legal education, a new novel from Harper Lee Prize-winning author Paul Goldstein takes a satirical look at the legal academy and simply asks: Is it possible for a law school to make the exalted list of the U.S. News & World Report’s top five law schools and still lose its American Bar Association accreditation in the same year?

In his book, “Legal Asylum: A Comedy,” Goldstein tackles sacred ground for law deans throughout the country by spotlighting the ratings game and highlighting some of the critical issues involved in law school accreditation. Ankerwycke, the ABA’s trade imprint, published the book.

“While journalists have reported extensively on the impact of U.S. News rankings on the behavior of American higher education, I believe that it takes a work of fiction to truly convey the resulting absurdities, a sort of Gulliver’s Travels for the 21st century,” Goldstein explained for why he wrote the novel.

“Legal Asylum” follows Dean Elspeth Flowers, who will let nothing — nothing — stand in the way of plans to catapult her backwater state law school into the magazine’s “Top 5” ranking. But tensions between the school’s warring factions ¾ the Quants, Poets and Bog Dwellers ¾ put her plans in peril. So, too, do the errant pursuits of her faculty and the maneuverings of a mailroom clerk with plans of his own to radically transform the school.

Subsequently, the arrival of an ABA accreditation committee to conduct the law school’s required periodic review threatens to expose the school’s deepest secrets and forces the dean to confront her own darkest demons.

Goldstein is a writer, lawyer and the Lillick Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He is the author of four previous novels: “Secret Justice” (Ankerwycke, 2016); the bestsellers “Errors and Omissions” (Doubleday, 2006) and “A Patent Lie” (Doubleday, 2008); and “Havana Requiem (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), which received the 2013 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction that is bestowed annually by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal for the best new legal novel.

Title:                “Legal Asylum: A Comedy”
Publisher         Ankerwycke Books
Pages:              285
Binding:           Hardcover
ISBN                978-1-63425-611-7
Price:               $26.95
E-book:            978-1-63425-612-4 ($9.99)
Orders: Order the book at shopABA or call 800-285-2221.

What others are saying about “Legal Asylum”:

“A wonderful read! Paul Goldstein combines a jaunt through the law school world with biting wit and humor.” —Amanda Brown, author of “Legally Blonde”

“This biting satire by a longtime law professor offers frightening insights into the modern American legal academy.” — David Lat, managing editor of Above the Law and author of “Supreme Ambitions: A Novel”

A funny, biting, beautifully written satire of a world that badly needs satirizing.” — Eugene Volokh, founder of The Volokh Conspiracy and professor of law, UCLA

Editor’s note: Author interviews and review copies of this book are available by emailing Dean Pappas at Dean.Pappas@americanbar.org. If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Dean Pappas, ABA Book Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.