thumbs upEarly reviews for Supreme Ambitions have come in — and so far, so good.

The first review, a capsule review from a librarian and prolific book blogger, described Supreme Ambitions as “[e]xtremely well written and absorbing.” This review was brief, but I was glad to see that a non-lawyer enjoyed the book.

The second review, by Judge Richard G. Kopf (D. Neb.), examined Supreme Ambitions in much greater detail. Reviewing the book for his widely read blog, Hercules and the Umpire, Judge Kopf wrote, “Lat’s novel is a cross between a serious look into the heart of darkness and an insouciant study of Manolo Blahnik footwear…. This is legal realism at its finest but told in the highly unusual and difficult form of a well-crafted novel.”

Finally, writing for the Maryland Appellate Blog, Steve Klepper declared Supreme Ambitions to be “a legitimate page-turner. Lat knows the story he wants to tell, and he tells it well. He makes no secret of the themes he wants to convey, and he conveys them effectively. Overall, it’s a smashing success.”

I thank these reviewers for taking the time to read and write about Supreme Ambitions. I am especially grateful to Judge Kopf and Steve Klepper, prominent commentators within the world of law, for their thoughtful engagement with and kind words about the book. You can read their full reviews — which contain some constructive criticism as well — via the links below.

If you are a member of the media — and yes, of course that includes bloggers — and would be interested in a review copy, please feel free to email me to request one. Thanks!

David Lat’s first novel, “Supreme Ambitions,” deftly dissects judicial power [Hercules and the Umpire]
Book Review: David Lat’s Supreme Ambitions [Maryland Appellate Blog]
Supreme Ambitions by David Lat [Cayocosta72: Book Reviews for Avid Readers]
Supreme Ambitions: A Novel [Amazon (affiliate link)]

Supreme Ambitions coverOyez, oyez, oyez! Supreme Ambitions will appear in hardcover near the end of 2014 or early in 2015.

Although the book won’t hit stores for a few months, it’s now available for pre-ordering via Amazon. You can read a short description of the book and place an advance order here.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me. Thank you, as always, for your interest and support.

Supreme Ambitions: A Novel [Amazon (affiliate link)]

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been exploring different ways of finishing Supreme Ambitions. After a great deal of thought, I’ve concluded that the story would be best served by publication as a traditional book.

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve just signed a book contract with ABA Publishing, the publishing arm of the American Bar Association. I’m going to submitting my complete manuscript to them later this year, and Supreme Ambitions: A Novel will be published sometime in 2014.

One of the advantages of working with a traditional publisher is editorial support. I’ll be working on finishing my manuscript with Jon Malysiak, executive editor at the ABA’s Flagship book imprint. Jon has worked extensively with fiction writers before, as an editor, agent, and teacher, and he also writes fiction himself.

Those of you who have read all of the web installments of Supreme Ambitions will notice many changes in the book version. I’m in the process of extensively revising what I’ve previously written, in addition to producing new material. In the revision process, I’m taking into account many of the excellent suggestions that I’ve received from web readers in posted comments and by email.

Once again, my deepest gratitude to all of you for your interest, insights, and encouragement. If you have any other thoughts you’d like to share with me about this project, I welcome them by email. Thank you!

In response to some recent comments and tweets, no, Supreme Ambitions is not dead. But yes, it has been on extended hiatus (not unlike the Supreme Court itself, which takes off for the entire summer).

I do plan on finishing the story, which I already have fully outlined (even if not yet written). But I’m mulling over different possible approaches to doing so.

In any event, I thank everyone for their patience and their interest!

19: Breaking Bread

Ed. note: Apologies for the delay between this installment and the last one. As you can see, I’ve moved from a Wednesday/Sunday posting schedule to something more… sporadic.

I spent Tuesday morning reading the briefs and doing some research for Hamadani, an immigration case involving a Pakistani man seeking political asylum in the United States. The immigrant, who overstayed illegally years ago but went on to start a successful small business (a grocery store), as well as to raise two kids here, seemed sympathetic. But the legal standard for granting asylum struck me as stringent.

So immersed in my reading, I didn’t realize it was half past noon until James’s tall, slender figure materialized in the doorway of my windowless office.


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18: Training

I spent the rest of my first day in chambers with Janet Lee, the outgoing clerk that I would be replacing. Janet, whom I had briefly met when I interviewed with the judge, was also originally from New York, although she had gone to law school out here in California, at Stanford. She was now moving back to New York to work at Wachtell Lipton.

After reviewing the general workings of the Ninth Circuit with me, Janet described my specific duties as a clerk. They could be divided up into three broad areas.

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17: First Day

As I arrived at the Ninth Circuit courthouse for my first day at work, I knew I was nervous. My grey Theory skirt suit, a pricey splurge from my summer at Cravath, wasn’t giving me the usual jolt of confidence. I don’t tend to sweat very much, but by the time I arrived at work, I was sweating — and it wasn’t from the seven-minute walk from my apartment to the courthouse, in a still-cool California morning.

This Monday marked the start of my Legal Career. And because I went straight though to law school from college, this was also the first day of my first Real Job. This was a Big Deal….

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