Lindsay Cameron can recall sitting in a large conference room in Schulte Roth & Zabel’s Manhattan office about seven years ago.
A group of women from the firm had assembled in the room to discuss work-life balance. Cameron, a corporate associate, said there wasn’t a single female corporate partner, and listened attentively as the women passed a microphone and shared their views on the keys to success.
“One took the mic and said, ‘Well, don’t ask me about work-life balance, because I just had a baby a week ago and I’m back at work,’” Cameron said.
“I did it even better,” another lawyer in the room chirped, "...I had step children.”
Cameron concluded that the guidance she received was that working in Big Law was not in her future.
[caption id="attachment_4000" align="alignleft” width="300"][Image “Lindsay Cameron, Author, BIGLAW: A Novel” (src=https://bol.bna.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Lindsay-Cameron1-e1440017714716.jpg)]Lindsay Cameron, Author, BIGLAW: A Novel[/caption]
Within a year, she quit her job and began working on a novel that is now finally set for publication. Called BIGLAW: A Novel, the story has already been optioned for a TV show or film by Paramount Pictures.
“The book is definitely fiction, it’s not a memoir, but there are characters and circumstances that are based on my own experience with some poetic license thrown in,” Cameron told us.
The isolating world of Big Law, as Cameron described it in a candid interview, helped inform her book’s character development, plot and scene-setting, and brought a dose of reality that she feels many people will appreciate.
“A lot of people are fascinated with lawyers and large firm life, and maybe they are drawn to the money and the prestige, and I think people would be surprised about what happened behind closed doors at those firms, so I thought it would be a great setting for a novel,” she explained.
“I started thinking about how people picture Big Law, in TV, even in the Ally McBeal type of vision, and then what the reality is like.”
According to the BIGLAW book description , the plot centers on Mackenzie Corbett, who is almost two years into her job as an associate at a premier Manhattan law firm, pulling in a big salary with her eyes set on a prestigious secondment with one of the firm’s top clients, when she suddenly finds herself the focus of a “devastating investigation” and her dream job begins to turn into a nightmare.
Cameron explained that the investigation centers on insider trading charges.
“The protagonist of the story is kind of like a lot of people in law school,” she said. “She is ambitious, always reaching for the next dangling carrot.”
Cameron said that she wrote the book, which is her debut novel, over the course of at least five years and is partially the result of notes she took at her desk as a Schulte Roth associate.
“I kept a notebook in my office and would write ideas as they popped up,” she said, noting that the initial idea of writing a book came to mind as she was working at the firm at 3 a.m.
Soon after the book got some press in a publisher trade publication early this year, Cameron was contacted by an agent who brokered the TV/film rights for Orange is the New Black, Gone Girl and the Devil Wears Prada.
Now, Cameron said she is waiting to see what Paramount decides to do with the book, if anything. The motion picture company has the option for two years.
“If it goes to production, I will have creative involvement,” she said.
Cameron, 39, resides in New York City with her husband and two children. She is a graduate of University of British Columbia School of Law and worked for six years as a corporate attorney at large firms in both the United States and Canada.
The hardcover will sell for $19.86 on Amazon and is set for release in bookstores on Sept. 7.