Berkeley Law Transcript 2014
The alumni magazine of UC Berkeley School of Law.
NOTABLE CONTRIBUTIONS from the boalt community CREATIVE WORKS Book: Sheldon Siegel ’83 S Bet You Can’t Read Just One A THRILLER FOR MOM: Sheldon Siegel ’83 ay you’re Sheldon Siegel ’83, partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton and best-selling author of legal thrillers set in San Francisco, translated into seven languages. Your series is widely praised for plot, local authenticity, and characters—especially those dueling lawyer-sweethearts (divorced but still plenty of romantic juice) Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez. Why mess with success? Because if you’ve made a promise to your mom, you’ve got to come through. “Chicago’s my hometown, and I’d promised Mom a story set there. She’s 85, so it was time,” says Siegel. Setting Mike and Rosie aside just briefly, Siegel created detective David Gold—“wound tight, just like the South Side of Chicago,” he says. Like Siegel, Gold roots for the White Sox, not the Cubs. In the new series debut, The Terrorist Next Door, Gold takes on a serial bomber who paralyzes the Windy City. A passion for books was in Siegel’s DNA. While at Boalt, he worked the loan desk at the law library. “I was | T ra n scri p t | S P R I N G 2 0 1 4 lucky enough to have good options when I applied to law school, but Boalt was clearly the best. The level of talent under that roof—faculty and students—was unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.” Is legal training helpful in writing fiction? “Yes and no,” says Siegel, “at the risk of giving a lawyerly answer. Yes, because Boalt has a very good writing program. I’m grateful for those skills every time I’m on deadline. I learned to write quickly and precisely and to say things in ways that people understand.” But there’s a big difference between legal writing and novel writing. “In law, we put everything in documents, so if there’s a fight in five years, the facts are at hand. In novels, you have to be concise, advance the plot, reveal character with every word, and entertain the reader.” The Terrorist Next Door is all that and more, a page-turner that weaves the spirit of multicultural Chicago, the challenges and pleasures of family life and mature romance, and a compelling puzzle all in one delicious read. And here’s the most important review of all: Siegel’s mom thinks he got Chicago just right. —Linda Peterson The Terrorist Next Door By Sheldon Siegel ’83 Published by Poisoned Pen Press, 2013 40 JIM BLOCK