And . . . Just Like That

Essays on a life before, during, and after the law.

Non-Fiction - Memoir
322 Pages
Reviewed on 08/17/2021
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Author Biography

Mark lives with his wife Loren and their dog Emily in Denver, Colorado. He schooled at Haverford College and Washburn University, and practiced commercial bankruptcy law for several decades before moving on in 2019 to his other endeavors. Connect with Mark at http://markshaikenauthor.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cassie Widjaja for Readers' Favorite

And... Just Like That by Mark Shaiken is a uniquely written memoir in the form of 39 essays. After three years as a law student, two years as a bankruptcy law clerk, and thirty-six years as a practicing bankruptcy attorney at large law firms, Mark has finally dreamed his way into his law afterlife and outlined his story hilariously and poignantly. The book is organized into five parts, detailing Mark's life before the law, during law school, in the law, and the afterlife, in addition to six questions that Mark gets asked frequently about his career. For these compositions, Mark has chosen several specific, intriguing moments in his life and described his observations. When asked about the book's audience, Mark points it toward those considering a career pivot or those who have known an attorney, among many others.

Mark Shaiken weaves an incredibly captivating tale filled with humor and insights into life in the law. Having struggled with picking a career myself, I sympathize with Mark's long list of failed career choices before becoming an attorney. Through reading each essay, I grew to understand who Mark is as a person and even felt like I knew his family personally. I found 'The Interview' hilarious because of Mark's interpretations of the letters he had received from the firms. Throughout And... Just Like That, Mark emphasized that he was a dreamer at heart, and I couldn't help but root for him as he pursued his dream outside the law. For those looking for a funny and insightful read, this book is for you!

Tammy Ruggles

And . . . Just Like That: Essays on a life before, during, and after the law by Mark Shaiken is an intriguing memoir about life before, during, and after the author's career as a bankruptcy attorney. The author spent just over 40 years in the legal arena, with a wide array of experiences and emotions that he shares here in a collection of essays. Shaiken writes with honesty and wit, a personal style that pulls you in from the first page. He doesn't pull punches but doesn't bash particular law firms either. Instead, he tells things from his point of view, and his opinions are interesting and entertaining. What results is an honest account of everyday attorney life.

If you are interested in how attorneys work and what they may be thinking, or if you are considering law school, And . . . Just Like That will give you an inside view of what you may expect. As a social worker who has worked with attorneys, I find the practice of law to be fascinating and worthy of respect, and this book doesn't disappoint in how specific it gets. Shaiken talks about the problems that he faced, and his well-penned anecdotes are priceless. He even includes parts of his youth and plenty of milestones. I especially like how the author describes his post-law days as the "afterlife" and how he "dreamed his way into it," and once he was out of his practice, he was out for good. If you're looking for a captivating - at times poetic - memoir on the life and afterlife of an attorney, you will be richly rewarded by reading And . . . Just Like That by Mark Shaiken.

Joe Wisinski

And . . . Just Like That: Essays on a Life Before, During, and After the Law is Mark Shaiken’s memoir. Shaiken was a bankruptcy attorney for 41 years. However, by his own admission, he had no real passion for the law, or if he did, he lost it. The book is a series of essays, divided into four parts, that chronicle his life before law school, his time in law school, his working life, and his life after retiring from active law practice. Shaiken didn’t write to teach anyone about the law or advise anyone to become, or not become, an attorney. Shaiken said he wrote: “to tell my story.” The book is his autobiography, but it concentrates on his working life and thoughts about being an attorney rather than his personal life.

I chose to read And . . . Just Like That because I saw that an attorney wrote it. I’m a retired journalist, and I always enjoyed interviewing attorneys because they were intelligent, knowledgeable, and articulate. I expected the same from the author of this book and was not disappointed. Mark Shaiken writes clearly and with excellent insight, not only into the law but into life lessons. I learned much about what it’s really like to be an attorney and Shaiken entertained me with his wonderful sense of humor. Some may read this book and decide that being an attorney is a pretty good life: they may even consider it as a future profession, whilst others may not. But it’s an honest assessment of the career. The book could be called “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about being an Attorney—but Were Afraid to Ask.” I highly recommend Shaiken’s book. It’s full of wise advice and is a wonderfully entertaining read.