He Did It (So Why Can’t I?): A Law Firm Attorney

Welcome to the first installation of He Did It/She Did It (So Why Can’t I?).  These are blog posts about professional people who successfully managed to write a novel on the side.

The first person to get profiled is Anthony Franze, counsel at Arnold & Porter who I met yesterday at a DC Bar Foundation’s Young Lawyers Network event.  It was essentially a reception and a book signing for Franze’s first novel “The Last Justice.”  It’s a murder mystery that follows a Solicitor General’s (the government’s top lawyer) investigation of the shooting of six Supreme Court justices (yikes!)

Unfortunately, I got to the event late, so I missed the author’s speech and the synopsis of the book.  However, I did get to ask Franze a few questions. 🙂  More than anything, I wanted to know how the heck he managed to finish the thing!  When I asked, he gave a response that I actually had heard before: he wrote a little bit each day for about a year.  Some people wake up at 5am, but Franze did his writing at night after his family had gone to bed.  But, I continued to press him—“seriously, how did you write this??”  Finally, he explained that, in terms of dealing with the scope and overwhelming nature of the project, he approached it like a writing a legal brief.  He conducted research, formulated ideas and then committed to putting them on paper… That makes a lot of sense; however, in case you haven’t noticed, this blog is called “Illegal Writing (i.e., Not Legal Writing),” emphasis on NOT LEGAL WRITING lol.  Therefore, I don’t know if the legal brief approach is going to work for me, personally. I just never liked how formulaic legal writing is.  But, according to Franze, fiction writing has some rules too.  He said he expects his next book to be a lot easier to write now that he knows those rules.  Sigh. But the whole point of this novel thing was to rebel against rules and my legal identity!  (If you’re someone I work with I’m just kidding.)

Anyway, I bought the book and I’m going to read it.  I’m also going to take him up on his offer to get coffee (assuming that’s still open after this blog post lol).  Holllerrr


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