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Cover for Keeping It Civil

Keeping It Civil

The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer

Margaret Klaw


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Provocative true cases that explore the intersection of our most intimate relationships and the law—and offer a window into how we define a family today.

A woman seeking a divorce has no idea of the family finances—her husband doled out money only after she gave him requisition slips for her intended purchases. A lesbian couple wants to include their sperm donor in their child’s life—the sperm donor is the brother of one partner, so he will be the biological father as well as the child’s uncle. These are the clients who come knocking on family lawyer Margaret Klaw’s door, hoping for resolution. 

Praise For Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer

“With a lawyer's mind and a writer’s heart, Klaw brings a deeper understanding of the way cultural attitudes about sex, money, women and relationships influence the law--and vice versa. Keeping It Civil grants access to Klaw’s most intriguing cases, exploring today’s hot button issues through the lens of ordinary people seeking counsel." —Philadelphia Tribune

“What doesn’t happen very often is that I read a book straight through, but that’s what I did with Keeping It Civil. I just couldn’t stop myself. That’s because author and Pennsylvania 'Super Lawyer' Margaret Klaw shares her cases with excitement, energy, and compassion here.” —The Bookworm Sez

“It is both Klaw’s legal expertise and her warmheartedness that make this book so approachable--and her terrific prose doesn’t hurt, either. I especially recommend this for book groups, where discussions about these ethical and legal dilemmas will no doubt be spirited.” —Bookpage

“An excellent, non-technical crash course on how and why lawyers do what they do . . . This book accomplishes an admirable goal: to foreground the humanity in the halls of justice.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Love can be messy, and law is just as complicated. Klaw’s book reminds readers that nothing about law is impersonal. Instead, human emotion remains the glue of the legal system, societal norms, and family law.” —Foreword Reviews

“Conversational, entertaining . . . Informative and smart . . . An accessible description of an intricate field of law, examined in an open-hearted style.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Margaret Klaw’s keen observations about the law and human nature are eye-opening and jaw-dropping. This book shows how today's cultural conflicts are played out in the lives of ordinary families in true-life cases that involve love, money, sex, betrayal, and power. A must read!” —Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of the legal thrillers Save Me, Think Twice, and others

Algonquin Books, 9781616202392, 272pp.

Publication Date: September 24, 2013

About the Author

Margaret Klaw is a founding partner of Berner Klaw & Watson, a family law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named by Martindale-Hubbell as a “Preeminent Woman Lawyer,” she has been recognized as a Pennsylvania “Super Lawyer” for the past five years. An adjunct professor of family law at Temple University’s Law School, she speaks frequently on family law and blogs for the Huffington Post and