Transworld has acquired Without Fear or Favour, a personal memoir by barrister Sarah Langford.
The book, which Transworld will publish in hardback in 2018, will recount her experience as a barrister specialising in criminal and family law, telling the stories of a collection of cases both "full of dark comedy and heart-rending tragedy".
Langford said she wanted to tell her clients’ stories because they "deserve to be told".
"They are great stories, full of dark comedy and heart-rending tragedy," she said. "I hope they will also provide an insight into the often impenetrable world of the courtroom, and the apparently complicated process of a case, and remind readers that we are often not as far apart as we might like to think from that person in the dock. I hope too that I can bring to life what it is like to be on the other side, as the one in the wig, standing up before the court to represent innocent and guilty alike, telling the story to the jury and to the judge."
Susanna Wadeson, who acquired the book from Nelle Andrew at PFD, said it was "as much a lawyer’s story as it is her clients’", helping readers to understand the legal system and its issues and bringing what is at stake into sharp relief.
Wadeson said: "We are familiar with and spellbound by books that shine a light on the fascinating works of the medical world – books such as Do No Harm, An Examined Life, Being Mortal – but I have not come across a book that turns the spotlight in this personal way on the workings of the courtroom and what it is to be a barrister. So many of us are riveted by courtroom drama on TV, and this book is as much a lawyer’s story as it is her clients’. It is compassionate and relatable; one that helps me understand our legal system and its issues, that brings what is at stake for everyone involved into sharp relief, and is full of stories that are heart-in-your-mouth gripping."
She added: "Sarah is perhaps not the author one would expect to write this book: she is female, neither Oxbridge nor Russell Group educated, the mother of very young children. Her fresh perspective makes the book particularly arresting. She’s also sensitive, clever, thoughtful, a wonderful writer with a brilliant sense of timing. We are beyond delighted to be able to publish her."