When is malpractice a good thing?

Well, never. But, in the case of JK Rowling’s outing as the real “Robert Galbraith,” perhaps it had a sliver lining?

Rowling wrote a story under the Galbraith pseudonym. But, Rowling’s lawyers screwed the pigeon.

Chris Gossage, an entertainment lawyer and partner at the law firm Russells, was apparently showing off when he told his wife’s best friend in a “private conversation” that Rowling had been writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, a “married ex-military man” credited as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. (source)

Usually when a lawyer blows up the attorney-client privilege, there isn’t much to celebrate. The client gets pissed off, and everyone runs to plug the leaks. (Or so I would imagine, I haven’t managed to be in this situation yet, and hope never to be). But, in this case, it seems that Mr. Gossage pulled on a string that he wasn’t supposed to touch, and a shitton of money fell into the client’s lap.

The Cuckoo’s Calling, which had only sold a few thousand copies prior to the revelation about Rowling’s authorship, has soared to the top of bestseller lists, and Rowling’s publishers have ordered a reprint of the book to meet demand. Meanwhile, Rowling will reportedly write more books in the Cuckoo’s Calling series. (source)

I still would not wish to be in Gossage’s shoes.

8 Responses to When is malpractice a good thing?

  1. So what is her recourse in this situation? Enjoy the money and fame? (Because we know how lacking she was previously.) Sue for lack of damages? Seek his disbarment? Honestly, what are her choices?

    I think she should just write a scene with a character with a small penis has sex with a ferret. Then later leek that the character was based on her pervious lawyer.

  2. CPlatt says:

    An attorney friend of mine (from Covington & Burling in DC) was also a friend of Stephen King, at a time when there was a lot of speculation about King writing under the name “Richard Bachman.” King had denied this vigorously, but I had my suspicions. I asked my friend, “So is Bachman really King, or not?” To which my friend replied, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk about that.” To which I said, “Oh, then he must be Bachman, because if he wasn’t Bachman, you would have had no hesitation in supporting him by saying so.” After which there was a long embarrassed silence. I was pleased with myself for outwitting a high-paid attorney, but really, what could he have said? Any response at all, other than an outright lie, would confirm the suspicion. I suppose he could have just hung up the phone….

  3. Ancel De Lambert says:

    Wee, just what we need, more half-assed literature. If the book wasn’t selling, it probably wasn’t very good. I hate selling off an author’s name, I despise books that have the author in giant block letters and the title squirreled away in the corner. Rowling was ostensibly trying to improve her writing, and good for her, and now the experiment is ruined.

  4. The book was doing fine, for a first book in the UK. Nothing outstanding, but not every book is a blockbuster. Rowling just wanted to get away from all the scrutiny, & see what happened.

    I guess she can just do it again under a new pseudonym. What a colossal pain for her, though.

  5. Yogi says:

    CPlatt, I’m glad you’re not a “friend” of mine. If you had said that to me, I would have said, “No, I’m under various NDA’s and cannot speak about them. And a real friend would not be pushing.”

    • CPlatt says:

      Yogi there was no NDA. My attorney friend was not representing the author professionally. In fact he and I had collaborated on an in-person interview with the author, where the topic had already come up (and the author just said “no comment”). You’re making assumptions which are just–assumptions.

      • yogibeaty says:

        No, you are. I would have lied to my friend to keep from pretending to keep a confidence, while at the same time revelaing it. To be clear, I would have said there was an NDA concerning all clients and ccommunications, and if you were a true friend, you would not have either pushed the issue nor made an assumption.

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