Grayson J. Stevens
Theseus is a work of literary fiction about a Greek hero confronting the harsh realities of a career in big law. The main character, Theseus, is a highly regarded corporate lawyer that discovers his firm’s drive for money and profit is eroding the nobleness of the legal profession. The book illustrates the personal and professional costs of working at a large corporate law firm whose primary aim is to maximize profits per partner.
Theseus derives its storylines from the Greek myths of Theseus and Tantalus. Theseus is the mythological hero of Athens that escapes the labyrinth and slays the Minotaur. Tantalus is condemned by the immortal gods for all eternity for his conceit and self-indulgence. The novel draws on the Theseus and Tantalus myths to contrast the struggle between virtue and greed in modern law. The story is set in the classical Greek period, and alternates in time from ancient Greece to the present day. Social and political themes prevalent in Hellenic culture are displayed in the context of a large modern law firm.
Characters and Plotline
Theseus is an accomplished corporate lawyer who places his clients and his firm above personal ambition. He is honorable, philosophical and chagrined that the measure of a lawyer has become synonymous with revenue generation. Theseus struggles with the new mores of the profession and the implications for life and career. Tantalus, crass and abrasive, is a tax lawyer motivated by his own advancement and making money.
The novel is divided into three parts. The first part finds Theseus in ancient Greece receiving instruction in Athenian law and the ways of the lawgivers. In part two, Theseus is well into his career at a prestigious modern day law firm navigating acquisitions and public offerings for clients. The final part of the book finds Theseus back in ancient times attempting to resolve the personal and professional challenges encountered earlier in the narrative.
Readers will find Theseus a convincing account of the life of a lawyer in a big law firm and will be intrigued by the real world insights into large law firm management, attorney hiring, associate training, partner compensation and the traditional holiday and summer parties. Classical themes of greed and elitism addressed in the book will also appeal to readers drawn to literature addressing popular social issues.