When an experienced corporate lawyer authors a book about a shrewd junior partner at a top law firm, you might assume that it might be inspired by their own life and experience. .But Shishir Vayttaden, partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and author of Kill the Lawyers, emphatically states that his first foray into fiction is just that - entirely fictional."I relate to no one in the book, and no one in the book is inspired by anyone," responding to a question he gets asked a lot. .Vayttaden has advised Indian and overseas clients on mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters for well over seventeen years.His last and only other published book was on SEBI's Takeover Regulations, which hit the shelves in 2010. "When I entered the practice, so much of corporate law still had a statutory core with caselaw built around it. In the last eighteen years, that has changed to some budget version of the continental system. Everything is prescribed by regulations, and the regulations keep changing. The regulator legislates, the regulator administers, and the regulator interprets. I don’t know if any kind of research-based writing could be relevant to the corporate lawyer anymore," he says..Thirteen years later, Vayttaden's name is on another book. Except this time, it is, as he says, entirely fictional.Writing fiction was not some dream that he harboured for years; rather it was the pandemic-induced slowdown that pushed him to pen the book. "I wrote a bit as a kid, so when the lockdown made us all think of things we could do to fill our days, writing came back up my priorities. Most of it was written in the COVID years. All that happened afterwards was the rewriting and one chapter, which didn’t make for much of a juggle, as it turns out," Vayttaden says. .While some of his early literary influences are John Mortimer and Terry Pratchett, the title of the book is a take on a quote by Shakespeare's character, Dick the Butcher in Henry VI which goes, “The first thing we do is, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Over 400 years after the Bard's passing, the quote is usually used to refer to the perceived crookedness of lawyers on one hand, and the valuable function they serve in society on the other. But Vayttaden believes it also describes how lawyers feel of the ubiquitous demands of their job. "In my book, the line conveys the sentiment that corporate lawyers (and other advisors for that matter) feel about the demands made of them. When Shakespeare used it, of course, he was referring to the dumb backlash against the educated and the elite in the Kentish rebellion," Vayttaden explains. .Kill the Lawyers follows the story of Edamarra Edwin, a Keralite junior partner at a leading law firm in Mumbai, as he navigates the fast-paced and high-stakes life of corporate law.As is often the case with stories set in Mumbai, the metropolis is almost a character in the book, making its presence known in the settings of the book's nine inter-connected stories. Vayttaden does a faithful job of capturing the essence of Mumbai - its pace of life, its densely packed roads and trains, the diversity and inequality in its population, and even its smell, the smell of the "thick Bombay air" in his words.Edwin's inner monologue is described skillfully, with the knowledge of someone familiar with the uniquely irreverant attitude of Malayalis. He also has the air of an perpetual outsider, but he is entirely comfortable in judging his colleagues, clients, acquaintances and strangers, from a distance and with a degree of indifference. All of this is unsurprising when one considers the fact that Vayttaden was raised in Delhi by Keralite parents. He has also been living in Mumbai and is now a senior partner at a big law firm. .As you move from one story to the next, Edwin's character evolves and adapts to several challenging circumstances, all of which are inspired by the expertise gained from nearly two decades in the world of corporate law. Most of us are familiar with watching on-screen legal dramas following the lives of Harvey Spector, Alicia Florrick and Alan Shore. But a book presents a different set of challenges in engaging its audience. Portions of the book will seem too convoluted for the average reader who has no connection with corporate law, but anyone with a modicum of interest in the legal world will be able to appreciate the eccentricities of the cast of characters. As Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal's blurb on the cover of the book says, "Essential reading for two kinds of people - those who know lawyers and those who don't.".There is a generous use of adjectives, adverbs and metaphors throughout, which might not be everyone's cup of tea. But, combined with the acerbic humor, it does lend itself to building Edwin's world.Commendably, Kill the Lawyers does not coddle its audience with predictable endings where adversaries are defeated and the good guy protagonists save the day. This cast of characters is firmly rooted in shades of grey, as is the plot. .When Vayttaden speaks about his target audience, it becomes clear that the book's theme and structure were well thought out choices."There are about ten million readers of financial newspapers in this country. My target audience should include all of them and anyone else who has given up on a financial newspaper because they found the writing boring. As far as the jargon is concerned, Kill the Lawyers is a book about corporate lawyers. I don’t know if it is possible to write authentically about that world without using the words they use." .Since its release, Kill the Lawyers has quickly found itself at the number one spot on Amazon’s list of hot new releases and in its list of bestsellers in humour. It took Vayttaden much longer than expected to find an agent and then to find a publisher. But the two-year wait seems to have paid off. Published by Bloomsbury, Kill the Lawyers is going for its second print run, having completed its first print run in less than a month of its release. However, Vayttaden's life has changed considerably since writing the book. So it might be a while before we see more of his work outside real-life corporate law."When I began writing, COVID had all but wiped out transactional work, and I had no kids. Today, there’s so much work sloshing around that a lawyer just needs to show up to get a pick of high-vis, high-pay work. And I have two young kids to boot. So I’d say part two is quite low in my priorities," he says. .Vayttaden says he has no advice for aspiring authors, as he is still figuring things out for himself."It took me eighteen years to get somewhere in the law. I hope to spend at least another eighteen building on this," he signs off. .To order the book on Amazon, click here.