Julie Hilden: Author, The Bad Daughter and 3 by LawCrossing


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   LAW STAR                                                                                              www.lawcrossing.com      1. 800.973.1177

                             Julie Hilden: Author, The Bad Daughter and 3
                             [By Charisse Dengler]
                             Julie Hilden started out her professional career as an attorney, but she soon realized writing was her true passion.
                             After practicing law from 1996 to 1999 at the firm Williams & Connolly in Washington, DC, Hilden left the
                             legal profession to concentrate on writing The Bad Daughter , a memoir about her mother’s battle with early-onset
                             Alzheimer’s disease. The book explores the relationship between mother and daughter and Hilden’s fears about
                             inheriting the disease.

After publishing the book in 998, she                 However, although she had made up her             “I’ve had a hard time figuring out what genre
went on to publish 3, a novel described as             mind to become a writer, the transition           I want to write in. At first, I didn’t even think
“a compelling chronicle of obsession and               wasn’t easy.                                      about genre. I wrote a memoir because my
power.” Currently, she is writing for FindLaw.                                                           mother’s death was so heavily on my mind
com and working on adapting 3 for the silver           “There are two aspects that make it difficult.    and then a novel, 3, because I was fascinated
screen.                                                One is financial; obviously, it’s easier to be    with a particular idea and wanted to see how
                                                       a lawyer. It’s not just about the amount of       it would play out. Increasingly, I’m moving
“My life is simple,” she said. “I live in L.A.         money, but the constancy of it. Can I be sure     toward wanting to write in the young adult/
with my boyfriend and our pets, and mostly             I can pay a mortgage every month?” she said.      children’s markets because there is so much
I just read and write and edit for FindLaw.            “The other has to do with confidence. I know      play for imagination and the issues are so
com—and go to Pilates classes, which I’m               I’m a good lawyer and that I can become           emotional and visceral. I also am gravitating
embarrassed to admit, since it’s such an L.A.          better through study and experience. As a         toward screenwriting and TV writing for the
cliché, but actually I love the classes.”              writer, it’s a little hard to fathom how and      same reasons.”
                                                       why you improve; and for me, it seems to
Hilden first became interested in being                                                                  In addition to writing books, Hilden also
                                                       come in fits and starts.”
an attorney after a stint on her college                                                                 writes and edits columns dealing with
debate team, during which she realized that                                                              various First Amendment issues for FindLaw.
                                                       When asked what she likes the most about
practicing law was something she could be                                                                com. A collection of her columns can be
                                                       her new profession, Hilden said she enjoys
good at. She went on to attend and graduate                                                              found at http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/
                                                       communicating through writing.
from Yale Law School.                                                                                    hilden.
                                                       “I’ve always had to strive to be a better
During the three years that she worked                                                                   When it comes to life after law school, Hilden
                                                       speaker; and in the end, I have to just admit
as an attorney, Hilden focused on First                                                                  advises law students to be honest with
                                                       it isn’t my forte,” she said. “I hate admitting
Amendment, criminal defense, and appellate                                                               themselves about what type of law they want
                                                       it because it seems to be something women
issues, among other things; and she also                                                                 to go into and about their personal strengths
                                                       often say—’I’m better on paper’—and for
appeared on programs such as Good Morning                                                                and weaknesses.
                                                       many women, I think it isn’t really true. But
America and networks such as Court TV and
                                                       for me, it seems it is.”
CNN.                                                                                                     “That means focusing not only on the subject
                                                                                                         matter, but the reality of the practice and
                                                       Hilden, who said she sometimes misses
It wasn’t until after her mother’s death that                                                            their own personalities,” she said. “The
                                                       the practice of law, thinks her training
she decided to turn her full attention to                                                                fit is so important—and poor fit may be
                                                       as a lawyer has influenced her writing by
writing.                                                                                                 a reason so many lawyers are unhappy. I
                                                       giving her a desire to write in clear, concise
                                                                                                         think students have to look within and say,
“After my mother died in 992, I felt                                                                    ‘Am I competitive, or do I actually hate
compelled to write about her,” she said. “I                                                              competition? Am I good on the spur of the
                                                       “I hate when lawyers get lost in terminology
also felt the need for some time away from                                                               moment, or do I do much better with time to
                                                       or when novelists get pretentious,” she said.
the law in the wake of her death. So, I went                                                             prepare? What activities that I’m doing stress
to Cornell’s M.F.A. program for two years                                                                me out, and which energize me?’”
                                                       Currently, Hilden is toying with the idea of
to write. Then I realized writing was what I
                                                       writing for young adult and/or children’s
wanted to do; I had just lacked the courage                                                              She also has advice for lawyers who have
to do it.”                                                                                               been practicing for a couple of years.

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   LAW STAR                                                                             www.lawcrossing.com   1. 800.973.1177

“As you rise in the law, take time to pick    hours reasonable and your stress levels   FindLaw’s Legal Commentary
out and mentor subordinates—not just for      down.”                                    writ.corporate.findlaw.com
them, but for you—because there’s nothing
as valuable as having someone you trust as    ON THE NET                                Cornell University
much as you’d trust yourself when it comes                                              www.cornell.edu
to getting work accomplished the way you      Julie Hilden
want it done. That’s how you can keep your    www.juliehilden.com/about.html


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