[Ed. Note: Legal gossip hounds certainly know the name Deidre Dare. She’s the former Allen & Overy senior associate living in Moscow who was terminated for publishing portions of her novel, Expat, online. But for those who were actually working over the past few weeks, the details are best summarized in The Times Online and TheLawyer.com. We recently caught up with Ms. Dare to find out more about the woman behind the scandal.]
So, Marck Franchetti, The Sunday Times writer who interviewed you, described you as “engaging but possibly a touch reckless, and certainly not the fiercely seductive vamp the book might indicate.” Would you agree?
I actually told Marck that he was a good judge of character. That’s me to a tee. Though I have my vampy moments… I do have my vampy moments.
Can you share one?
The night I met the King of Spades (Mosow’s version of “Mr. Big”). I was definitely fiercely seductive, completely irresistible… And I knew it.
How long have you been a lawyer?
I graduated from Columbia Law in 1989, so I almost made it to the 20-year mark.
What was your practice area?
Where have you practiced?
Most of my career was on Wall Street, but also I practiced in Australia, London, Singapore and most recently Moscow.
I was an editor for the The Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems.
Your life has changed dramatically since news of the novel and your termination broke. Any regrets?
My life has changed so dramatically, it is almost impossible to describe. I was a lawyer. Now I am, according to The Moscow News, a “celebrity author.” That’s quite a change for someone used to drafting loan agreements.
I have no regrets whatsoever.
The best part of all this is getting the column for The Moscow News. I love writing it. I love being a columnist. I love my editor. I love the paper. It is the coolest job ever. The King of Spades bought me a little reporter’s notebook, and I jot down ideas and run around Moscow. It feels so, so good. It’s a dream job.
The worst part has been the cowardice of others. Maybe that’s what is making me bitter.
Before all of this, did you ever considered yourself a Bitter Lawyer?
Not once in 20 years. I love what we do for a living. Now? I’m a little bitter. A little bitter indeed.
How did you find the time to practice, enjoy a foreign capital and write a novel?
I am a woman. We are good at time management.
Some have called your novel pornographic. Presumably, they know porn when they see it, and they probably came to that conclusion by reading your opening paragraph:
“There is something thrilling about being in bed with a Frenchman, even if he does have a small cock which he can’t get up… it is disappointing how European men seemed to have little boy cocks…”
Do you think your critics have read more than those few opening lines?
Nope. I wouldn’t take it to bed, would you? But maybe some people are easily titillated?
I put my hand to writing porn the other afternoon just to see if I could really do it (having a reputation now as a porn writer in some circles). God, it was horny. So, in an emergency, I can write porn, and everyone will have something a little better to take into the shower with them.
A theme that seems to recur regularly in your work is men who are bad in bed. How do male lawyers stack up against laymen, and to what extent do you think your assessment of high-powered men in the bedroom is driving the reaction of the partners at Allen & Overy?
Do investment bankers count as laymen? Actually, it’s interesting because A&O accused me of being “non-inclusive” according to their “let’s be a rainbow-colored nation” policy. In other words, they think saying European men have small dicks is the same as being a racist and writing to incite racial hatred. Now, how absurd is that? So, it’s not the fact that the men were high-powered that bothers them. It’s the fact that I made up nationalities, I guess. Because I still don’t know what bothered them.
We couldn’t help but notice some steamy photos of you on your website. What do you think your colleagues at the firm made of those? How often do you think they check them?
The firm never once during this whole ordeal complained about the photos, which I find notable. My colleagues mostly asked me about my workout regime. I think the men check the photos all the time, actually.
You were recently quoted as saying that you binged on old episodes of Seinfeld after being fired by A&O. Is television that bad in Moscow? When George was fired from The Yankees, he declared it “The Summer of George.” Any plans for “The Winter of Deidre?”
I download all my television and movies from a website and watch on computer. Yes, television is limited in Moscow. I can’t be sure if Seinfeld even plays here. I watched hours of it last weekend. It reminds me of home (I’m from NYC), and it reminds me of who I am. In NY, no one ever heard of A&O—I hadn’t. So, Jerry et al. just brought me back to myself and made the whole thing seem a bit less big. Still, the situation is a little David/Goliath. Well, Dasha/Goliath.
Oh, and it’s not just “The Winter of Deidre.” It’s “The Era of Deidre.”
What are your plans for your book now?
Finish it—poor Dasha is in jail, and I need to get her out. Then publish it. I think I’m going to sex it up and make Dasha a bigger slut. At the moment, she’s got this terrible reputation and she only has two one-night stands (and one of those was a sexless evening, as we all know)! I think: Let’s give her ten… or more…
How long have you been a writer?
I wrote my first novel when I was seven years old. It was called Mission to Omega. Space travel was very much on my mind back then—my first memory is of the men landing on the moon. It’s actually very much on my mind now, and I’m working on a script with the King of Spades about just that. Maybe I should call it Mission to Omega as an homage.
You reportedly have an unpublished book about law firm life called Big Swinging Dicks. Care to give us the elevator pitch?
This one was non-fiction. It was all about how men overcomplicate the practice of law just to show each other who’s bigger.
You’re also working on a book titled Marriage Delusion. There’s a quote from the book on your website that reads:
“In order to succeed at marriage, you must fail at yourself.”
How would you classify the married lawyers you’ve met over the years?
Sleeping with me.
Is infidelity common among high-powered lawyers?
There are no high-powered lawyers.
Can you describe your best day in the law?
The day I got my double-deck bid in to the Government in Australia. That was so, so wonderful.
And the worst day?
It’d have to be the day they fired me for this gross misconduct business. Gross misconduct? Embezzling from clients. Fraud. Federal crime. And writing a little novel not involving lawyers or law firms at all… Bizarre.
You can read Expat and check out Deidre Dare’s photos on her website.