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The Partner Track

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,050 ratings  ·  147 reviews
A young attorney must choose between the prestige of partnership and  the American Dream that she — and her immigrant parents — have come so close to achieving in this riveting debut

In the eyes of her corporate law firm, Ingrid Yung is a "two-fer." As a Chinese-American woman about to be ushered into the elite rank of partner, she's the face of Parsons Valentine & Hunt LLP
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,050 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Lauren Cecile
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this novel up from the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble because I could not get the wifi to work in my hotel room while at a conference and didn't want to be bored with nothing to do. I expected it to be breezy and lightweight, but it was surprisingly well written, reflective and enjoyable, to the extent that sexism and anti-diversity sentiments can be enjoyable.
This was an interesting story about discrimination from the point of view of Ingrid Yung, a Chinese American corporate lawyer
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mild spoilers ahead. I adore legal satire even more than Silicon Valley satire, and this was a fun fairytale that packed a surprising punch. At first I just really enjoyed the dramatized details of Big Law life. For instance, Ingrid dissects the power dynamics of one's behavior in the law firm dining room - but in what universe would you be judged for any action other than your failure to take your food right back to your desk and resume billing, you lazy goddamned associate? The idea of white s ...more
Jennifer Chow
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a really satisfying book. Wan does a great job of taking us behind the scenes in the lawyer's world. I really loved how she wove in the experiences of being a minority and a female in that setting. Although some of the childhood experiences with racism and the beginning interactions with her goal-oriented parents were pretty generic (maybe because I've experienced them myself or heard about them plenty), the actual character of Ingrid seemed very multi-dimensional. I enjoyed how Wan set ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A book inside the BigLaw culture? I had to check it out. As a BigLaw refugee myself, I was dying to know what the novelistic approach would be. Using realistic characters and many actual law firm names, this novel gave me that look into the world that I had departed from. I really appreciated the chance to see what it was like since i always regretted that I didn't go further with it. Now, thanks author Helen Wan, I can say that I do not think I really regret not progressing in that world anymor ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I try to rate my books based on readability. When one comes along that I literally don't put down until I'm done, it gets a 5.
David Lat
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I greatly enjoyed this book. Here is my review for the Wall Street Journal:
L.A. Starks
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a phenomenal debut book, one that should be read by every pre-law and law student as well as anyone who liked "I Don't Know How She Does It," by Allison Pearson. Helen Wan has written a cohesive, tone-perfect, and sharply-observed novel (a roman a clef?) about a female Asian lawyer on the M&A partner track at a fictional New York law firm. Her sketches of the lightly-veneered minefields during the firm's country club outing and its softball games are alone worth the price of the book. An ...more
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Finally got around to reading this recommendation from Real Simple. I really enjoyed this story! It was very solid plot-wise, I thought, and very interesting to read about what goes on at a big corporate law firm, especially for women at the firm. The author's biography reveals her knowledge on this subject, and I assume much of it is very accurate. I only had one lingering question after reading, and overall felt very satisfied with the story arc and conclusion (thought it was very optimistic/r ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was looking for a quick, enjoyable read on a long weekend with long flights, and this certainly met my requirements! I enjoyed the insight into how big-name corporate law firms function (perhaps with a bit of artistic license), as well as the struggle with being a minority woman in such a firm. The story kept me interested and that is about all one can ask!
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Helen Wan, for penning this book.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I stumbled across "The Partner Track" in the new fiction rack at the public library. The title caught my eye, as a new associate, and the Asian surname enticed me to pick it up, as it evoked memories of my wonderful Asian-American authors course in my senior year of college.

This is the type of book every individual should read. It shows real-world, everyday experiences of a minority (especially a minority woman) in Ame
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was delicious! It was such a realistic portrayal of the law firm life, and the second guessing that setting creates as a woman, minority, and human being! I particularly liked one part, when there was an error in a document she proofread 3x, when she wondered if it was her subconscious secretly trying to sabotage herself. That was hilarious because it's true- at some point the law firm will make you question your sanity (and skills and intellect and choices). Her observations and comme ...more
Jennifer Goebel
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ingrid Yung is on the partnership track at her prestigious NYC law firm, and thinks she has a good chance of being the first "woman of color" to make it. All of her other women and minority friends at the firm have left or are leaving to pursue other prospects--including motherhood. She doesn't think of herself as a "woman of color" very often, though it is always in the background, but when there is a rascist performance at the firm's yearly party, she suddenly finds herself on the diversity co ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
The perspective, let me say that I do not normally read these types of books. Fiction, nevermind women's fiction.

In fact, I decided to read it because it was the kind of book I would never read. I read it for perspective. And perspective, I was given. This book was pretty insightful. Normally when I read books, I relate with the main character. This book had a character or two I could relate with as well. They were described as "...I don't think he's racist, just stupid".

This book gave good insi
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars, actually. I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. I was expecting chicklit-style prose (with lots of the word "like") and chicklit-style plots with chicklit-style characters. I got a little of the last two, but Wan's legal jargon helps break it up and add credibility. I thought I would despise this character (type A, well-educated minority woman trying to conquer the world [not unlike myself, unfortunately]), since this type of woman is usually rampantly stereotyped in ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Quick read that reminded me of many of the aspects of big firm life that made me miserable for so long.

"What bothered me most - the single worst thought that I kept turning over and over in my mind - was that I was the one who'd let this happen. I had no one to blame but myself. I had allowed myself to be duped…. I had completely bought into the myth of a meritocracy. Somehow I'd actually been foolish enough to believe that if I simply kept my head down and worked hard, and did everything, ever
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. It was just something I picked up on my travels...Sometimes you get lucky, as this was not only a fun and engrossing read, it also gave me insight into the competitive legal world inside a New York law firm. The characters were complex and I liked how Helen Wan included some insight about Asian American identity in her protagonist, but didn't make that the focus of the novel. I enjoyed the full arc of the story.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Ingrid Yung is on The Partner Track. After 8 years working at Parsons, Valentine & Hunt. This could be her year! She could be the first woman and first woman of color to make partner in their corporate department.
She basically sacrificed her life to fulfill this dream. Shes single, childless and a woman of color. That’s Ingrid.

She is hand picked by a partner to work on a HUGE case. One I found difficult to follow for the most part. But lets start from the beginning. Parsons, Valentine & Hunt is
Robin Moore
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
The main character in Helen Wan's book is a female Asian, who is also an attorney in a high powered law firm in Manhattan. I suspect that the writer draws heavily from her personal frame of reference since she is an Asian female working as an attorney in Manhattan. Wan's character, Ingrid, does all the right stuff in an effort to finally make partner at the law firm where she works. She has seen female attorneys come and go, and to a much lesser extent, female Asian attorneys, as well (of which ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
This is a loosely autobiographical story of a Chinese-American woman trying to make partner in a prestigious New York law firm and how the deck is stacked against those who aren't white, male, and privileged. (At least, that's the book's premise.)
There are some moments in the book that resonated with me (such as the times when folks confused the Asian female lawyers or the times that the main character is mistaken for a secretary), and those moments are both illuminating and bittersweet. But the
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the story of Ingrid, a first generation chinese american who working in the Corporate department of a huge law international law firm. Her dream is to be the first woman of color partner and it looks like she is on track to make that happen. This is the story of how she tries to navigate that last deal before the vote in a world of privileged white men.

Although there were some interesting observations about the under the table racism that still exists in Corporate america -- this was a l
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
just read the entire book in one sitting. granted i was trying to read it in advance of Helen's talk tomorrow, but it was really quite riveting and good. it's given me a lot to think about. i have thought that i'm not that naive about firm politics, but some of the characters and plot twists seem so realistic and have really challenged my assumptions. love that this book is giving me lots to think about.
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Thanks for the rec, Heather! Interesting to get a window into what it's like for women (and especially minority women) in the legal profession. I don't know much about that field but some of the dynamics resonated with me in the broader business sense. Quality of prose/dialogue was not amazing but the author's experience as an attorney really shone through to give the story itself credibility.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I adored "The Partner Track." It was such a page-turner--in fact, I kept telling myself I needed to put it down to do some of my own work, but then I couldn't; I plowed through it in two sittings. Ingrid was a beautifully drawn and empathetic character, and I was realy taken in by all of the plot twists and turns. A wonderful piece of writing!
Laura Skladzinski
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite novels ever. Although it's about a female associate at a law firm, the experiences she has will be familiar to any woman working at a professional services firm. This will definitely make you think, though it's still not a heavy read and has a great happily ever after ending.
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love this book. She did a FANASTIC job of describing the realities of a big New York law firm...she was dead on for so many descrptions of partners, associates and even the cafeteria.

I really liked the character...not super lovable but she showed true grit which made me eventually root for her!

Write another book please!

Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
If you've worked in big law and enjoy chick lit from time to time, this falls at the more intelligent end of the chick lit spectrum. The minority/diversity angle of the novel felt a big heavy-handed, but overall this was a quick, enjoyable read for what it is.
Ann Frost
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I am not a big chick lit fan and this is pretty much chick lit. If this is your genre, you will probably like this more than I did. But it was an interesting look at the internal workings of a large NY law firm.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure, I'm a lawyer myself, but I loved this book. I found it relatable and I appreciated that it felt real and not overly forced. The author's personal legal experience comes through to make for an enjoyable read for lawyers that is both deep and readable.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, legal, cultural
Although I thought the ending was a little pat, I still loved it.
May 09, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
I really enjoyed parts of the book - especially the stories from Ingrid's childhood. I loved the ending and found Ingrid to be a realistic character. Worth reading.
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HELEN WAN is Associate General Counsel at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner Inc. Before that, she practiced corporate and media law at law firms in New York. Born in California and raised near Washington, D.C., Wan is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her essays and reviews of fiction have been published in "The Washington Post" and elsewhere. She live ...more

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“What would it be like, I marveled, to go through life so utterly unwary? So wholly certain of your belonging to a place that it was never necessary to consider how your next move would be perceived?

Timing was everything.

Things always seem to look so much brighter in the fall. Remember you used to tell me that?”
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