Survivor’s Trust by Ellen Seltz

Survivor’s Trust by Ellen Seltz

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Survivor’s Trust is a legal drama about a hotshot young attorney who wants the high-powered career she trained for, despite some terrible choices. Now a single mom, she’s returned to her Southern hometown to build a life and provide for her daughter. Outwardly, she’s full of ambition and hustle, but the shameful secrets in her past make her vulnerable in the two-faced world of old money and modern office politics.

Episode 1

Today could be the day I get my life back — if I survive it.

It hadn’t started well. Hannah from the placement agency caught me on I-20, headed downtown. She sounded unnaturally cheery.

“Morning, Cordelia! Good news or bad news?”

“Bad.” Lawyers always start with the worst-case scenario.

Hannah cleared her throat. “Your assignment at Simons Beauvoir got cancelled.”

“What? No!” The morning sun blinded me. I flipped down the visor.

“HR said you were ‘unsuitable.'”

Damn. They knew. I sighed through my nose. A powerhouse like Simons Beauvoir probably has a partner on the Bar membership committee. Felony convictions have to be reviewed, after all.

“And Cordelia? We can’t place you anymore. S&B is our best client. If they say you’re out…”

I smacked the steering wheel. The whole point of working temp was to get my foot in the door, impress people with connections. But the more connections, the more likely to hear my unimpressive story.

I negotiated the 22nd Street exit. “I’m ready for some good news, Hannah.”

She perked back up. “I got you one last interview. Meaders & Rose. Permanent.”

“That’s good news?”

M&R is Old South, white shoes, and seersucker. It’s the Hotel California of legal careers — they keep you comfortable, but you’re not going anywhere.

Another deep breath. “When?”


So here I am, praying the wet-wipes erased the soggy Cheerios from my lapel. The interviewer clicks her ballpoint in and out. She’s reading my resume, not looking at me. I get that a lot.

If you’re in law, in the South, you know about Marj Creasy. She started as a paralegal back when feminism meant shoulder pads and Naturalizers. She gutted her way through Birmingham School of Law on cigarettes and rage, and her hair’s been the same golden-winged helmet ever since. Legend has it, Mr. Rose himself once patted her behind and said she’d “catch more flies with honey.”

She replied, “Keep your fucking flies. I want more billable hours.”

She was the first in-house to jump the line between Staff and Bar; the first woman partner in town. And if I’m going to buy groceries this Friday, she’s going to be my first real boss.

Clickety-click. “Ms. Simms, what’s your interest in Estate Planning?”

“Well, the law is often reactive, fixing problems like a plumber. Your department builds for the future. It’s like being an architect.”

She’s looking now. Clickety-click. “I like that. It’s bullshit, but it’s classy bullshit.”

How apt. I look down at my consignment sale suit, my home manicure with two coats of clear polish, my slim graduation gift watch. My scraped back bun conceals that my last dime goes to diapers, not haircuts.

She’s reading again. It’s a good resume — the top half, anyhow. Packed with ivy and ivory. Internships. Law Review. With luck, it’ll carry the bottom.

“You graduated six years ago and qualified six months ago. That’s quite a gap.” Pen down. Eyebrows up. “What happened?”

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3 responses

  1. This is AWESOME!!! Choose your own adventure books were a huge part of my childhood and now I realize they were the missing piece in my adult years 😉 I’m excited!!!



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