Firms including Latham & Watkins, TLT, Clifford Chance and Bird & Bird are releasing their own branded versions of classic children's books tomorrow.
They have licensed the rights to rework stories including Where the Wild Things Are, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Not Now Bernard. The legal profession's assault on mainstream publishing was revealed when images of book covers were leaked to RollOnFriday by a "shocked" bookshop employee.
The move appears to have been inspired by the success of the parody Ladybird guides, a publishing sensation which encouraged businesses to explore the possibilities of piggy-backing beloved literary properties for publicity and recruitment purposes. LSE lecturer Prof. Sally Doai said, "It's a tool to make kids love the brand before they even know what it stands for. In thirty years' time the little girl who loved the reimagined Very Hungry Caterpillar will be deciding which firm will get her company's work. Nostalgia could be the deciding factor".
In an ambitious strategy, Clifford Chance has re-imagined the entire Clifford the Big Red Dog series. Legal recruiter Ritchie Baird told RollOnFriday, "it's a cracking idea. We'd kill for candidates to associate us with warm memories of their parents telling them a good story".
Amazon and Waterstones have agreed to stock the travesties. A source said that securing the participation of the retailers was regarded as crucial after the poor performance of the SRA's book, which it self-published in 2009. According to The Publishers Association That's Not My Law Firm sold eight copies.
Firms are exclusively targeting children's books following the public outcry which greeted last year's 120 Jones Days of Sodom. The US firm apologised for its adaptation and pulped all 750,000 copies, which were reconstituted into a second novel, One Jones Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, which also had to be pulped.
Advanced orders for any of the titles can be placed here.