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ABA Journal: Modern Law Library
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ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

ABA Journal: Modern Law Library is a 2016 Lisagor Award-winning podcast featuring top legal authors and discussions of interesting legal theories and historical events. Join Lee Rawles each month to review a legal publication on ABA Journal: Modern Law Library.

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Oct 24, 2018
How to stop worrying and learn to love data-driven law

Ed Walters talks about his book, “Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services" which discusses data informs and the aspects of modern life.

Oct 10, 2018
We need to talk about abortion, says author of ‘Scarlet A’

Katie Watson talks about her book, “Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law & Politics of Ordinary Abortion”, and discusses ways to have productive conversation about abortion.

Sep 19, 2018
How to be (sort of) happy in law school

Kathryne M. Young talks about her book, How to Be Sort of Happy in Law School, which talks about what alumni would advise their younger self and how to get along with your fellow students.

Aug 22, 2018
Can you become a better lawyer in 5 minutes a day? This author thinks so

Jeremy Richter on why he decided to channel energy into blogging during the early years of his practice as an insurance litigator.

Jul 25, 2018
What would it mean to impeach a president?

Joshua Matz discusses his book "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment" and why he believes that the partisan use of impeachment rhetoric over the past 40 years has not been positive for U.S. democracy.

Jun 20, 2018
Meet the nominees for the 2018 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

In this special episode, the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles speaks with Lisa Scottoline, C.E. Tobisman and Scott Turow about their nominated books, their creative processes, and the role they believe lawyers play in society.

Jun 6, 2018
How Anthony Comstock’s anti-obscenity crusade changed American law

Amy Werbel explains how Comstock’s religious fervor and backing by wealthy New York society members led to a raft of harsh federal and state censorship laws.

May 23, 2018
How Nixon used a law firm stint to resurrect his political career and win the presidency

Victor Li explains how Nixon leveraged his time at Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander to resurrect both his political viability and the firm’s financial standing.

May 10, 2018
How can we fight to reduce bias? 6th Circuit judge shares her thoughts

Judge Bernice Donald and Sarah E. Redfield talk about Enhancing Justice: Reducing Bias, a book which Redfield edited and Donald contributed to. They discuss the latest research on bias, and give concrete tips for managing it.

Apr 25, 2018
How broken windows policing changed the legal landscape in ‘Misdemeanorland’

Prof. Issa Kohler-Hausmann explains the impact a change in tactics had for New York City police, courts and residents, and discusses her new book, “Misdemeanorland: Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing.”

Apr 11, 2018
Roe v. Wade had a broader impact than the public realizes, says author of ‘Beyond Abortion’

Mary Ziegler discusses what Roe v. Wade's legacy has been, and how it advanced–or failed to advance–Americans' right to privacy.

Mar 21, 2018
Uncovering the secret history of how corporations gained their civil rights

Adam Winkler, author of We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights, shares what he learned from his investigation into how corporations have achieved constitutional protections.

Mar 7, 2018
Dark tale of ‘The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist’ brings wrongful convictions to light

Tucker Carrington, author of "The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South," discusses flawed forensics, coroner system racism, and the effect these have on innocents.

Feb 21, 2018
A stalled elevator leads to love in lawyer’s best-selling romance novel

Jasmine Guillory tells the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles that writing served as a stress release from her legal work and functioned as her creative outlet.

Feb 7, 2018
Teamsters lawyer pens children’s book to show importance of the labor movement

Mark Torres shares what the process of writing the children's book “Good Guy Jake” was like and why he feels it's necessary for kids to learn about the modern labor movement.

Jan 17, 2018
Bryan Garner reflects on his friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia in ‘Nino and Me’

Bryan Garner speaks about what gave him the confidence to ask a sitting Supreme Court justice to co-author two books, the four style issues he and Scalia were never able to agree on, and what it was like to write his first memoir.

Jan 3, 2018
How a Quaker’s suit against the Secretary of Defense still impacts cases over government surveillance

Jeffrey Vagle speaks about his new book discussing government surveillance and a seminal Supreme Court case in 1972, the effects of which are still felt today.

Dec 20, 2017
Barbie v. Bratz: What happened when toy titans took each other to court

Orly Lobel speaks about how an intellectual property dispute between the maker of Barbie and the creator of Bratz spun into a legal battle that would last more than a decade.

Dec 6, 2017
Georgetown law prof calls for complete re-imagining of criminal justice system in ‘Chokehold’

Paul Butler discusses racial inequities built into the system and the way to fully address the harm done to civil rights by the criminal justice system.

Nov 15, 2017
Will big data tools make policing less biased–or violate people’s rights?

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson discusses data-driven surveillance technology, how it can be used and misused, and how implicit bias can taint results.

Oct 4, 2017
What can we learn from the history of interracial relationships in America?

Sheryll Cashin discusses how the concept of race was introduced in America and her book, "Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy."

Sep 6, 2017
How the author of ‘The Forgotten Flight’ fought to bring justice for terror victims’ families

When UTA Flight 772 was downed over the Ténéré Desert in Niger, 170 people lost their lives, including seven Americans

Aug 3, 2017
First Amendment defender warns of threats to free speech in the ‘fake news’ era

In this legal podcast, Floyd Abrams discusses his book “The Soul of the First Amendment."

Jul 19, 2017
Merriam-Webster editor shares the ‘secret life of dictionaries’

Kory Stamper talks about her work as a lexicographer and editor for Merriam-Webster.

Jul 5, 2017
Harper Lee Prize finalists discuss their novels, careers, and the first time they read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

An interview with 2017 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction finalists, Jodi Picoult, Graham Moore, and James Grippando.

Jun 21, 2017
How government actions, not personal choices, created segregated neighborhoods

In this podcast episode, Richard Rothstein talks about his new book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.

Jun 7, 2017
David Grann uncovers the deadly conspiracy behind murders of oil-rich Osage tribe members

David Grann talks about how he first learned of the murders that inspired his book "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI."

May 17, 2017
How a Chinese-American family challenged school segregation in 1920s Mississippi

Author of “Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South” discusses this little known chapter of history.

May 3, 2017
The Crime of Complicity: Examining the Role of the Bystander in the Holocaust and Beyond

Amos Guiora discusses his new book, "The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust" and addresses the bystander-victim relationship.

Apr 19, 2017
Are prisoners’ civil rights being needlessly violated by long-term solitary confinement?

Keramet Reiter, a University of California Irvine professor, discusses her book "23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement."

Mar 15, 2017
What can neuroscience tell us about crime?

Kevin Davis discusses his new book "The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms."

Mar 7, 2017
Al-Tounsi by Anton Piatigorsky: The U.S. Supreme Court through a Human Lens

Piatigorsky discusses the right of habeas corpus and differences between the U.S. and Canadian Supreme Courts relating to his debut novel.

Feb 1, 2017
Legal Asylum by Paul Goldstein: A Satiric Look at Legal Academia

Harper Lee Prize-winning author Paul Goldstein discusses his new novel "Legal Asylum: A Comedy."

Jan 18, 2017
Alberto Gonzales reflects back on Bush administration and gives his advice for Trump staff

The Hon. Alberto R. Gonzales, White House counsel and U.S. attorney general under President Bush, talks about his new memoir, "True Faith and Allegiance."

Dec 21, 2016
Was this lawyer-turned-WWII-spy the basis for James Bond?

Florida attorney Larry Loftis discusses his book about Dusko Popov, the "real James Bond," and what he discovered while researching this incredible character.

Nov 16, 2016
What can past presidential history teach us about today?

Talmage Boston talks about historical context when judging a president's actions and what history tells us about the future of the Trump administration.

Oct 19, 2016
John Lennon’s lawyer explains how the musician’s deportation case changed immigration law

Leon Wildes and his son Michael join the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles to discuss the legacy of the John Lennon Immigration case and the effect on their family.

Sep 21, 2016
A seismic shift in how the US wages war and what it means for the American public

Georgetown law professor Rosa Books shares the experiences she had in the U.S. government which led her to write her new book.

Aug 17, 2016
Freedom isn’t the end of the story for exonerees

Journalist Alison Flowers discusses her book and what efforts have been made to help the wrongfully convicted reconstruct lives for themselves.

Jul 13, 2016
How a 1980s lynching case helped bring down the Klan

On the morning of March 21, 1981, the body of 19-year-old Michael Donald was found hanging from a tree in Mobile, Alabama. The years that followed saw the conviction of his two killers and a civil case brought by Donald’s mother which bankrupted the largest Klan organization in the United States. In this episode of...

Jun 22, 2016
In ‘The Last Good Girl,’ Allison Leotta tackles the fraught subject of campus rape

Author Allison Leotta has used her 12-year experience as a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington, D.C., to bring real-world issues into her fiction. Leotta has written five novels chronicling the adventures of her protagonist, prosecutor Anna Curtis. The most recent, The Last Good Girl, takes on the issue of campus sexual assault at a fictional private...

May 11, 2016
Before stop-and-frisk there were vagrancy laws; ‘Vagrant Nation’ explores their rise and fall

Lee Rawles speaks with Risa Goluboff about her new book, 'Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s.'

Mar 22, 2016
Prosecutor’s book offers first-hand look at ‘Making a Murderer’ subject Steven Avery

A year before Netflix’s viral hit Making of a Murderer was making headlines, Manitowoc County prosecutor Michael Griesbach released his book “The Innocent Killer: A True Story of a Wrongful Conviction and its Astonishing Aftermath”. Griesbach was the prosecutor who worked to free Steven Avery after DNA evidence proved he had been wrongfully convicted of a terrible assault. In...

Dec 21, 2015
Harper Lee Prize winner tells how history and race shaped her Southern gothic novel

The Secret of Magic is a book within a book. It is both the title of Deborah Johnson’s 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction-winning novel, and (in the world of that novel) a reclusive writer’s scandalous 1920s children’s book, which dared to feature black and white playmates solving mysteries together in a magical forest. The...

Aug 26, 2015
Linda Fairstein chats about her Alex Cooper series–and reveals an exciting new project

In the hands of author Linda Fairstein, fictional sex-crimes prosecutor Alex Cooper has enjoyed a career spanning 17 books and almost two decades. Cooper’s 16th adventure, Terminal City, was selected as one of the three finalists for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Fairstein spoke with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles to discuss...

Apr 30, 2015
Grammar nerds, meet your Comma Queen

Mary Norris has been a copy editor for the New Yorker since 1978. In her new book, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, she offers clear and understandable grammar lessons for some of the most common conundrums faced by English speakers. Along the way, she also lifts the veil on the editorial...

Jan 28, 2015
Author Tells Tangled Tale of the $19B Verdict Against Chevron in ‘Law of the Jungle’

In February 2011, an Ecuadorean court found the Chevron Corporation liable for environmental damage caused by oil-drilling activities in the rainforest region El Oriente in the 1970s and 1980s. Chevron, which in 2001 purchased Texaco (the company which had actually operated the oil wells), was ordered to pay $19 billion to the class-action plaintiffs who brought...

Dec 17, 2014
All is not as it seems for 9th Circuit clerk in ATL founder’s new novel (podcast)

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, moderator Lee Rawles chats with Above the Law’s David Lat about his novel Supreme Ambitions, his career, and his time as the anonymous author of the sometimes-scandalous blog Underneath Their Robes. Read more about Lat and his book at the ABA Journal.

Sep 30, 2014
How a series of attacks by a breakaway Amish sect became a landmark hate-crimes case

The Amish religion is a branch of Christianity that adheres to a doctrine of simplicity, nonviolence and forgiveness. How then did a breakaway group come to be implicated in the first federal trial to prosecute religiously motivated hate crimes within the same faith community? From September to November in 2011, there was series of five...

Aug 28, 2014
Boies and Olson reveal the backstory of the case against California’s Proposition 8

Before their successful partnership on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the federal case that overturned California’s anti-same-sex-marriage law, the most prominent case Ted Olson and David Boies had been involved in together was Bush v. Gore. Olson, who argued on behalf of George W. Bush, prevailed over Al Gore, who was represented by Boies. But people who...

Your Host
Lee Rawles

Lee Rawles joined the ABA Journal in 2010 as a web producer. She has also worked for the Winston-Salem...