Podcasts

The Modern Law Library

Grammar nerds, meet your ‘Comma Queen’ (podcast)
Apr 30, 2015 4:20 PM CDT

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 process for the famed magazine and describes the meandering career path that led her to The New Yorker.

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Norris and the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles discuss lawyers’ affinity for language.

“It is true that the legal profession has a lot riding on usage and punctuation,” says Norris.

Norris also sheds light on the little-known legal ambitions of Noah Webster, the father of American lexicography.

“He meant to be a lawyer,” Norris says. “He went to Yale, and he graduated from Yale during the American Revolution intending to be a lawyer. But he went back to West Hartford, and his father more or less cut him off. His father was all tapped out; he’d mortgaged his farm to pay for Noah to go to Yale in the first place.

“So Noah Webster went to work as a schoolteacher, and it’s because he was so appalled at his students’ pronunciation that he compiled The [American] Spelling Book, his idea being to break words down into their syllables and use spelling to teach pronunciation.”

Listen to the podcast for a list of Norris’ favorite grammar guides for additional reading.

Updated on May 1 to remove a comma.

Download this podcast

Read more ...


Asked and Answered

Would your practice be prepared if something happened to you? (podcast with transcript)
Apr 9, 2015 10:20 AM CDT

Asked and Answered

How can attorneys get help without harming their careers? (podcast with transcript)
Mar 2, 2015 8:50 AM CST

Asked and Answered

How these law students help costs and acrimony for divorcing couples (podcast with transcript)
Feb 2, 2015 9:00 AM CST

The Modern Law Library

Author tells tangled tale of the $19B verdict against Chevron in ‘Law of the Jungle’ (podcast)
Jan 28, 2015 9:15 AM CST

Asked and Answered

Linda Greenhouse and Jonathan Turley discuss the courts and the press (podcast with transcript)
Jan 5, 2015 8:32 AM CST

The Modern Law Library

All is not as it seems for 9th Circuit clerk in ATL founder’s new novel (podcast)
Dec 17, 2014 8:30 AM CST

Asked and Answered

How can you use social media responsibly to promote your clients’ cases? (podcast with transcript)
Dec 1, 2014 8:50 AM CST

Asked and Answered

How to network without feeling slimy (podcast with transcript)
Nov 3, 2014 8:30 AM CST

Asked and Answered

Do you have what it takes to be a rural lawyer? (podcast with transcript)
Oct 6, 2014 8:30 AM CDT

The Modern Law Library

How a series of attacks by a breakaway Amish sect became a landmark hate-crimes case (podcast)
Sep 29, 2014 5:23 PM CDT

Asked and Answered

How do you provide client hand-holding if you run a virtual firm? (podcast with transcript)
Sep 8, 2014 3:55 PM CDT

The Modern Law Library

Boies and Olson reveal the backstory of the case against California’s Proposition 8 (podcast)
Aug 28, 2014 5:55 PM CDT

ABA Journal Podcast

How do we fix the school-to-prison pipeline? (podcast with transcript)
Aug 4, 2014 1:30 PM CDT

The Modern Law Library

Growing up during BTK serial-killing spree informed author’s new crime novel (podcast)
Jul 28, 2014 9:00 PM CDT

ABA Journal Podcast

Bryan Garner on legal neologisms and how ‘Black’s Law Dictionary’ keeps up (podcast with transcript)
Jul 7, 2014 1:30 PM CDT

The Modern Law Library

Why should 9/11 terrorism trials be held at ‘Mother Court’ in New York? Author explains (podcast)
Jun 30, 2014 4:20 PM CDT

ABA Journal Podcast

How to deal with high-conflict clients (podcast with transcript)
Jun 2, 2014 1:30 PM CDT

The Modern Law Library

How 50 children were saved from Nazi Germany by a Philadelphia lawyer and his wife (podcast)
May 29, 2014 5:00 PM CDT

ABA Journal Podcast

Free yourself from notecards at trial with these tips (podcast with transcript)
May 5, 2014 2:00 PM CDT

The Modern Law Library

This 18th-century British judge helped SCOTUS decide the fate of Guantanamo detainees (podcast)
Apr 30, 2014 10:00 PM CDT