ABA Journal

The Modern Law Library


Our favorite pop culture picks in 2021

In our annual Year in Review episode, Lee Rawles speaks to her ABA Journal colleagues Blair Chavis, Matt Reynolds and Amanda Robert to find out how they spent their free time in 2021.

America’s fights over medical treatment choices didn’t start with COVID-19 and ivermectin

Like the legal profession, the practice of medicine in the United States is highly regulated. But it hasn't always been, and the idea that a person has the right to try the medical therapies of their choice has a much longer history. In Choose Your Medicine: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in America, law professor Lewis A. Grossman introduces readers to a fractious history with some unexpected combatants—and comrades.

Discover the man behind ‘12 Angry Men’ and the real-life case that inspired him

Whenever the ABA Journal has conducted a survey to find the best legal movies or the best legal plays, 12 Angry Men has made the list. The black-and-white 1957 film about a deadlocked jury coming to a consensus in a murder trial has become a classic, one of Henry Fonda's most striking roles. As a play, 12 Angry Men is performed around the world, in many languages, in theaters large and small.

Want to change a veteran’s life through pro bono? There’s a manual for that

Since World War II, more than 2 million service members have been discharged from U.S. military service with a status other than "honorable discharge." Having a discharge that falls below a certain level can impact a veteran's access to pensions, GI Bill education benefits, health care, insurance or home loans, as well as carrying a stigma.

How SCOTUS enabled police abuses of civil rights⁠—and what we can do about it

Much has been said about police officers and departments who violate civil rights or enforce the law in discriminatory ways. But not as much attention has been paid to the ways in which the U.S. Supreme Court has enabled police excesses and insulated police from civil or criminal responsibility, says Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and author of the new book Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights.

How to market your legal services to Hispanic clients

Hispanics are becoming an increasingly large segment of the U.S. population, and for an enterprising lawyer, serving the legal needs of Spanish-speaking clients seems like a solid business development goal. But running your existing marketing materials through Google Translate and slapping "Se habla español" on your website is not enough, says Liel Levy of Nanato Media.

A tale of love, loss and conservatorships in the Golden Age of Hollywood

Britney Spears' legal battle over the conservatorship that put her under the control of her father brought international attention to the conservatorship system. But many other rich and famous people have—appropriately or not—also found themselves in the grips of a system that is much more easy to enter than to leave.

How LinkedIn can help lawyers develop and market their brands

How do you use LinkedIn? Do you see it as a static resumé, or is it the equivalent of your morning newspaper? For Marc W. Halpert, LinkedIn is the most effective way lawyers and other professionals can build their brand, display expertise in niche markets, and nurture business relationships.

How neurodiverse lawyers can thrive in the profession—and change it for the better

There's a business case to be made for hiring attorneys with ADHD, autism, learning disabilities and other neurological differences. Businesses have long touted out-of-the-box thinking, but cookie-cutter hiring practices don't tend to result in diversity of thought. A legal professional who quite literally thinks differently can be an invaluable part of a team.

Chicago’s lakefront is an accident of history, but can it teach us how to preserve land for public use?

Chicago's lakefront, with its parks, museums, beaches and public spaces, is an accident of history. But can we take lessons from that history to create sustainable and environmentally responsible public spaces?

Do we need to rethink how we handle classified leaks?

As the 50th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers case approached, First Amendment scholars Lee Bollinger and Geoffrey Stone knew they wanted to mark the occasion somehow.

Summer reading picks and a book that’s coming to the silver screen

Summer is upon us, vaccinations are making travel safer, and you may be looking forward to getting some leisure reading done. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, host Lee Rawles shares some of the books she's read since our favorite reads of 2020 episode.

‘Vice Patrol’ examines how police and courts enforced anti-gay laws before Stonewall

A red tie. Manicured nails. Bleached hair. Loafers. The width of a person's hips. These are just a few of the things cited by vice patrol cops as indicators of someone's sexual preferences in the 1930s through the 1960s.

Little-known chapter of labor history is illuminated in union attorney’s new book

When Mark A. Torres was researching his first novel, A Stirring in the North Fork, he came across a piece of local history that he'd never known. Starting during the labor shortages of World War II, Long Island, New York, had been home to dozens of camps for several decades, some of which kept migrant workers in deplorable—and often deadly—conditions.

Are you good in a crisis? There may be a growing practice area for you

When they were putting together their new book, Crisis Lawyering: Effective Legal Advocacy in Emergency Situations, editors Ray Brescia and Eric K. Stern didn't know that the world would soon be gripped by a pandemic. But they knew that being ready for crises large or small could benefit lawyers.

Sen. Mazie Hirono discusses Kavanaugh hearings, the January insurrection and how her immigrant family’s experiences impacted her

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono's newly released book, Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter's Story, is part political memoir and part love letter to her family and the state she represents.

Increasing revenue while cutting down on billable hours? ‘AI for Lawyers’ says it’s possible

As the founders of a company that provides AI-powered contract analysis software, Kira Systems' Noah Waisberg and Alexander Hudek are used to facing skepticism, fear and doubt from attorneys. Will AI steal their jobs? Would using it violate ethics rules? How can it be good for a business model that relies on the billable hour to cut down on the amount of time that it takes to review a contract?

In ‘The Watergate Girl,’ Jill Wine-Banks gives an inside look at the special prosecution team that brought down Nixon

Jill Wine-Banks was barely 30 when she became an assistant Watergate special prosecutor investigating President Richard M. Nixon. In The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President, Wine-Banks (who was then known as Jill Wine Volner) shares her experience battling political obstruction, courtroom legal wrangling and the era's sexism.

Interested in infectious disease litigation? Before you accept a case, read this

When Davis M. Walsh and Samuel L. Tarry began assembling Infectious Disease Litigation: Science, Law, and Procedure, they had no idea a pandemic was soon going to make the topic more relevant than ever.

What can Texas tell us about the rise and fall of the death penalty?

By the late 1960s, use of the death penalty was on the decline in the United States. But after the U.S. Supreme Court declared in the 1972 case Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty as practiced violated the Eighth and 14th Amendments, there was a political backlash. By 1976, Georgia had a new capital punishment system that did pass Supreme Court muster, and other states followed suit—including Texas.

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