ABA Journal

The Modern Law Library


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.

Why do barristers wear wigs? ‘Dress Codes’ explores fashion and the law

Ask any attorney about the most outlandish clothing they've seen worn in a courtroom, and most will have a colorful story. But what determines the appropriateness of any outfit?

How your firm can use technology to build business and keep clients

As a longtime technology consultant to law firms, Heinan Landa knows that lawyers are cautious customers who can be resistant to change. But the old expectations around client service no longer exist, he says, and meeting the new standards requires a shift in the way law firms do business.

‘White Fright’ author discusses historical lynch mobs and the attack on the Capitol

Historian Jane Dailey was saddened by the events in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, but the riot at the U.S. Capitol did not seem unfamiliar to her.

Check out our favorite reads from 2020

As a tumultuous year draws to a close, we gathered together ABA Journal editors and reporters to discuss what the past year has been like for them as readers. With the stress of the pandemic and national elections, how had their reading habits changed? Were they concentrating on current events or comfort reads? With our offices operating remotely, did they have more time for reading?

Former corporate lawyer draws inspiration from her family for her tireless clemency work

Brittany K. Barnett was a perfect fit for corporate law. As a certified public accountant who comes from a family with an entrepreneurial spirit, it made sense to fulfill her childhood dream and become a lawyer. But the same east Texas upbringing that gave her the ambition to succeed as a corporate attorney also wound up pulling her toward what her mother calls her "heart work": clemency and sentencing reform.

Lawyer recounts the life and legacy of the mysterious man behind Pilates

In 1963, John Howard Steel was a 28-year-old attorney with a challenging litigation practice, an unhappy marriage and a stiff neck. At the urging of his mother, Steel decided to try physical therapy at a gym owned by an elderly German immigrant named Joseph Pilates. It was a decision that would change Steel's life.

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