The Modern Law Library


What does police abolition look like?

book cover

Recent protests over police brutality have raised the volume on calls to defund the police. But while police abolition may be new to…

What’s lost when jury trials vanish?

Thirty years ago, between 9% to 10% of federal criminal cases actually went to trial before a jury. That may not seem like a large percentage, but by 2018, only 2% of defendants received a jury trial.

Meet 9 American women shortlisted for the Supreme Court before Sandra Day O’Connor

As early as the 1930s, presidents were considering putting the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, who were these other candidates on the short list, and why did it take until 1981 for Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice?

An insider’s guide to succeeding in law school⁠—even during the COVID-19 pandemic

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson says that near the end of every school year, he has law students come into his office "usually in tears." They tell the professor that if they'd only known at the start of the year what they'd figured out by the end of the year, they'd be so much further ahead.

Journalist investigating wrongful convictions turns lens on white-collar criminal case in Chicago

When Michael Segal first approached longtime Chicago journalist Maurice Possley about writing about his case, Possley was not interested. Segal’s 2002 arrest and subsequent federal trial had been big news…

How to develop your horse sense with equine law

Julie Fershtman has developed a niche practice helping people who love horses deal with the particular joys and challenges that come with equine businesses. She is one of the nation's best-known lawyers serving many facets of the horse industry.

What should you read about COVID-19? We asked an epidemiologist

With a barrage of information and misinformation about COVID-19 coming our way, it can be hard to evaluate what sources are trustworthy and where to go for reliable medical news. So for this new episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles called her friend Mary Lancaster, an epidemiologist for the federal government.

How to achieve vocal power in and out of the courtroom

Public speaking is a crucial part of working as a lawyer. It is especially important for female lawyers who are claiming their vocal authority in speaking roles in courts.

2 families connected by LA riots collide in ‘Your House Will Pay’

The riots in South Los Angeles in 1992 may be nearly three decades old, but in the present day, two families in the novel Your House Will Pay will find that the events from that time are far from over.

How safe is your right to vote?

The Constitution of the United States has been amended multiple times since it was written to expand the franchise of voting from the original beneficiaries, white male landowners. But the story of voting rights in the United States is not just one of expansion; there have been periods (such as after Reconstruction) where voting rights that had once been exercised were blocked off, extinguished and suppressed.

The court of public opinion: Why litigation PR is a critical component of a case

A lawyer’s duties do not begin and end at the courtroom door. They extend beyond the courtroom to the proverbial court of public opinion. In this era of instantaneous exchanges, there should always be an effective litigation communications plan in place before a case is filed, or worse, it goes awry.

How to kick off 2020 with more productive business meetings

When considering our New Year’s resolutions, we all want to be more resourceful with our time, especially with our workdays. We don’t realize how much time meetings can take up if they are conducted in an inefficient manner.

Check out our favorite books of 2019

If you're traveling this holiday season—or just enjoying some end-of-year downtime—you might be in need of some good book recommendations. With that in mind, in this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles brings you a glimpse at what we've been reading around the ABA offices. Staff recommendations run the gamut from romance to horror to self-help to historical fiction.

What goes on in the mind of a sentencing judge?

We rarely hear how a judge determines an appropriate sentence for a person who has been convicted of a crime. This process is invisible to the lawyers in a case, the public and even to the criminal defendant being sentenced.

One year after Kavanaugh’s confirmation, reporters reexamine the evidence for and against him

One year after Brett M. Kavanaugh's tumultuous nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, questions that arose during the nomination hearings still linger.

How to master the jury selection process

The jury selection process can be one of the most challenging aspects of jury trial, and it is often the least-known trial lawyer skill. During this important process, trial lawyers…

Fighting for first responders sickened at ground zero turned into yearslong legal battle

Tens of thousands of people worked at ground zero after the World Trade Center attacks in 2001—looking for survivors, sifting for human remains, and breathing in the dust of the pulverized buildings. Their actions were heroic and lauded at the time. But as the months and years passed, many began to become gravely ill.

New book addresses critical legal issues, policies and strategies surrounding smart technology

According to the World Economic Forum, “In the next 10 years, the ‘internet of things’ revolution will dramatically alter manufacturing, energy, agriculture, transportation and other industrial sectors of the…

African American farmer’s legal battle to save his family farm is focus of ‘Catfish Dream’

Ed Scott was the first-ever nonwhite owner and operator of a catfish plant in the nation. The former sharecropper-turned-landowner was part of a class action lawsuit that resulted in one of the largest civil rights settlements in U.S. history. With the settlement of Pigford v. Glickman in 1999, almost $1 billion has been issued to more than 13,000 African American farmers to date.

How power dynamics in the workplace shield perpetrators of sexual harassment

We often associate the #MeToo movement with the entertainment industry, but sexual harassment is a widespread problem in all industries. The hierarchical nature of the workplace influences victims’ fear that reporting harassment will result in retaliation, and they do not feel protected by the very systems that are in place to protect them.

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