The Modern Law Library


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.

Debut novelist’s tale of Sri Lankan refugees wins 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

In 2009 and 2010, two ships packed with refugees fleeing the Sri Lankan civil war arrived on the shores of Canada. Those refugees inspired Sharon Bala's debut novel, The Boat People, which won the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

How to train your expert witness

When it comes to working with an expert or expert witness, there can be a lot of moving parts to keep track of. You have to determine how an expert…

Founder of The Slants talks about the band’s free-speech fight

Slanted book cover.

When Simon Tam booked the first gig for The Slants, there was a major obstacle to overcome: The band did…

How the Great Recession changed American law firms

There's no denying that law firms have gone through significant changes in the last decade. These changes continue to create unprecedented challenges for modern law firms today. So, what's next?

How to become a federal criminal: It’s easier than you may think

The good news for anyone aspiring to a life of crime is that you may be a multiple offender of federal criminal laws without even being aware of it.

A curmudgeon’s tips for making it in BigLaw

For new law graduates and associates going into the world of BigLaw, the stakes have never been higher—and neither have the expectations.

Public speaking skills every lawyer should master

For every lawyer who thinks they have oral presentations down pat, there’s another who has anxiety about talking in front of a crowd. And they both need help.

Help select the winner of the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

The finalists for the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction have been announced, and now readers will have a chance to weigh in. The books nominated for the ninth annual award are The Boat People, by Sharon Bala; Class Action, by Steven B. Frank; and The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey.

The strange tale of the ‘Voodoo reverend’ and Harper Lee’s lost true-crime book

A series of suspicious deaths; a murder at a victim’s funeral; a minister whom locals suspected was dabbling in voodoo; a gregarious Alabama lawyer and politician called Big Tom; and…

Why tech tools can have promise and peril for policing

Like everyone else, police are inundated with new gadgets and technologies promised to make their jobs easier. But do they? In his new book, Thin Blue Lie, investigative journalist Matt Stroud digs deeps into the background of various police technologies' promises and perils.

How introverts can make networking work for them

You have to network to get work, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Carol Schiro Greenwald spends her time teaching law firms to grow their businesses and their profitability,…

Did an ax murderer go free? ‘The Trial of Lizzie Borden’ examines the evidence

Cara Robertson has been fascinated by the ax murders of Andrew and Abby Borden—and the daughter who stood trial for those murders—since she was an undergrad at Harvard University nearly…

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