ABA Journal

Podcasts

American flag and honorable discharge paperwork

The Modern Law Library

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.

Read more ...


ABA Journal Podcast

Lucky 36: What It Takes to Land a Supreme Court Clerkship

About a thousand candidates—most if not all of whom have top grades, fascinating backgrounds and served as law review editors—apply for U.S. Supreme Court clerkship slots each year. How do the 36 who get tapped make the cut? Reputation, coupled with a bit of luck, goes a long way, guests tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward.

Related article:

ABAJournal.com: “Critical of Law School Rankings, Thomas Says ‘Ivies’ OK, but He Prefers Hiring ‘Regular’ Students”

Reuters: “The secret keepers: Meet the U.S. Supreme Court clerks”

The Modern Law Library

Author Describes Clash of Titans Jefferson and Marshall in ‘The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr’

Marbury v. Madison may have been their first major legal battle, but President Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall clashed again in the treason trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr.

Burr may now be known best for his fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton in 1804, but by 1807 he was on trial for a plot that may (or may not) have involved fighting a private war against the Spanish; convincing the Western states to secede; and a mysterious cipher letter delivered by a “scoundrel” general into Jefferson’s own hand. In a trial lasting seven months, some of the new nation’s most skilled lawyers fought to define habeas corpus rights, the separation of powers and the constitutional definition of treason.

Professor R. Kent Newmyer reveals all these events in his new book, The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr: Law, Politics, and the Character Wars of the New Nation. He joined The Modern Law Library podcast to discuss his book with ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles. The Jefferson/Marshall showdown at what some call the greatest criminal trial in American history almost never came to be; Newmyer shares that Chief Justice Marshall presided over the trial in Richmond, Va., only because in those days Supreme Court justices were expected to ride circuit. He also discusses some of the legal minds who were involved in the trial, including a man named (confusingly) Luther Martin.

Reviews:

“Kent Newmyer, one of the most distinguished legal historians in the country, has written an extraordinarily learned and balanced account of what is arguably the greatest criminal trial in American history. The trial seems as relevant today as it was in 1807.” - Gordon S. Wood, Brown University

Note: The digital version of the book is available now; the print release date has been moved to Oct. 23, 2012.

The Modern Law Library

After Going from BigLaw to ABC News, Author of ‘Exit Interview’ Witnessed Seismic Changes

ABA Journal Reporter Rachel Zahorsky talks with David Westin, author of Exit Interview and a former Washington, D.C., BigLaw partner, who left his position as president of ABC News after 14 years of leading media coverage of what he calls “some of the most perplexing and important events in history.”

President Bill Clinton’s impeachment (including what ignited the decision to report on the existence of a certain blue dress); the 2000 presidential election; the Sept. 11 attacks; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the worst economy since the Great Depression have marked an era of constant change in America. And, within the newsroom, Westin, who was seen as a corporate outsider to some veteran journalists, inherited a business besieged by budget cuts and competition from nearly unlimited sources thanks in part to the explosive growth of the Internet and digital technology.

As a former lawyer who once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Westin also shares with us his views on cameras in courtrooms, protections for anonymous sources, and lessons the legal profession—faced with its own changing landscape—should learn.

Reviews:

Newsweek: “David Westin on Network News in Crisis in ‘Exit Interview’”

NPR: “A Network Head Reflects In ‘Interview’”

KPCC: “Former head of ABC News David Westin offers his ‘Exit Interview’”

ABA Journal Podcast

Keeping the Peace: How Associates and Partners Can Work Together Without a Battle

Partners might drive associates crazy, but associates can control some of that with their own behavior, lawyers tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward. Tips include never leaving your office without a pad of paper; asking questions—providing they’re well thought out—when assigned a matter; and remembering that at work, you are always being judged.

The Modern Law Library

‘Five-Finger Discount’ Costs Billions, Says Author of Shoplifting Book ‘The Steal’

Shoplifting—is it little Johnny swiping a pack of gum, or a multibillion-dollar crime epidemic? Well, it can be both, says Rachel Shteir, author of The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, and the public perception of shoplifting has shifted throughout history.

Shteir speaks with ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles as they discuss professional shoplifters—called “boosters”—the treatments available for compulsive shoplifters, and the extraordinary extrajudicial industry of “loss prevention.”

Reviews:

The New York Times: “Sticky Fingers, Used in Service of a Covetous Nature”

New York Observer: “No, Steal This Book: Rachel Shteir’s ‘The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting’”

NPR: “Sticky Fingers, Hidden Hams: A Shoplifting History”

Los Angeles Times: “The surprising psychology of shoplifting”

ABA Journal Podcast

On Stage: How to Use Theater Techniques to Reach Juries

Acting relies on an audience connection, and trial work is no different, say consultants David Ball and Joshua Karton. With ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward they discuss storytelling, cross examinations and why one should never use PowerPoint during trial.

Related article:

ABA Journal: “The Theater’s 12 Greatest Courtroom Dramas”

The Modern Law Library

Scalia Discusses Views on Textualism and the Process of Co-Writing His New Book

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has long been known as a champion of the legal philosophy of textualism, interpreting statutes by the writer’s words. The justice teams again with co-author Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary, in their second book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. In addition to explaining textualism and originalism–defining the words based on the Constitution Founders’ meaning–the writers list 70 canons to guide lawyers and judges.

In an interview with ABA Journal Assistant Managing Editor Richard Brust, Justice Scalia explains textualism, the effort with Garner to write the book, and how lawyers can use the concepts to help argue their cases.

The Modern Law Library

Federal Judge Pens Memoir About His Time on the Bench and His High-Profile Cases in ‘Disrobed’

In his time on the federal district court in Brooklyn, Judge Frederic Block has presided over many high-profile cases. He speaks with ABA Journal web producer Lee Rawles about his time in private practice; his involvement with cases, including the Kitty Genovese and Crown Heights Riot murders; and appearing before the Warren Supreme Court to argue a one man, one vote case at the age of 33. He says that he wrote Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge to help further readers’ understanding of federal courts and to combat the typical “judicial lockjaw.”

Reviews:

“Judge Block gives the reader an engaging, often humorous account of his life, as always, and a compelling introduction to the world of a federal judge, whose decisions are subject to plenty of public scrutiny but whose decision-making process remains a mystery for most Americans.” - President Bill Clinton

The Villager: “Judge’s book gives an insider’s view of life on the bench”

Updated at 2:20 p.m. to remove a reference in Judge Block’s bio.

Law Scribbler Podcast

What Can the Real Rate Report Tell Us About the Value of Entry-Level Lawyers?

For in-house counsel reluctant to pay fees for entry-level associates, a new study that uses actual billing data from 2007 to 2011 may further justify that resistance. Controlling for partner and associate hours per matter, associates with less than two years of experience cost clients $72,185 more than using more seasoned associates for short-term litigation matters that billed 40 hours or more, according to the Real Rate Report, featured in this month’s ABA Journal’s Law By the Numbers.

Given the reports’ additional findings that less than 3 percent of total lawyer hours billed to a company, on average, in 2011 were for entry-level associates, down from 7 percent in 2009 (even as junior associate salaries increased), how can firms offer the best value to their clients and still provide the necessary legal experience to their associates?

Hear ABA Journal business of law reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky talk with Craig Raeburn, managing director of TyMetrix Legal Analytic, co-producer of the Real Rate Report, and Stuart Dodds, director of global pricing at Baker & McKenzie (a now-growing position in the legal profession that existed at only a handful of firms just five years ago), as they discuss the impact of the study’s findings on law firm-client relationships, best practices for efficient case management, and how firms can ensure the proper investment in entry-level lawyers to serve clients now and in the future.

The Modern Law Library

‘Failing Law Schools’ Author Challenges Law Schools to Make Dramatic Changes

ABA Journal Business of Law Reporter Rachel Zahorsky talks with Brian Z. Tamanaha, author of Failing Law Schools, on the need for new law school models that reflect today’s reality, where the six-figure cost of a J.D. is grossly disproportionate to the economic benefits for most graduates. Tamanaha proposes updated accreditation standards and federal lending programs, and challenges prospective students, their parents and Congress to demand the critical changes necessary to preserve the future of the profession.

Reviews:

The National Law Journal: “Book Gives Law Schools Failing Grade”

TaxProf Blog: “Jim Chen Reviews Brian Tamanaha’s New Book, Failing Law Schools

Related articles:

ABAJournal.com: “Law Prof: Economics of Legal Education Are Broken Because of Exacting Standards, Loan System”

ABAJournal.com: “Around the Blawgosphere: Suit Against Avvo Dismissed; Ex-Associate Starts Book on Cross-Country Walk”

ABAJournal.com: “Law Deans and a Law Professor Respond to the ‘Law School Bubble’”

ABAJournal.com: “Law Prof’s Upcoming Book Chronicles Oversupply of New Lawyers, Proposes Flexible Legal Ed System”

ABA Journal Podcast

Picking a Winner: How to Identify Great Contingency Cases

What are some signs of a great contingency case? Or what are the signs of a real stinker—one that’s already sucked up a bunch of your time and money? ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward and seasoned litigators discuss spotting the winners and coping when cases take a turn for the worse.

The Modern Law Library

‘Breach of Trust’ Tells Ripped-from-the-Headlines Tale of Government Corruption and Intrigue

An intrepid attorney (with nothing left to lose after the deaths of his wife and daughter) scales the state government ladder to solve the murder of a potential witness and expose the corruption that leads all the way to the governor’s mansion.

That is the plot of Breach of Trust, one of the three finalists for the 2012 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. ABA Journal web producer Lee Rawles spoke with author David Ellis about the real-life influences behind the novel: his own experience with the impeachment trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Ellis also speaks about what To Kill a Mockingbird has meant to him, and how he feels about being a finalist for the Harper Lee Prize.

The reader’s choice poll will be open until July 8. The winner of the 2012 Harper Lee Prize will be announced in August.

Reviews:

Chicago Tribune: “Bullets and bureaucrats: New thriller lifts veil on villainous state government”

Library Journal: “Fiction Reviews, January 2011”

Kirkus Reviews: “Breach of Trust, by David Ellis”

The Modern Law Library

Author Discusses How to Identify and Deal with an ‘Almost Psychopath’

Corrected: When does dealing with a manipulative person go from difficult to dangerous?

ABA Journal reporter Martha Neil talks about psychopathy with Jim Silver, one of the authors of Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy?

He discusses how a true psychopath differs from an “almost psychopath;” techniques for dealing with one at work or in your personal life; the neurological differences in their brains; and what treatments are available.

Reviews:

CapitolGazette.com: “Are you ‘Almost a Psychopath’?”

Harvard Gazette: “Six fresh books worth perusing”

Updated July 6 to correctly identify Jim Silver as the co-author interviewed for this podcast.

ABA Journal Podcast

Diversify or Die: How Adding Ancillary Businesses Can Get Your Firm Through Tough Times

The previous winter at Avanti Law Group had been a slow one, and with January quickly approaching, the partners didn’t want to sit around and wait for business again, managing member Raquel A. Salas said. So they bought an accounting firm housed in the same building as their Michigan law firm. Hear Salas discuss her experiences as an ancillary business owner with ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, as experts in legal ethics and marketing weigh in.

The Modern Law Library

Lack of Online Privacy Rights Is Very Troubling, Says Author

Are you in control of your digital self? ABA Journal web producer Lee Rawles talks with Lori Andrews, author of I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy about the lack of online privacy rights and the need for a social media constitution.

They discuss the changes that social networks have brought to all areas of the law, including evidence gathering; what evidence is admissible in courts; how social media can affect the right to a fair trial; and the right to control one’s image. Andrews touches on how secret data aggregation about your online activities can affect the price of your health insurance, the advertisements you see, what jobs you qualify for and the limits on your credit card balance.

Reviews:

The New York Times: “The Dangers of Sharing”

Kirkus Reviews: “I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did”

The Diane Rehm Show: “I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy”

Law Scribbler Podcast

What Risks Do Lawyers Face When Clients Keep Some Legal Tasks In-House Or Assign to Outside Vendors?

As the breakdown of complicated legal tasks among both expanded in-house departments and outside non-firm vendors becomes the new normal, law firms are at greater risk for malpractice and mismanagement claims.

ABA Journal business of law reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky discusses with Beazley’s Brant Weidner and solo practitioner and legal ethics professor John Steele the challenges of this trend for outside law firms and what lawyers can do to protect themselves and their clients when faced with the increased disaggregation of legal work.

The Modern Law Library

‘Show Trials’ Author Advocates for Systemic Changes to Immigration Courts

Welcome to the ABA Journal’s new podcast, The Modern Law Library.

On the second and fourth Mondays of each month, we will discuss a law-related book with its author and listen to a short excerpt.

In today’s podcast, ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles speaks with Peter Afrasiabi about his recently released book Show Trials: How Property Gets More Legal Protection than People in Our Failed Immigration System.

Reviews:

“A powerful critique of our failed immigration system. In beautiful prose and with moving stories, Peter Afrasiabi tells of the unfairness and inhumanity of immigration proceedings. His proposals for change provide a blueprint for essential reforms.” – Erwin Chemerinsky, constitutional scholar and dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law.

Kirkus Book Reviews: “Show Trials, by Peter Afrasiabi”

Check out our monthly discussion show, regular @LawScribbler chats and new books discussion, “The Modern Law Library” here on iTunes.

ABA Journal Podcast

Stand and Deliver: Tips on Trying Your First Case

Thinking on your feet means being on your feet and doing your prep work, say seasoned litigators on this month’s podcast. Standing to address the courtroom may feel awkward, but juries feel it shows respect. Hear more trial tips and tricks they shared with ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward.

The Modern Law Library

‘Born, Not Raised’ Author Discusses the Flaws in the Juvenile Justice System

Welcome to the ABA Journal’s new podcast, The Modern Law Library.

On the second and fourth Mondays of each month, we will discuss a law-related book with its author and listen to a short excerpt.

In today’s podcast, ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles speaks with Susan Madden Lankford about her recently released book Born, Not Raised: Voices from Juvenile Hall.

Reviews:

Publishers Weekly: “Born, Not Raised: Voices from Juvenile Hall”

KPBS: “‘Born, Not Raised’ Explores The Links Between Development And Juvenile Crime”

Check out our monthly discussion show, regular @LawScribbler chats and new books discussion, “The Modern Law Library” here on iTunes.

Law Scribbler Podcast

How Can You Make Sure Your Client Pays You What You’re Owed?

As the difficult economy intensifies pressure on lawyers and law firms to keep billings and collections up, clients are finding it difficult to pay large legal fees on time. This combination is fueling an uptick in fee suits filed by lawyers looking to collect and the boomerang malpractice claims filed in response by their clients.

Hear ABA Journal business of law reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky discuss with Beazley’s Brant Weidner this dangerous trend, along with key points for lawyers to contemplate when weighing the risks and rewards of a fee suit and ways to prevent the predicament altogether.

Read more ...