ABA Journal


exam and pencil

Asked and Answered

The NextGen bar exam includes an expansion of skills testing, so how will candidates study?

When the National Conference of Bar Examiners launches a revamped version of the bar exam in 2026, called the NextGen bar exam, it is expected that there will be new assessments on skills including legal research, investigation and client counseling. And that could mean less focus on memorization for candidates. Or not, says Mike Sims, president of the test prep group BARBRI.

Read more ...

The Modern Law Library

Author on how ‘tremendously radical’ women blazed trails into the legal profession (podcast)

In the 19th century, women battled for equal rights and began to try to enter many professions, including the law. What drove the first women lawyers?

“The critical issue is whether or not they have the personality that makes them ambitious in this tremendously radical and threatening way,” says Jill Norgren, author of the new book Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers.

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Norgren discusses some women trailblazers with ABA podcast editor Lee Rawles. They include Clara Foltz, who some credit as being the first to call for public defenders; and Belva Ann Lockwood, the first woman member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

Related photo gallery:

ABAJournal.com: “13 Pioneering Women in American Law”

ABA Journal Podcast

‘Aggressive’ is not a dirty word for women rainmakers (podcast with transcript)

Should women lawyers be as aggressive–if not more aggressive–as men when it comes to business development?  It depends, and much of the answer should be based on what women believe in for themselves, guest tell the ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward.

The Modern Law Library

The life and lovers of legendary Hollywood lawyer (podcast)

“He was the only person I ever knew in Hollywood who was a star without being in a movie,” says Robert Wagner in the foreword of The Man Who Seduced Hollywood: The Life and Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown’s Most Powerful Lawyer.

When Greg Bautzer wanted to break into Hollywood as a brand new attorney, he knew he had to be memorable, recounts B. James Gladstone’s newly released biography. So he borrowed $5,000 and used the money to buy “the best wardrobe in town.” It was a profitable investment indeed, as he later went on to represent such luminaries as Clark Gable, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Garland, William Randolph Hearst, Gene Kelly, Mickey Rooney, Laurence Olivier and Darryl Zanuck.

A list of Bautzer’s inamorata requires its own appendix at the end of the book, with asterisks to show which starlets he was engaged to, and which he married.

ABA Journal reporter Rachel Zahorsky speaks with Gladstone about Bautzer’s life and legal achievements, including his representation of famous recluse Howard Hughes.

ABA Journal Podcast

Building business as a new attorney (podcast with transcript)

Business development starts from the ground up, guests tell ABA Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, and associates have opportunities to make good first impressions today with the decision makers of tomorrow.

The Modern Law Library

‘Lawyer Bubble’ author discusses what the future looks like for today’s new lawyers

What does the future hold for today’s–and tomorrow’s–young lawyers? Steven Harper, author of the new book The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis speaks with ABA Journal reporter Rachel Zahorsky about his predictions, and how the glut of unemployed lawyers will affect the industry for years to come.

Related articles:

ABA Journal: “The Law School Bubble: How Long Will It Last if Law Grads Can’t Pay Bills?”


The Diane Rehm Show: “Steven Harper: ‘The Lawyer Bubble’”

New York Journal of Books: “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis”

The Lawyerist: “Book Review: The Lawyer Bubble—A Profession in Crisis”

The Brian Lehrer Show: “Too Many Lawyers?”

Businessweek: “Big Law Firms Are in ‘Crisis,’ Retired Lawyer Says”

ABA Journal Podcast

Road warriors’ tips on keeping up with your cases (podcast with transcript)

Representing multiple clients in various places, all on the same day?  Technology can make life easier, attorneys tell ABA Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward—just remember to bring multiple chargers (and never use a cellphone while driving).

The Modern Law Library

Want to protect individual freedom? Have a strong central government, says ‘Rule of the Clan’ author

We live in a society which values individual freedoms, but we come from a place which valued kinship ties above all else. Author Mark S. Weiner has studied ancient and modern-day clan societies. He’s observed that group responsibility, rather than individual responsibility, is the rule of law. In his new book The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals About the Future of Individual Freedom, he probes whether a lack of a strong central government inhibits personal freedoms–or insures it.

He speaks with ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles about what the political and social history of older clan societies in Europe can forecast about modern clan societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Reviews and related articles:

The Star-Ledger: “Rule of the clan a challenge to progress in the Middle East, North Africa”

Publisher’s Weekly: “The Rule of the Clan”

Legal History Blog: “Weiner’s ‘Rule of the Clan’”

Kirkus Reviews: “The Rule of the Clan”

ABA Journal Podcast

On-the-go lawyer’s guide to keeping fit and healthy (podcast with transcript)

Lawyers—are you really too busy to exercise?

Workouts and eating right require time commitments, exercise physiologists who coach executives tell ABA Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, but if you stick with them 90 percent of the time, you’ll feel much better.

The Modern Law Library

What if Crim Law was taught by cartoons?

When he started a Tumblr called The Illustrated Guide to Law, Nathaniel Burney’s intention was to teach high-school-aged kids a little more about the law through illustrated comics—for example, that an undercover officer does not have to identify himself or herself if you ask, “Are you a cop?” To his surprise, the greatest response came from law students, who loved his humorous take on explaining the basics of criminal law.

Read Chapter 15:
Self Defense

It’s not meant to be a replacement to law school, says Burney, but his book The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law is just the first in a planned series to cover all the courses of a 1L. He discusses how the project developed with ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles.

For a look at the next book, The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Procedure, you can watch its development at LawComic.net.


Boston Globe: “The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law”

Lawyerist: “The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law (Book Review)”

Associate’s Mind: “Review: The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law”


ABA Journal Podcast

How can you deal with pro se litigants and keep your cool? (Podcast with transcript)

Have you ever had a pro se litigant demand to conduct their cross-examination from an air mattress? With more and more cash-strapped litigants choosing self-representation, there’s little doubt lawyers will find themselves across the table or aisle from someone going pro se. Guests trade war stories and offer tips in an interview with ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward.

Law Scribbler Podcast

Is it worth the risk to hire lawyers from a failing firm?

Is your firm at risk if you hire laterals from a dissolving law firm?

As two New York federal district court rulings have disagreed on the “unfinished business” doctrine, which determines who can claim profits from a defunct law firm’s unfinished cases, the matter appears destined for the Second Circuit. However, 2012’s public implosion of Dewey & LeBoeuf showed that law firms who hire laterals from a dissolving firm shouldn’t wait for the courts to decide on issues that could end up in a lawsuit over fee ownership.

ABA Journal business of law reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky discusses with Beazley’s Brant Weidner and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Kevin S. Rosen the ways firms can address and mitigate the risks of hiring laterals from a dissolving firm.

The Modern Law Library

How to practice law in a ‘sharing economy’ (Podcast)

The world’s global and economical meltdowns have pushed more Americans to consider shared access to resources, such as housing and autos, over individual ownership. One example of this kind of venture is Zipcar, a car-sharing service which was acquired by Avis two weeks ago for $491.2 million, according to the Associated Press.

As the number of community cooperatives, social enterprises and local sustainable economies increases, so does the need for transactional lawyers to guide individuals through the legal gray areas encountered in a sharing economy.

In her new book, Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprise, And Local Sustainable Economies, author Janelle Orsi predicts this trend will continue to gain nationwide momentum and teaches lawyers how to build their practices around the sharing economy and attract and advise like-minded clients. She discusses this and other insights about her book with ABA Journal reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky.

Related articles:

Shareable: “The Top 10 New Books about the Sharing Economy”

Don De Leon of Grassroots Lawyers: “Book Review”

GroAction.com: “The new Sharing Economy: Is it legal?”

ABA Journal Podcast

Why Leading Civil Rights Lawyer Advised Susan Rice Against Law School (Podcast with Transcript)

Change is coming, albeit it slowly, 50 years after the March on Washington. Much has improved since the civil rights movement, but more is needed, lawyers involved in the 1960s struggles tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward.

The Modern Law Library

Is Batman a State Actor? ‘Law of Superheroes’ Authors Dish on Comics in the Courtroom

Corrected: Long have comic book fans debated the minutiae of the genre. Lawyers James Daily and Ryan Davidson, authors of the two-time Blawg 100 nominee Law and the Multiverse, have taken the discussion from the comic book store’s backroom to the courtroom.

In their new book, The Law of Superheroes, Davidson and Daily map out what the legal implications would be for various superhero powers and storylines. Is Batman a state actor under the Lugar test? Is the Incredible Hulk liable for property damage created when he “hulks out?” Would a mind-reading psychic like Professor X be allowed to introduce telepathic evidence in court? When Superman crushes a lump of coal into a diamond and gives it to Lana Lang, is that gift taxable? The authors join ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles to discuss those issues and share what comic aficionados’ responses to the book have been.


Wall Street Journal: “Invincible Heroes—Except in Court”

National Law Journal: “Superheroes and the law: How would Batman or Captain America fare in court?”

Popehat: “Better Call Galactus”

[Note on audio quality: Lee Rawles has a headcold and Ryan Davidson conducted the interview over Skype.]

Updated at 11:05 a.m. to correct that Lana Lang received the diamond from Superman.

ABA Journal Podcast

Prudent or Plentiful? How Law Firms Decide Year-End Associate Bonuses

Higher associate bonuses came from Cravath Swaine & Moore in 2012. Naturally other firms that see themselves—or want to see themselves—as competitors with the Wall Street firm followed suit.  For the most part, partners and associates are happy with the numbers, guests tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward. But there could be big changes in the future.

Related articles:

ABAJournal.com: “Cravath Boosts Year-End Bonuses, Will Pay $10K to $60K; Last Year’s Ceiling Was $37.5K”

ABAJournal.com: “Tis the Season: Skadden and Simpson Thacher Match Cravath Year-End Bonuses of $10K to $60K”

The Modern Law Library

‘Conspiracy of Silence’ Allowed Judges’ Kids-for-Cash Scandal to Occur, Says Author

For five years, two judges in Luzerne County, Penn., colluded with the owners of a juvenile detention facility to place children in detention for minor offenses in exchange for bribes amounting to almost $2.8 million. In Kids for Cash: Two Judges, Thousands of Children, and a $2.8 Million Kickback Scheme, William Ecenbarger tells the story of what happened in Luzerne County, and how a “conspiracy of silence” enabled the fraud to go on as long as it did. He speaks with ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles about the details of the case and how the scheme was finally brought to light.


Times Leader: “‘Kids for Cash’ story grabbed author”

Scranton Times-Tribune: “Book explores NEPA’s tolerance of corruption”

Citizens’ Voice: “New book reveals history behind Kids for Cash scheme”

Related articles:

ABA Journal: “Town Without Pity”

ABAJournal.com: “Former Pa. Judge Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison in Kids-for-Cash Scandal”

ABAJournal.com: “Top Pa. Court Vacates 6,000+ Juvenile Rulings By Ex-Luzerne County Judge”

ABA Journal Podcast

Scared to Expand? Experts Offer Hiring Advice in Troubled Times

Costs scare many sole practitioners or small firms from hiring additional lawyers, but if planned properly, experts tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, the extra help makes a practice much more profitable.

The Modern Law Library

Voter Fraud v. Voter Suppression: Author Explains That Neither Is Quite What We Think

Republicans say voter fraud is rampant. Democrats see voter ID laws threatening to disenfranchise large numbers of eligible voters.

In his book The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, author Rick Hasen says that the real danger is overblown political rhetoric that destroys the confidence the American people have in our electoral system’s legitimacy.

With ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles, he discusses our electoral system’s flaws, including partisan election officials, outdated equipment and the “Fraudulent Fraud Squad.” The election is in less than three weeks—could we be facing another Florida 2000 meltdown? Hasen takes a look back at how far we’ve come in a decade.

Related articles

NPR: “Richard Hasen: ‘The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown’”

New York Times: “A Détente Before the Election”

Wall Street Journal: “A Better Way To Cast a Ballot”

Washington Post: “As always, Florida in the middle of the voting wars”

The Oregonian: “‘The Voting Wars’ review: Timely examination of our botched balloting”

The Modern Law Library

‘Good Girls Revolt’ Author Discusses Groundbreaking 1970s Sex-Discrimination Suit Against Newsweek

“Women in Revolt,” a feature story about the nascent feminist movement, was the cover of Newsweek magazine on March 16, 1970. That same day, 46 female Newsweek employees announced that they were suing the magazine, then seen as an advocate of the civil rights movement, for sex discrimination. Lynn Povich, author of The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace, was there that day as one of the plaintiffs. She shares with ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles what led to the suit, the actions of the male bosses, and what effect the lawsuit had on the careers of the women involved.


The New York Times: “‘Good Girls’ Fight to Be Journalists”

NPR: “‘Good Girls Revolt’: Story Of A Newsroom Uprising”

San Francisco Chronicle: “Lynn Povich writes ‘Good Girls Revolt’”

Slate: “What’s Changed, and What Hasn’t, Since the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses”

Los Angeles Review of Books: “Power Suit: Dissent in the Newsroom”

Washingtonian: “Book Review: ‘The Good Girls Revolt’ by Lynn Povich”

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”

Read more ...