ABA Journal

Features

685 ABA Journal Features articles.

Troubling Treatment: Efforts are underway to reform teen behavioral programs

At age 15, Chelsea Filer tried to run away and live with her grandparents. A couple of weeks later, two large men, who worked with a transport company hired by her mother, woke her up in the middle of the night. The men took her across the border to a private residential school and treatment center in Mexico. “When children are legally kidnapped and trafficked across state or border lines, they lose their rights and any protections from the jurisdiction of their home state,” says Filer, who is now a youth rights advocate in Sacramento, California.

Law & Order’s prime-time formula shaped a generation’s understanding of the legal system

When it comes to formulas, arguably only Coca-Cola’s has been more successful. During its original broadcast run from 1990 until 2010, Law & Order became a cultural phenomenon. It won multiple awards, including the Emmy for best drama series in 1997, and it was a top-10 show at its peak of popularity in the early 2000s. With an emphasis on procedure as the primary plot device and less reliance on exploring characters’ personal lives or relationships, the success of the show spawned numerous similar shows and spin-offs while inspiring countless fans to go to law school or pursue careers in law enforcement.

How pandemic practice left lawyer-moms on the verge

As the world ground to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic and parents scrambled for solutions, an uncomfortable truth emerged: Women are America’s default social safety net. It’s a regressive construct that has entrapped and hobbled working mothers across the spectrum—including lawyer-moms. The pandemic simply tightened the screws.

More police departments are training officers in de-escalation techniques, but does it work?

Could police have avoided killing—whether the victims were armed or not? Advocates of de-escalation believe that many such deaths can be prevented. Yet what de-escalation means and how effective it is remain subject to debate.

Do varying legal definitions of race leave room for abuse?

The federal government does not have precise legal definitions of what it means to be a member of a particular race. And with no centralized federal guidance, federal and state agencies have pieced together definitions, applying them in disparate settings. In recent years, these inconsistent definitions have been criticized for allowing undeserving people to fit themselves into racial categories to benefit from contracts, jobs or university admissions slots intended for racial or ethnic minorities.

How one lawyer is trying to solve a John Wayne Gacy murder mystery

Steven Becker wasn’t sure what he’d see at his first exhumation. But here he was, on Sept. 5, 2012, at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois, on behalf of his client, who insisted that the body in the coffin was not—despite what police said—her son.

Police are often first responders to mental health crises, but tragedies are prompting change

Cases such as Quintonio LeGrier’s have prompted demands around the country to reform how police respond to people in mental health crises, a movement that advocates believe can help avert such deadly confrontations.

Lawyers find their skill sets make them ideal candidates for college presidencies

A rapidly growing number of lawyers have been chosen to lead higher education institutions during an era when experts say the job has become much more difficult because of the ever-increasing regulatory demands and crises presidents must confront.

50 startup tips to get your practice off the ground

For many, being your own boss is the ultimate dream. But the idea of hanging up your own shingle can be scary and confusing, while others might not know where to start. The ABA Journal asked lawyers, legal professionals, marketers, consultants and other experts what to keep in mind when starting your own practice.

Judges differ on when it’s safe to hold in-person jury trials

Despite reports from federal courts of in-person jury trials being held safely, many judges across the country are still deliberating whether to hold in-person jury trials at all.

How Jim Crow-era laws still tear families from their homes

Heirs’ property is considered a vestige of the Jim Crow South, where unsophisticated property owners without the means or ability to hire a lawyer—or with a justifiable distrust of the courts—divvied up their assets informally, creating “interests” for descendants.

Courts attempt to balance innovation with access in remote proceedings

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the judiciary was slow to innovate and resistant to virtual proceedings. Now courts are using every tool at their disposal, balancing safety with the need to keep the wheels of justice spinning.

2021 Legal Rebels: Meet 10 legal professionals who are courting change

For this year’s class of Legal Rebels, the ABA Journal and the ABA Center for Innovation have chosen to highlight judges, lawyers and legal professionals who have helped bring about changes to the judicial system.

How can aging judges know when it’s time to hang up the robe?

Lawyers, law professors and even members of the judiciary voice concerns that judges are serving too much time on the bench without ensuring their cognitive skills stay sharp. They have called for mandatory retirement and cognitive testing as well as a more consistent approach to addressing cognitive decline. But members of the legal community who have experience with neuroscience argue that the question of when a judge should step down is complex.

Lawyers involved in the gun debate are primed for the Supreme Court to take the next big case

As fatal police shootings and gun violence ravage Black communities, and mass shootings and active shooter drills have become ingrained in the American experience, local and state governments have countered the threat by creating more gun laws. As gun rights groups have fought those laws in the courts, it’s become a common refrain that trial judges are flouting the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller and undermining Second Amendment rights.

Read more ...