ABA Journal

Features

709 ABA Journal Features articles.

2023 Legal Rebels: Charging Forward

This year, for the first time in a while, things have started to feel somewhat normal again. That being said, when it comes to Legal Rebels, what is considered “normal” or “status quo” has never been of much concern. This year’s class is no different.

Aftershocks: Navigating the morass of state abortion laws post-Roe

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly 3 million women in the U.S. have experienced a rape-related pregnancy. Still, abortion opponents are making it increasingly difficult for women who are victimized by rape or incest and who may become pregnant as a result to access the medical care they need, when they need it.

Slow Going: Despite diversity gains, some law firm leaders bemoan lack of progress

A series of recent studies have revealed the lack of diversity in law firm partnerships—even after the May 2020 murder of George Floyd spurred the profession to respond to calls for racial justice by launching in-house diversity programs and hiring more chief diversity officers.

Lawyers are lighting up the budding cannabis industry

Justice Cannabis Co. is one of the biggest of the little guys in the rough-and-tumble, fast-paced and legally treacherous world of marijuana growing and selling.

Examining the Bar

The profession often has a hard time with change, and some have said there’s a sense that keeping a bar exam will likely assure people in power that wealthy clients won’t be harmed by admissions alternatives. Nevertheless, lawyers interviewed by the ABA Journal say it’s important that states are even considering changes at all.

Runaway Sentences

Standing in front of a judge, tears in his eyes, Rogel Aguilera-Mederos wanted to say something before being sentenced for killing four people and injuring six others after he lost control of his runaway truck on a Colorado highway. At 26 years old, he was facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

Tulsa Reckoning

With the clock ticking, the stakes are high. This case could be the “last best hope” for the survivors to see some form of justice before they die. “This massacre impacted Black people around this nation. This is a win that we need as a people.”

Forced Labor?

For decades, activists have been challenging what has become a widespread policy of paying little to nothing for work done by immigrant detainees. The October 2021 verdict in Nwauzor v. the GEO Group has been hailed as not just a success story but also a potential game changer for a practice advocates say violates civil rights.

Psychedelic Rx: Legal battles aim to expand patients’ access to psilocybin and other hallucinogens

While Indigenous communities have long integrated plant-based psychedelics such as peyote and ayahuasca into their spiritual practices, interest in using both natural and synthetic hallucinogenic substances to alleviate depression and anxiety as well as anorexia, substance use disorder and other mental health conditions has increased in recent decades.

Legal Sleaze: Are pop culture’s unethical, incompetent, crooked lawyers examples of art imitating life?

When it comes to pop culture, it can be good to be bad. That’s especially true for lawyers in movies, television shows, books and plays. Pop culture is full of tropes, archetypes and caricatures that show lawyers in the worst possible light.

America’s Lost Children

When researchers began the painstaking work of identifying Indigenous children who died at the Genoa U.S. Indian Industrial School in Nebraska, they kept making chilling discoveries.

Prosecutors are cracking down on online romance scams

In 2020 and 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice website posted at least 10 news releases about separate indictments involving romance scams. In 2021, people reported losing a total of $547 million to the crimes, and that was an 80% increase over 2020. The numbers could be greater than that because many romance scams go unreported. Trying to avoid judgment from peers is one reason, and blackmail from scammers is another.

Food Fight: Do lawsuits challenging product labels benefit consumers?

Legal actions against food and beverage companies over the wording on their labels have exploded in recent years, from just 19 class action lawsuits in 2008 to a record 325 cases filed last year. And lawsuits over whether a “foot-long” sandwich is really 12 inches or whether the unfilled space in a food package is cheating consumers have also grabbed headlines over the years.

Pen Pals

Matthew Strugar received the first mysterious postcard in August 2018. On one side, two black-and-white patterned orcas leapt into the air from their large tank of turquoise water at SeaWorld. The handwritten plea on the back of the postcard was signed, “Sincerely, Your imprisoned orca clients.” Most lawyers would have found the note odd, but for Strugar, it struck a familiar chord.

Judging Jurisdiction

In July 2020 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch read the majority opinion in McGirt v. Oklahoma, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Cozzoni sprang into action. In that moment, she knew what would happen next: Scores of major crime cases would be landing in her federal court district in Tulsa, requiring rapid adjustments and recalibration.

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