Created with Sketch.
ABA Journal: Modern Law Library
37 minutes | 7 days ago
Lawyer recounts the life and legacy of the mysterious man behind Pilates
In 1963, John Howard Steel was a 28-year-old attorney with a challenging litigation practice, an unhappy marriage and a stiff neck. At the urging of his mother, Steel decided to try physical therapy at a gym owned by an elderly German immigrant named Joseph Pilates. It was a decision that would change Steel's life. Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates & His Legacy is a memoir, history and biography that tells the story of Steel's intergenerational relationship with Joe Pilates and his wife Clara, and the transformational effect of Joe Pilates' workout routines. Steel estimates that at the time of Joe Pilates' death in 1967, his life's work–which Joe Pilates called "contrology"–was limited to a circle of some 50 insiders who attended his New York City gym. He had no idea that one day the exercises that had cured his stiff neck would become an international phenomenon. His main concern was purely selfish, he says: He wanted the gym to keep operating so that he could continue to practice the workout that had benefited him so much. And he was not alone; people who Joe Pilates had mentored would eventually open more studios that kept contrology–now known simply as Pilates–alive. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Steel tells the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles about the unlikely history of Pilates–both the exercise phenomenon and the man himself. While Joe Pilates was living, Steel never questioned the man directly about his murky origin story. In his research for Caged Lion, Steel would disprove some of the tales the man had spun and come up with his own theories about how Joe Pilates developed his now-famous techniques and equipment. He also shares the backstories of the legal battles over who could use the Pilates name and practices.
41 minutes | 22 days ago
Having a hard time connecting with your witness? Try these tips
You're a plaintiffs attorney with a promising tort case, but getting the narrative evidence you need from a particular witness is like squeezing blood from a stone. How can you get through to them and help ensure that your client gets the damages needed for long-term care? The real problem might be that your communication styles are fundamentally different, says author and trial consultant Katherine James. Properly preparing one's witness is key to a successful outcome, but lawyers can't assume that every witness has the same learning style that they do, James says. She provides tools for figuring out communication and learning styles in her book, Harvesting Witnesses' Stories: How to Get your Client the Second Best Life in the World by Maximizing Human Damages. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, James explains to the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles how she draws from her background in the theater to advise lawyers. James shares some of her war stories from her many years as a trial consultant and offers advice to listeners about how they can achieve the best outcome for their injured clients.
31 minutes | 2 months ago
Voting rights attorney tells a tale of dark money chicanery in 'The Coyotes of Carthage'
Steven Wright spent six years at the Department of Justice Voting Section witnessing all manner of election chicanery, voter suppression and dark money campaigns. So when he turned his efforts towards fiction, he decided to write what he knew. The result was The Coyotes of Carthage, a literary novel following Toussaint Andre Ross, a Black political consultant sent from his Washington, D.C., agency in disgrace to run a dark money campaign and convince a small town in South Carolina to sell their land to mining interests. The personal, moral and ethical choices that are made could save his career–or set him adrift entirely. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Wright tells the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles how he made the leap to creative writing, what it's been like to teach students at the University of Wisconsin Law School remotely, and the plans to turn The Coyotes of Carthage into a TV series.
22 minutes | 2 months ago
The case for separating Church and State
The separation of church and state is a concept that is often talked about, but there's hardly a national consensus on what that should look like–or whether it should exist at all. In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has been shifting towards an "accomodationist" interpretation, say the authors of The Religion Clauses: The Case for Separating Church and State. To Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman, this is a dangerous approach. In this episode of the Modern Law Library podcast, Chemerinsky and Gillman explain to the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles the difference between separationist and accomodationist views, the reason they felt that it was an opportune time to write this book, and what they hope to accomplish with its release. They also stress that a separationist view is not hostile towards religion; rather, it maintains a neutrality to not infringe on anyone's religious beliefs or prioritize one religion above another. (Note: This podcast was recorded before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)
48 minutes | 3 months ago
'Demagogue' tells the story of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's rise and fall
What made 1950s America vulnerable to a man like Joseph McCarthy, a junior senator from Wisconsin? In Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, Larry Tye takes an in-depth look at McCarthy's life. Tye tells the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles that his interest in McCarthy was piqued during his research for a previous book, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon. Ethel Kennedy's memories of McCarthy were clearly fond ones. She recollected a man who doted on children, gave her husband his first real job and "was just real fun." It was a far cry from the caricature of McCarthy that is more generally known. With access to military, medical and personal records that have never before been shared publicly, Tye was able to make a number of revelations. One of the surprises? McCarthy had told the truth about heroics during his military service in World War II, something that had been dismissed by many as another tall tale told by a fabulist. But Demagogue was not written solely to humanize a man who has become a cultural caricature. "I seek not to redeem the Wisconsin senator but rather to unmask fanatics and fabricators on all sides in a way that presents a truer, more fully dimensional portrait of a figure so central to the narrative of America," Tye writes.
36 minutes | 3 months ago
6 key numbers that can diagnose the financial health of your law practice
Do you know how many billable hours you can devote to a new case? Or whether you need to add another attorney to your firm? Can you afford to take time off from your practice, and if so, how much? If you're one of the lawyers who is kept up at night with worries about your firm's finances, you are not alone. Financial consultant Brooke Lively says that law school does not prepare most people for the business side of the practice of law. Through her work with attorneys and firms, she's identified six key numbers that can tell the health of a law practice and identify what next steps a firm needs to take. They are compiled in her book From Panic to Profit: How 6 Key Numbers Can Make a 6 Figure Difference in Your Law Firm, and she walks the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles through all six.
30 minutes | 4 months ago
Convicted of a crime that never occurred? It happens all too often, law prof says
We are used to hearing about wrongful convictions where a murderer walked free because an innocent person was misidentified. But when Montclair State University professor Jessica Henry was researching material for her course on wrongful convictions, she discovered that in one-third of all known exonerations, the conviction was wrongful because there had not even been a crime. This discovery paved the way for her new book, Smoke But No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes that Never Happened. In it, Henry recounts stories of disappearances deemed murders until the living "victim" was discovered; natural deaths deemed suspicious because of faulty forensic science; and fabricated accusations that sent innocent people to jail. More importantly, Henry identifies the lapses at every stage of the justice system that can allow for these injustices to occur: from dishonest police officers to careless forensic labs, over-zealous prosecutors, over-worked defense attorneys, and overly permissive and under-informed judges. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Henry speaks with the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles about some of the strange and heart-rending stories she uncovered and how the legal community can work towards eliminating such injustices.
48 minutes | 4 months ago
How well-meaning social reforms created 'Prison by Any Other Name'
At a time when the country is discussing how the justice system and policing can be reformed, it's critical that we avoid adopting reforms that have damaging consequences. In Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms, authors Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law outline the way that well-meaning movements ended up funneling people into environments where they faced even more scrutiny and punitive measures. In this episode, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles discusses with Schenwar and Law examples such as the school-to-prison pipeline; court-ordered drug treatment programs with no proof of success; location-monitoring devices that are expensive and set probationers up to fail; and the invasiveness of family social services in an era of mandated reporting.
60 minutes | 5 months ago
How feminism worsened mass incarceration–and how it can stop
As a law professor at the University of Colorado Law School, Aya Gruber has seen her Millennial students wrestle with a contradiction that she has long struggled with herself. "On one side of the scale is a Black Lives Matter-informed belief that policing, prosecution and incarceration are racist, unjust, and too widespread," writes Gruber in her new book, The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women's Liberation in Mass Incarceration. "This side abhors the practice of putting human bodies in cages. On the other is a #MeToo-informed preoccupation with men's out-of-control sexuality and abuse of power. This side wants to get tough." In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Gruber shares examples of the unintended consequences of feminist criminal law reforms; discusses her personal experience as a public defender; and helps ABA Journal host Lee Rawles make peace with her interest in true crime podcasts. Gruber also describes how feminists can rethink gender justice advocacy without contributing to a discriminatory, carceral system. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
26 minutes | 5 months ago
What does police abolition look like?
Recent protests over police brutality have raised the volume on calls to defund the police. But while police abolition may be new to some, it's a concept that has been studied and discussed for decades. In his 2017 book, The End of Policing, Alex S. Vitale explains the troubling origins of modern policing, why commonly suggested reforms like training and increased diversity have not been successful, and how slashing social services has placed police officers in situations they are unequipped to deal with. In this episode, Vitale also shares with the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles how he explains the issue to sceptics, and ways that lawyers can help rethink the ways that the criminal justice system re-enforces inequality. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
47 minutes | 6 months ago
What's lost when jury trials vanish?
Thirty years ago, between 9% to 10% of federal criminal cases actually went to trial before a jury. That may not seem like a large percentage, but by 2018, only 2% of defendants received a jury trial. To Robert Katzberg, this represents a three-fold crisis. First, citizens are unable to participate and observe the judicial system through jury service. Second, trial attorneys are unable to hone their skills in front of a jury. Third, defendants are thus deprived of experienced counsel. It inspired Katzberg to write The Vanishing Trial: The Era of Courtroom Performers and the Perils of Its Passing. Part memoir, part practical advice for litigators and part warning to the public, the book shares stories from Katzberg's four decades of litigation experience in New York City and around the country. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, he explains to the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles why he chose to praise and criticize people by name, and why jury duty is such a valuable experience. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
31 minutes | 6 months ago
Meet 9 American women shortlisted for the U.S. Supreme Court before Sandra Day O'Connor
As early as the 1930s, presidents were considering putting the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. So who were these other candidates on the shortlist, and why did it take until 1981 for Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice? In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles talks with Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson about their decade-long research project into the careers and personal lives of nine other women who could have been elevated to the Supreme Court. In Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court, Jefferson and Johnson also look at the factors that helped those nine succeed as women in the law, the institutional powers that stood in the way of their nominations, and the forces that eventually broke down the court's gender barrier. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
37 minutes | 7 months ago
Insider's guide to succeeding in law school
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson says that near the end of every school year, he has law students come into his office, "usually in tears." They tell the professor that if they'd only known at the start of the year what they'd figured out by the end of the year, they'd be so much father ahead. During his time as a non-traditional law student, Jonathan Yusef Newton found himself coaching and consoling many of his peers, trying to share with them what he'd learned about the law school system. Both Ferguson and Newton independently thought that there should be a guide to law school to explain these unwritten rules–and after a discussion in Ferguson's office, they realized they could collaborate on just such a project, combining the wisdom of the law professor and the recent law grad. The Law of Law School: The Essential Guide for First-Year Law Students was the result. In this episode, they discuss the book with the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles, and share their thoughts on how distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the experience of law school. Ferguson, an expert on the use of data and electronic surveillance by law enforcement, and Newton, a former police officer, also share their thoughts and concerns about the use of surveillance technology to enforce public health. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
29 minutes | 7 months ago
Journalist investigating wrongful convictions turns lens on white-collar criminal case
When Michael Segal first approached longtime Chicago journalist Maurice Possley about writing about his case, Possley was not interested. Segal's 2002 arrest and subsequent federal trial had been big news in the city, and Segal had been accused of the looting about $30 million from his Chicago company, Near North Insurance Brokerage. Possley had won the Pulitzer Prize for previous stories about wrongful convictions, but never about someone of Segal's profile: a wealthy, powerful and educated owner of the fifth largest insurance brokerage in the country. But the more Possley looked into the case, the more convinced he became that prosecutorial misconduct and vengeful former employees had unjustly cost the Segal family their company, some 1,000 employees their jobs, and Segal himself eight years in prison–for a crime that Possley doesn't believe was ever a crime in the first place. In Conviction at Any Cost: Prosecutorial Misconduct and the Pursuit of Michael Segal, Possely delves into the motives of the various players in the case, and lays out irregularities in the way Segal was investigated and prosecuted. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Possley speaks with the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles about his investigation, his writing partnership with Segal, some of the more surprising turns his research took, and how Chicago city politics impacted the case. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
23 minutes | 8 months ago
Develop your horse sense with equine law
Julie Fershtman has developed a niche practice helping people who love horses deal with the particular joys and challenges that come with equine businesses. She is one of the nation's best-known lawyers serving many facets of the horse industry. Fershtman is the author of Equine Law and Horse Sense, produced with ABA Publishing. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Fershtman introduces ABA Publishing’s Ashley Alfirevic to the world of horse sense, the dark underbelly of the Kentucky Derby and the liabilities of pony rides. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
26 minutes | 8 months ago
What should you read about COVID-19? We asked an epidemiologist
With a barrage of information and misinformation about COVID-19 coming our way, it can be hard to evaluate what sources are trustworthy, and where to go for reliable medical news. So for this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles called her friend Mary Lancaster, an epidemiologist for the federal government. They discuss how to evaluate social media claims, the best books and podcasts for people who want to know more about infectious diseases–and their recommendations on good fiction reads for people who need to take a break from the coronavirus news. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
37 minutes | 9 months ago
How to achieve vocal power in and out of the courtroom
Public speaking is a crucial part of working as an attorney. It is especially important for female attorneys who are claiming their vocal authority in speaking roles in courts. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, ABA Publishing’s Olivia Aguilar speaks with Rena Cook, co-author of Her Voice in Law: Vocal Power and Situational Command for the Female Attorney, about various aspects of voice and presentation; power-stealing vocal traits; and why understanding your voice is an important first step to building confidence and strengthening your success. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
34 minutes | 9 months ago
Two families connected by LA riots collide in 'Your House Will Pay
The riots in South Los Angeles in 1992 may be nearly three decades old, but in the present day, two families in the novel Your House Will Pay will find that the events from that time are far from over. Shawn Matthews is a former gang member and ex-prisoner in his forties, trying to raise a family and help his cousin acclimate after a decade in prison. Grace Park is a 28-year-old pharmacist who lives at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, trying to understand the reasons behind her older sister's estrangement with the family. These two main characters have never met, but over the course of the book the reader comes to understand the web of connections between them. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles speaks with Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay, about the real-life incidents that provided the inspiration for her novel. They also discuss why Cha decided to go to law school–and why she decided to be a writer instead of a practicing attorney. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
38 minutes | 10 months ago
How safe is your right to vote?
The story of voting rights in the United States is not just one of expansion; there have been periods (such as after Reconstruction) where voting rights that had once been exercised were blocked off, extinguished and suppressed. Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America tells the story of historical efforts of voter suppression and the modern-day dangers that face voters now. In this new episode of the Modern Law Library, Gilda R. Daniels speaks with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
29 minutes | 10 months ago
The court of public opinion: Why litigation PR is a critical component of a case
A lawyer’s duties do not begin and end at the courtroom door. They extend beyond to the proverbial court of public opinion. As both an attorney and a public relations consultant, author James F. Haggerty has shared how to properly handle the media aspects of litigation in the third edition of his book, In the Court of Public Opinion: Winning Strategies for Litigation Communications. In this new episode of the Modern Law Library, Haggerty speaks with Olivia Aguilar of ABA Publishing. Special thanks to our sponsor, Headnote.
Terms of Service
© Stitcher 2020