The Modern Law Library


Merriam-Webster editor shares the ‘Secret Life of Dictionaries’ (podcast)

What do lawyers and lexicographers have in common? The main job of both is to determine the meaning of words.

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles talks with Kory Stamper about her work as a lexicographer and editor for Merriam-Webster; her new book, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries; and her position as chief defender of the word "irregardless."

Meet this year’s finalists for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (podcast)

In this special mega-episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles speaks with all three finalists for this year's Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction about their novels, careers—and the first time they remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird.

How government actions, not personal choices, created segregated neighborhoods (podcast)

Richard Rothstein spent years studying why schools remained de facto segregated after Brown v. Board of Education. He came to believe that the problem of segregated schools could not be solved until the problem of segregated neighborhoods was addressed—and that neighborhoods were de jure segregated, not de facto.

David Grann uncovers conspiracy behind 1920s murders of members of oil-rich Osage Nation (podcast)

Although the Osage Nation had been forced from their ancestral lands by the U.S. government, through shrewd and careful bargaining, they retained the mineral rights to one of the richest oil fields in the world: Osage County, Oklahoma.

But the wealth of the Osage Nation, instead of insuring the prosperity and safety of the tribe, made its members targets for what was later known as the Reign of Terror. The task of solving dozens of murders fell in the 1920s to the newly formed FBI and its young director, J. Edgar Hoover.

How a Chinese-American family challenged school segregation in 1920s Mississippi (podcast)

Book cover

Almost 30 years before Linda Brown and her parents took on the Topeka Board of Education in Brown v. Board of

Should bystanders have a legal duty to intervene? Holocaust scholar weighs in (podcast)

If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should intervention be a legal obligation? Or is moral responsibility enough?

Is it time to rethink solitary confinement? (podcast)

In the 1960s and 1970s, a series of deadly prison riots convinced corrections officials that long-term solitary confinement was the only solution to control the “worst of the worst.” Supermax…

Book Review: ‘Baby You’re a Rich Man’

Being the pioneers of something almost automatically means not everything will be done to the standards you’ve yet to create. So, it should come as no surprise the now-legendary Beatles…

In novel ‘Al-Tounsi,’ author looks at US Supreme Court through a human lens (podcast)

In his debut novel Al-Tounsi, critically acclaimed Canadian-American author and playwright Anton Piatigorsky tells the behind-the-scenes story of U.S. Supreme Court justices as they consider a landmark case involving the rights of detainees held in a Guantanamo Bay-like overseas military base. It explores how the personal lives, career rivalries, and political sympathies of these legal titans blend with their philosophies to create the most important legal decisions of our time.

What can neuroscience tell us about crime? (podcast)

Paul Goldstein skewers law school politics in new satirical novel ‘Legal Asylum’ (podcast)

Alberto Gonzales reflects back on Bush administration and gives his advice for Trump staff (podcast)

The Hon. Alberto R. Gonzales rose from humble beginnings in Humble, Texas, to some of the highest legal positions in the country as White House counsel and U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Was this lawyer-turned-WWII-spy the basis for James Bond? (podcast)

In a different time, Dusko Popov might have enjoyed the life of a Serbian playboy without the interruption of espionage, subterfuge and violence.

But from the early days of World…

What can past presidential history teach us about today? (podcast)

The law is not Dallas attorney Talmage Boston's only love. He's had a fascination with presidential history since he was 7 years old.

John Lennon’s lawyer explains how musician’s deportation case changed immigration law (podcast)

When immigration attorney Leon Wildes got a call from an old law school classmate in January 1972 about representing a musician and his wife who were facing deportation, their names didn't ring a bell.

A seismic shift in how the US wages war, and what it means for the American public (podcast)

What is war? Is it a state that is entirely distinct from peace? Has it changed over the years to become something else? In this episode of the Modern Law…

Freedom isn’t the end of the story for exonerees (podcast)

When we hear about the wrongfully convicted, media coverage usually ends with the person being released from prison or reaching a large settlement with the state. But for the exonerated,…

How a 1980s lynching case helped bring down the Klan (podcast)

On the morning of March 21, 1981, the body of 19-year-old Michael Donald was found hanging from a tree in Mobile, Alabama. The years that followed saw the conviction of…

Book Review: ‘Tom & Lucky (And George & Cokey Flo)’

In time for the 80th anniversary of one of the most sensational trials in U.S. history, The People v. Charles Luciano, comes a novel so deeply rooted in fact its…

In ‘The Last Good Girl,’ Allison Leotta tackles the fraught subject of campus rape (podcast)

Author Allison Leotta has used her 12 years of experience as a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington, D.C., to bring real-world issues into her fiction. Leotta has written five novels…

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