217 episodes

Listen to the ABA Journal Podcast for analysis and discussion of the latest legal issues and trends the first Monday of each month. Also hear discussions with authors for The Modern Law Library books podcast series.

ABA Journal: Modern Law Library Legal Talk Network

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 34 Ratings

Listen to the ABA Journal Podcast for analysis and discussion of the latest legal issues and trends the first Monday of each month. Also hear discussions with authors for The Modern Law Library books podcast series.

    How to strike up conversations that build your book of business

    How to strike up conversations that build your book of business

    Networking is something that comes naturally to some people. But if the idea of talking to strangers makes you break out into a cold sweat, there’s help and hope, says Deb Feder, author of the book After Hello: How to Build a Book of Business, One Conversation at a Time.
    “You have picked a profession that is never finished meeting people,” Feder writes of lawyers. A practicing lawyer for many years, Feder now works as a business development coach.
    In this episode of The Modern Law Library, Feder explains to the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles that her goal is to help attorneys have “curious, confident conversations.” They discuss conversation stoppers v. conversation starters; how not to panic when targeting the “cool client”; and how young attorneys can get past “the kids table.”
    Lining up a roster of ideal clients doesn’t start at cocktail party mingling, Feder warns. A key to building relationships with the clients you actually want to work with lies in identifying what legal work you’re looking to do, and that requires some inner work. It also involves owning your value, Feder says, and she shares a story about how a partner in her firm impressed that lesson on her when she was a young attorney.
    In After Hello, she says she meets people who feel too overwhelmed by keeping up with their legal work and personal lives to contemplate business development. “How do you balance the chaos of the day and allow technology to be the support and solution, rather than part of the challenge; how do you let it serve, not destroy you?” Feder asks. She lays out strategies to organize and cope, including how to stop letting your email inbox overwhelm you.
    Feder and Rawles also discuss After Hello’s “30 Conversations in 30 Days Challenge” and the most common mistakes Feder sees lawyers making on LinkedIn."

    • 48 min
    When states’ rights and healthcare access clash

    When states’ rights and healthcare access clash

    From COVID-19 response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the results of 50 states having individual approaches to public health, medical outcomes and healthcare access raise troubling questions. A husband-and-wife team of University of Utah professors dig into the ethics of the American healthcare system in States of Health: The Ethics and Consequences of Policy Variation in a Federal System.
    Leslie P. Francis is a professor of law and philosophy with a background in bioethics, and John G. Francis is a professor of political science with a focus on European comparative politics, federalism and comparative regulatory policy. The spouses had partnered on three previous books together. When looking for their next project, they decided to examine the consequences of states opting out of Medicaid expansion and what power federalism could have in protecting American citizens’ health. But soon more news events and landmark cases expanded their focus.
    The result is States of Health. The book examines the tensions between state and federal powers in a number of areas, including reproductive rights; gender-affirming care; medical marijuana; public health and pandemics; right-to-try laws; patient confidentiality; and care quality and life expectancies.
    In this episode of The Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles speaks with the Francises about their collaborative writing process, and what conclusions they have drawn about the benefits of federalism and states’ rights.
    The Francises argue that since it is the federal government that determines citizenship and census decisions, state differences go too far when they make “basic decisions about who counts at all, and what it means to count.” They add, “Movement is a critical aspect of who counts: the ability to come and go, or to leave one state more permanently for another.” The Francises argue that freedom of movement for the purpose of medical treatment is crucial for patients, but also point out when states control licensure for medical providers, that too can restrict freedom of movement.
    The value of 50 individual laboratories of democracy can be appealing to a scientific mind. But at what point can it be argued in the healthcare space that a federal government needs to step in, if the outcomes in some of those laboratories are decreased lifespans and higher mortality?

    • 49 min
    'In the Shadow of Liberty' shines light on American immigration history

    'In the Shadow of Liberty' shines light on American immigration history

    When the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the country's borders was announced, opposition from the public and the legal community was swift. The outcry and judicial decisions led to a reversal of the administration's stated policy. But detention and family separation have a long history in this country, history professor Ana Raquel Minian says.
    Minian, who immigrated from Mexico to the United States right before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has made an academic career studying immigration, incarceration and detention. As a young adult, Minian followed the news of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base being used to detain people who might be connected to those attacks. But in researching their new book, In the Shadow of Liberty: The Invisible History of Immigrant Detention in the United States, Minian discovered the base was first used as a detention center under President George H.W. Bush to hold Haitian refugees.
    Minian uses the personal experiences of four immigrants to walk readers through the history of immigrant detention in the United States: Fu Chi Hao, a Chinese Christian attempting to escape the Boxer Rebellion in 1901; Holocaust survivor Ellen Knauff, a war bride of an American GI who arrived at Ellis Island in 1948; Gerardo Mansur, a Cuban who joined the Mariel boat lift in 1979; and Fernando Arredondo, a Guatamalan asylum seeker who was separated from his daughter by border officials in 2018.
     In this episode of The Modern Law Library, Minian shares details of these stories with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles. They also discuss the shifting motivations behind changes in the immigration system, parole versus detention, and how attorneys can help immigrants currently in detention.

    • 53 min
    Users keepers: Pirates, zombies and adverse possession

    Users keepers: Pirates, zombies and adverse possession

    “Trespassing plus time equals adverse possession,” Paul Golden writes in his new book, Litigating Adverse Possession Cases: Pirates v. Zombies. When someone has occupied or used a piece of property as though they own it for long enough, a court could determine that they are the rightful owner—regardless of what the paperwork says. It’s a concept more popularly discussed as squatter’s rights.
    In this episode of The Modern Law Library, Golden speaks with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles about the ancient concepts underlying modern adverse possession law; some quirky state laws; and why societies would allow land to be transferred in this way. They also discuss how the plain meaning of terms like “hostile” are changed when used in adverse possession cases, and Rawles raises a hypothetical—taken from real life—of a neighbor’s crooked fence.
    During Golden’s first appearance on The Modern Law Library, he explained how the lack of a written contract could be navigated by a savvy lawyer. In his new book, Golden guides attorneys and their clients through the finer points of arguing for and against adverse possession claims. He shares some of the errors he’s seen pop up in adverse possession cases, and offers advice for how to avoid common pitfalls.
    Modern Law Library listeners have been given a promotional discount code for Litigating Adverse Possession Cases: Pirates v. Zombies through May 10, 2024. For 20% off, go to the ABA’s online shop and enter LAPC2024 at checkout.

    • 32 min
    James Patterson dishes on his new legal thriller, ‘The #1 Lawyer’

    James Patterson dishes on his new legal thriller, ‘The #1 Lawyer’

    James Patterson has written bestsellers in many genres. But as he tells the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles in this episode of The Modern Law Library, he has always been fascinated by legal thrillers, courtroom dramas and crime novels. He even considered becoming a lawyer, before his literary career took off.
    In his newest release, The #1 Lawyer, James Patterson partnered with co-author Nancy Allen to tell the story of Stafford Lee Penney, a criminal defense attorney in Biloxi, Mississippi, who’s never lost a case. But after handing a high-profile murder trial involving the son of a mobster, Penney finds himself on the other side of the bench as a defendant himself, charged with murdering his own wife.
    Patterson has written and co-written more than 300 books, including bestselling series like Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Maximum Ride. He had some writing tips for attorneys, particularly on how to work collaboratively. As Patterson tells listeners in the podcast, he is open about working with other writers on many of his books, and he finds tools like outlining absolutely essential. He also shares with Rawles how he thinks co-writers should handle interpersonal communication while working together.
    Patterson says one of the major benefits of working with co-authors is pulling from their experiences to make his books more accurate and true to life. When he wrote The President is Missing with Bill Clinton, the former president could tell Patterson the inside details of how a Secret Service detail worked. When he wrote Run, Rose, Run with Dolly Parton, she walked him through the production cycle for a song.
    Allen, who conducted more than 30 jury trials as a prosecutor in Missouri and taught law for 15 years at Missouri State University, contributed her firsthand courtroom experience to The #1 Lawyer. Patterson says they worked to make everything as accurate as possible—while still allowing for a good story. It’s the pair’s second book together, following a previous standalone novel, Juror #3.
    In this episode of The Modern Law Library, Patterson shares some of his favorite law-related pop culture picks; news about new and ongoing projects; and describes a very special birthday event with Dolly Parton. He also discusses how his children’s series Maximum Ride got caught up in Florida book bans in 2023. For fans of Patterson’s breakout success, the Alex Cross series launched in 1993 with Along Came a Spider, the author shares updates about what’s next for the intrepid detective—including details about the upcoming Amazon Prime TV series Cross, starring Aldis Hodge.

    • 37 min
    'When Rape Goes Viral' looks at why cases like Steubenville happen

    'When Rape Goes Viral' looks at why cases like Steubenville happen

    Three high-profile cases of sexual assault in 2012 followed a basic pattern: A teenage girl was sexually assaulted at a house party by one or more teenage boys while she was incapacitated by alcohol. The attacks were recorded and the photos, videos and stories were shared on social media or via texts. The photos and videos were used to ridicule the victims among their peers. Those texts and posts later became evidence in criminal cases. These incidents took place in Steubenville, Ohio; Maryville, Missouri; and Saratoga, California, and sparked national conversations about youth, technology and sexual assault in 2013.
    “The question gnawing at everyone, myself included, was: What were these kids thinking?” writes Anna Gjika, a sociology professor who studies crime and gender issues. More than 10 years later, Gjika has attempted to answer that question in her new book, When Rape Goes Viral: Youth and Sexual Assault in the Digital Age. She took a close look at the three attacks in 2012, but identifies a number of similar instances that have happened more recently.
    One of the elements the public found shocking about the cases was how many bystanders filmed or photographed the unconscious girls or the sexual assaults as they were occurring, without intervening. In talking to people involved in the cases and to teens in general as part of her research, Gjika found that the young people did not think of their social media as archival so much as “of the moment.” They filmed and posted what was happening around themselves because they were used to doing that. “Sharing an experience has become an integral part of the experience,” Gjika writes.
    In this episode of The Modern Law Library, Gjika and the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles discuss her research into generational attitudes towards social media and sexual assault; the promises and pitfalls of digital evidence in sexual assault cases; how social media can be empowering or degrading for survivors; the social responsibility held by the legal community and the tech industry; and what interventions could be effective to prevent such assaults from taking place.
    Digital evidence like cellphone videos and texts can be extremely beneficial to prosecutors looking to prove incidents of sexual assault, particularly when victims are unable to recount their experience because they were unconscious or impaired during the attacks. But Gjika explains that this kind of evidence is not uncomplicated. The way juries perceive the evidence will still be filtered through societal expectations and prejudices. Defense attorneys do not have the same access to digital evidence from tech companies, and usually lack capacity to process immense amounts of data. The expertise, willingness and resources of police departments and prosecutors’ offices to seek out this evidence also vary widely. And the victims can be further traumatized by the use in court of images and video of their assaults, and the knowledge that the images continue to be disseminated on the internet.
    In closing, Rawles and Gjika discuss what actions can be taken by schools, the legal community and the tech industry to prevent such attacks or to assist victims whose assaults have been digitally documented. Gjika believes educational programs and trainings for teens need to focus on peer groups and norms, rather than emphasizing individual responsibility, and “must be grounded within adolescents’ lived experiences, rather than on adult fears and anxieties.” She also argues that adults as well as teens would benefit from “ethical digital citizenship initiatives,” where concepts like privacy and online decision-making could be discussed. And she suggests the creation of government-funded organizations to assist survivors with removing digital content from the internet.

    • 1 hr 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

Sully99 ,

Valuable interviews

Lee Rawles is great. Well prepared host and well arranged programs.

Yeits ,

Cogent and thoughtful with a great host

Superb podcast. Host Lee Rawles is whip-smart and a great interviewer. Glad to have this in the rotation.

JRScrapple ,


The episode with Mary the epidemiologist was really well done. Warm and human and informative. Lots of good science and fiction recommendations. Thanks for this.

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