CLE Interviews with the Titans of Law (IL Podcast)

Illinois MCLE Podcast Sale (30hrs)

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Members can enjoy MCLE Podcast access for one year from signup – now 30% off (regularly $125). The TalksOnLaw Illinois MCLE Podcast includes all 30 required CLE hours including 6 hours of professional responsibility. New episodes are added regularly.


The TalksOnLaw MCLE Podcast offers interactive CLE/MCLE credit to satisfy all the needs of Illinois-admited attorneys – engaging podcast interviews with the titans of law


102
God & Football after Bremerton

In the religious freedom case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022), the Supreme Court weighed in on the role of God in football in American public schools. Professor Sarah Barringer Gordon (UPenn Law) explains the case, its impact on the First Amendment's Establishment Clause separating church and state, and the unusual history of religion and football at the Supreme Court.

In Bremerton, the Court decided whether a public school football coach named Joseph Kennedy violated the Establishment Clause by prominently praying at midfield after games. The Court found in favor of the coach and determined that his actions were protected by the Free Speech and Free Exercise protections of the First Amendment.  Finally, Prof. Gordon explains the historical ebb and flow of Establishment Clause power and lays out the Court’s new test for evaluating potential violations of church and state after Kennedy v Bremerton.

1.0 CREDITS
General
101
Recusal & the Bounds of Judicial Bias

With incredible powers to make life-changing decisions involving liberty and fortune, judges are expected to make decisions with a threshold level of neutrality.  In this conversation, we explore the limits of that threshold. When does judicial bias legally or ethically preclude a judge from hearing a case?  Alicia Bannon (director of the Judiciary Project at the Brennan Center for Justice) explains the laws and limits on judicial recusal and where gray areas remain. 

Bannon draws on contentious contemporary examples such as cases involving Justice Thomas and his wife’s connection to cases involving January 6th as well as cases relating to former President Trump.  Bannon explains that the constitutional test for recusal (under the Due Process protections) is “serious risk of actual bias.”  The conversation goes on to explore the limits of that test and potential reforms to improve the integrity of U.S. courts.

0.75 CREDITS
Professional Responsibility
100
WV v. EPA and the Major Questions Doctrine

On June 30th, 2022, the Supreme Court decided West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), limiting the EPAs ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Beyond its direct impact on climate policy, the case significantly impacts administrative power by supercharging a new legal regime - the “major questions doctrine.” Environmental law and administrative law expert, Professor Lisa Heinzerling (Georgetown Law Center) unpacks the Court’s decision in WV v. EPA and explains the broad powers of the judicial doctrine.

Prof. Heinzerling goes on to explain how major questions may prove to be the death knell for a prior test known as “Chevron deference.” Where Chevron assured judicial restraint toward federal policy, major questions now threatens to stymie agency action on some of the most critical and contentious issues of the moment, from climate change policy and far beyond.

1.0 CREDITS
General
99
Gun Law after Bruen

On June 23rd, 2022 the Supreme Court decided the landmark gun rights case New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. The case, widely seen as a win for advocates of personal gun rights, fundamentally altered the test that courts use to evaluate constitutionality under the 2nd Amendment and expanded gun rights outside of the home. Prof. Joseph Blocher of Duke Law School explains how Bruen fits into the evolving Second Amendment doctrine. 

In Bruen, Justice Thomas writing for the majority knocks down New York's concealed carry law and along with it calls into question laws in other states where significant discretion is given to the state in determining whether they may issue a permit. As Prof. Blocher explains, the case further replaces the two-part Second Amendment test used by the nation's circuit courts of appeals in favor of a new test focused on historical tradition.  After analysis of the decision of the court as well as concurring and dissenting opinions, Blocher goes on to explore the impact of Bruen on laws and individuals across the nation.

1.0 CREDITS
General
98
Jailhouse Law—Lawyering as an Inmate

Jailhouse lawyers are inmates who help other inmates with legal filings while in prison. They handle matters from divorce to criminal appeals to claims against prison officials. They write motions and briefs and counsel clients; short of court representation, they provide the range of legal services that a licensed lawyer would. While the Supreme Court has recognized the importance of jailhouse lawyers in prisons where access to the courts is limited, jailhouse lawyers still operate in a legal gray area in many jurisdictions. Phillip Miller, a former jailhouse lawyer, explains how jailhouse lawyering works in practice and the crucial role that jailhouse lawyers play in the American penal system.

 

1.0 CREDITS
General
97
Driverless Cars—A Shift in Risk

 When algorithms take the wheel and human drivers move to the back seat, who's to blame when an accident occurs? The future of driverless cars is already here, with Waymo test offering its autonomous taxi service in Phoenix, AZ and more companies like GM, Nissan, and even Amazon entering the race to market. As driverless cars become the norm, the laws governing its development and use will have to adapt accordingly. RAND Corporation’s James Anderson discusses the complicated legal and policy issues that will need to be contemplated, including tort liability, the insurance regime, cybersecurity, and the regulatory framework.

0.5 CREDITS
General
96
Assisted Reproduction and Parental Rights

More than ever before, Americans are turning to assisted reproduction to start their families.  In this interview, leading family law expert Professor Douglas NeJaime (Yale Law School) explains how U.S. laws are attempting to catch up to this shift.  Traditionally parental rights are based on the marital presumption – the parents are, by default, the woman who birthed the child and her husband.  This can then result in the denial of parental rights to non-biological mothers or fathers who start a family using assisted reproduction. In these circumstances, states may assign parental rights to the egg donor, sperm donor, or surrogate, despite the intentions and sometimes written agreements of the parties. Finally, Prof. NeJaime discusses how new laws in a number of states  better fit modern reproduction practices and rethinks what it means to be a legal parent.

1.0 CREDITS
General
95
Fighting the Zombie-Lawyer Apocalypse

Recent studies have suggested that lawyers are particularly prone to depression, anxiety, and stress, but are lawyers becoming zombies? According to Professor Peter Huang (who co-authored an article of similar title), the plight of the profession presents interesting parallels to the concept of “zombification,” with lawyers and law students mindlessly reacting to stress. Prof. Huang discusses these parallels, the role of stress reduction strategies such as mindfulness, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted attorney mental health. Peter also presents some ways in which the legal profession and law schools can begin to improve attorney well being… perhaps avoiding the zombie apocalypse entirely.

0.5 CREDITS
Mental Health/Substance Abuse
94
Race, Police, and Imperfect Justice (Part 2)

What role does race play in criminal justice or in police decisions to use deadly force?  How do bad regulations contribute to injustice and what difference can smart policy make? In this interview, we explore such questions through the lens of today’s most controversial criminal cases. Alexis Hoag of Brooklyn Law, Rachel Harmon of UVA Law, and Daniel Harawa of WashU Law discuss high-profile cases at the intersection of race and policing, from George Floyd to Ahmaud Arbery to Breonna Taylor and grapple with questions of appropriate police response, officer accountability and prosecutorial discretion. They discuss what went wrong, what has improved, and what remains to be fixed in our imperfect justice system.

 

Watch Part 1 of Race, Police, and Imperfect Justice.

0.5 CREDITS
General
93
Race, Police, and Imperfect Justice

Controversial cases of police shootings and high profile killings have forced us to grapple with questions of appropriate police response, officer accountability, prosecutorial discretion, and that seem to encourage the use of deadly force. These same public cases further underscored how these issues disproportionately affect Black Americans and other people of color. In this conversation, criminal law scholars Alexis Hoag of Brooklyn Law, Rachel Harmon of UVA Law, and Daniel Harawa of WashU Law explore the high-profile cases at the intersection of race and policing, including the legal proceedings and trials for the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. They discuss what went wrong, what has improved, and what remains to be fixed in our imperfect justice system.

 

Watch Part 2 of Race, Police, and Imperfect Justice.

0.5 CREDITS
General
92
Line Prosecutors v. Main Justice

 Independence With the DOJ

Traditional norms dictate that the Department of Justice and federal prosecutors exercise discretion independent of partisan politics and free from political interference. In recent years, the DOJ and the Attorney General have acted in ways that some scholars criticize as compromising prosecutorial independence and eroding the integrity of the federal justice system. Professors Bruce Green and Rebecca Roiphe discuss the ethical duties and roles of the Attorney General and line prosecutors in preserving this independence and examine recent high-profile examples of the head of the DOJ at odds with line prosecutors in criminal prosecutions.

0.5 CREDITS
Professional Responsibility
91
Prosecutorial Discretion – Police Killings and Sexual Abuse

Prosecutors have the power to make decisions that have a deep impact on the lives of arrestees and defendants. This power arises, in large part, from the enormous discretion they exercise over decisions like whether to initiate charges and which charges to bring, whether to offer plea bargains and under what terms, what sentences to seek, and how to present and try a case. Public attention has focused on prosecutors’ discretion in recent years, as their conduct is increasingly scrutinized in high-profile cases involving civilian deaths in police shootings and sexual assault by wealthy, powerful men. Professors Bruce Green and Rebecca Roiphe, both former prosecutors, discuss through the lens of recent controversial cases the ethical and legal standards governing prosecutorial conduct and why prosecutorial discretion is not a black-and-white matter.

0.5 CREDITS
Professional Responsibility
90
A Mindful Practice (Part 2)

Strategies for Combatting Stress

Lawyers experience elevated levels of mental health issues, with many lawyers reporting anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and problem drinking. As the legal profession is coming to terms with this crisis, lawyers and legal employers are exploring ways to build a better profession and improve lawyer well-being. One key practice, Professor Nathalie Martin of the University of New Mexico School of Law explains, is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Studies have shown that regular mindfulness training has measurable physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. For lawyers, mindfulness can help with stress management, increase emotional intelligence, and improve conflict resolution skills. In this interview, Professor Martin explores the factors that contribute to higher levels of stress and mental health issues in the legal profession and offers tips to incorporate mindfulness into lawyers' daily lives.

 

Watch Part 1 of A Mindful Practice.

0.5 CREDITS
Mental Health/Substance Abuse
89
A Mindful Practice

Strategies for Combatting Stress

Lawyers experience elevated levels of mental health issues, with many lawyers reporting anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and problem drinking. As the legal profession is coming to terms with this crisis, lawyers and legal employers are exploring ways to build a better profession and improve lawyer well-being. One key practice, Professor Nathalie Martin of the University of New Mexico School of Law explains, is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Studies have shown that regular mindfulness training has measurable physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. For lawyers, mindfulness can help with stress management, increase emotional intelligence, and improve conflict resolution skills. In this interview, Professor Martin explores the factors that contribute to higher levels of stress and mental health issues in the legal profession and offers tips to incorporate mindfulness into lawyers' daily lives.

 

Watch Part 2 of A Mindful Practice.

0.5 CREDITS
Mental Health/Substance Abuse
37
The Defense Production Act & COVID-19

The Biden administration announced plans to invoke the broad powers under the Defense Production Act to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and aggressively boost vaccine production and distribution. Passed in 1950, the Defense Production Act authorizes the President to require businesses to prioritize government contracts and to create financial incentives to expand domestic output of goods deemed necessary for national defense. Professor Deborah Pearlstein of Cardozo Law School explains the origins and mechanics of the law, how the Act can be implemented to fight the pandemic, and examines its use and potential use under the past and current administrations.

0.5 CREDITS
General
36
A Credibility Gap in Cases of Rape

In cases of sexual assault, the credibility of the victim is crucial to whether law enforcement will investigate the assault, prosecutors will bring charges, and whether the jury will ultimately find the defendant culpable. Time and again, victims who come forward recount being disbelieved at each stage of the criminal justice system, a function of what Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer calls credibility discounting. The credibility discount is biased disbelief of the more vulnerable, less powerful party.  Tuerkheimer discusses how the credibility discount is at its apex in sexual assault cases and impacts law enforcement intake and investigation in rape cases. She also explores the laws that have made rape charges particularly difficult in the United States such as unique corroboration requirements, prompt outcry rules, cautionary jury instructions, marital rape exceptions as well ill-conceived intoxication rules and resistance requirements.  Tuerkheimer explores the surprising legal history of rape law and the formal and informal burdens still imposed on victims today.

1.0 CREDITS
General
35
Self Defense and the Use of Deadly Force (Part 2)

High-profile cases in the last decade have brought to the fore issues with private citizens' use of deadly force in self-defense, citizen’s arrest, and vigilantism. The public closely followed three highly-charged trials centered around self-defense: Kyle Rittenhouse shootings, the death of Ahmaud Arbery, and George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin. Much has been written about these cases, but some confusion remains about the legal underpinnings that resulted in its divergent outcomes. Self-defense laws are complicated, further muddled by duty to retreat/stand your ground provisions and citizen’s arrest laws. Professor Kimberly Ferzan of the University of Pennsylvania Law School explains self-defense laws and its elements, including the use of deadly vs. nondeadly force, when use of force is reasonable, and provocateurs and initial aggressors. She discusses the hot-button cases and the issues that arise when citizens are empowered to act like law enforcement.

 

Watch Part 1 of Self Defense and the Use of Deadly Force.

0.5 CREDITS
General
34
Self Defense and the Use of Deadly Force

High-profile cases in the last decade have brought to the fore issues with private citizens' use of deadly force in self-defense, citizen’s arrest, and vigilantism. The public closely followed three highly-charged trials centered around self-defense: Kyle Rittenhouse shootings, the death of Ahmaud Arbery, and George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin. Much has been written about these cases, but some confusion remains about the legal underpinnings that resulted in its divergent outcomes. Self-defense laws are complicated, further muddled by duty to retreat/stand your ground provisions and citizen’s arrest laws. Professor Kimberly Ferzan of the University of Pennsylvania Law School explains self-defense laws and its elements, including the use of deadly vs. nondeadly force, when use of force is reasonable, and provocateurs and initial aggressors. She discusses the hot-button cases and the issues that arise when citizens are empowered to act like law enforcement.

 

Watch Part 2 of Self Defense and the Use of Deadly Force.

0.5 CREDITS
General
33
Digital Asset Planning

Today, most people own digital assets, which include everything from social media accounts, email and online banking accounts, cloud-stored photos, airline miles, blogs, to virtual currencies. As our communications and financial assets have become more digitized, ensuring loved ones and estate fiduciaries are able to gain access once the account holder dies or becomes incapacitated is critical. Without access, fiduciaries may have difficulty winding down accounts and disposing of assets, and the accounts may be left vulnerable to hacks. Loved ones may be unable to memorialize social media accounts or close them down. Professor Naomi Cahn of UVA Law explains some of the impediments to fiduciary access, including online platforms’ terms of service agreements and laws that prohibit internet service providers from disclosing the contents of its users’ communications. She explores the tools and best practices for digital asset planning, including the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act now adopted in over 45 states.

0.5 CREDITS
General
32
Poor People Science & Wrongful Convictions

Keith Harward was convicted of a horrific murder and served 33 years in prison based on junk science, sometimes referred to as “poor people science.” Chris Fabricant of Innocence Project explains how Harward's conviction for the heinous act was based on little more than a dentist’s testimony that his teeth matched bite marks on the deceased victim. Notwithstanding his innocence, Harward served 33 years before Fabricant and others were able win an exoneration using DNA evidence.

Forensic science is often viewed as the silver bullet in modern criminal convictions, but not all forensic science disciplines are backed by sound empirical data. Fabricant explains how junk science leads to injustice, wrongful convictions, and the failure to apprehend violent criminals responsible. He explains that the term "poor people science" refers to how the courts seem to employ one system to adjudge experts in civil cases against wealthy corporate defendants and a far more lax approach to admitting evidence against criminal defendants with limited resources. Fabricant shares how courts can unintentionally enable destructive precedent that can then lead to the wrongful imprisonment of many.

1.0 CREDITS
General
31
Press Freedom vs. Privacy—Newsworthiness in a Self-Publishing Era (Part 2)

The First Amendment provides broad but not absolute freedom of press protections. Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren first famously articulated the right to privacy in 1890, a “right to be let alone” from undue prying by the press in private matters. While historically the press has enjoyed considerable latitude in determining what is newsworthy and publishable, there have been recent movements in the courts to constrict press freedoms and broaden individual privacy rights. Professor Amy Gajda of Tulane Law School examines how the concept of newsworthiness has evolved and what happens to press freedoms when “quasi-journalists,” self-publishers, bloggers and the like who don’t abide by traditional ethics codes overstep the editorial line.

 

Watch Part 1 of Press Freedom vs. Privacy.

 

0.5 CREDITS
General
30
Deep Decarbonization and the Fight Against Climate Change

The climate crisis threatens to create global food, health, housing, and social insecurity and displace millions, if not billions, of people. A major cause of rapid climate change is the dramatic increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere driven by human activity over the last century. In fact, the past five years have been the five warmest years on record, and all signs point to a continuing trend unless massive steps are taken to slow down and reverse the tide. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to fighting climate change, deep decarbonization, or achieving net-zero emissions, has emerged as the major goal for the next decades. What does deep decarbonization entail? Michael Gerrard, professor at Columbia Law School and the faculty director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, explains the legal challenges and reforms needed in energy and transportation, the two largest GHG emitting sectors, to achieve deep decarbonization and the policies and actions the Biden administration will likely institute in the near-term to reach climate change objectives.

0.5 CREDITS
General
29
Press Freedom vs. Privacy—Newsworthiness in a Self-Publishing Era

The First Amendment provides broad but not absolute freedom of press protections. Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren first famously articulated the right to privacy in 1890, a “right to be let alone” from undue prying by the press in private matters. While historically the press has enjoyed considerable latitude in determining what is newsworthy and publishable, there have been recent movements in the courts to constrict press freedoms and broaden individual privacy rights. Professor Amy Gajda of Tulane Law School examines how the concept of newsworthiness has evolved and what happens to press freedoms when “quasi-journalists,” self-publishers, bloggers and the like who don’t abide by traditional ethics codes overstep the editorial line.

 

Watch Part 2 of Press Freedom vs. Privacy.

0.5 CREDITS
General
28
Infrastructure and Employment

Government Projects as Engines for Growth

America's infrastructure is crumbling. The American Society of Civil Engineers graded the national infrastructure a D+ in 2017, with transit rated a D- and drinking water, dams and roads rated a D. Despite broad bipartisan recognition for the need to rebuild and expand, government spending on infrastructure fell by nearly $10 billion over the past decade, with increased spending on maintaining existing systems and decreased spending on capital projects. Professor Michael Graetz, co-author of The Wolf at the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It, explains why we haven’t seen large-scale improvements in recent decades, ways to finance infrastructure projects to address the funding gap, and the regulatory and policy changes necessary to rebuild America.

0.5 CREDITS
General
27
A New Direction for Directed Trusts

Directed trusts have become increasingly popular over the past few decades, in part, for the flexibility they offer in managing trust assets. In a directed trust, a person other than the trustee holds power to make decisions over investment, management, distribution, or some other aspect of trust administration and has the power to direct the trustee. As common as they’ve become, many states’ statutes have yet to iron out the legal uncertainties that arise when a nontrustee (or a “trust director”) holds power over the trust. In an effort to provide clarity and guidance, the Uniform Law Commission approved in 2017 the Uniform Directed Trust Act (UDTA), which has been adopted in some form by 16 states as of 2022. Professor John Morley, the reporter of the UDTA, explains some of the practical innovations and key provisions in the new law, including the scope of the powers of the trust director and the fiduciary duties of the trust director and trustee.

0.5 CREDITS
General
26
Mine — Examining the Law of Ownership

A dispute over the proper owner of Barry Bonds’ million-dollar home run ball, the right to grow California redwood trees that are shading a neighbor’s solar panels, the legality of shooting down a drone flying over private property: the common thread among all these seemingly unrelated cases is that these are conflicts about ownership design. Ownership design is a powerful social engineering tool that shapes how we live our lives. It determines who gets what and why. Professor Michael Heller, co-author of Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives, explains the six fundamental stories that determine all rules of ownership through the lens of some surprising and controversial property law cases in American jurisprudence.

0.5 CREDITS
General
25
Powers of the Modern CFIUS

In early 2020, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) published final rules implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA), significantly expanding CFIUS jurisdiction over certain types of investments. Often called a “black box,” CFIUS assesses the potential national security risks of investments in the U.S. and operates in a classified environment. To peel back the curtain, we sit down with two longtime leaders of the CFIUS committee Aimen Mir and Colin Costello and discuss the substantive changes and new powers conferred by FIRRMA and CFIUS strategy for businesses under the Biden administration.

0.5 CREDITS
General
24
Law of Bourbon

Bourbon is a uniquely American spirit and has played an outsized role in developing important aspects of American law. Bourbon history is peppered with dramatic legal battles and legal innovations, whether it’s laying the foundation for trademark protections or establishing the concept of brand name in the 1800s. Brian Haara, attorney and author of Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America, explains how bourbon is legally defined and explores the whiskey’s shady past and the legal concepts that bourbon helped build, from trademark to consumer protection to truth in advertising.

0.5 CREDITS
General
23
Empowering Women — Combatting Economic Abuse in a Pandemic

Intimate partner violence is not limited to physical violence and can take many other forms, including emotional, psychological, and financial. Financial abuse can encompass identity theft, the accrual of debt in the victim’s name without their knowledge or consent, the subsequent default of that debt, or having no access to the couple’s financial information. For low-income women in abusive relationships, a key component of escaping the abuse is achieving economic security. Amy Barasch, Executive Director of Her Justice, explains the legal and advocacy tools available to help survivors leave abusive relationships and economically empower them to start their lives anew. She discusses how lawyers can assist in divorce and obtaining support payments and work authorizations for immigrants.

Her Justice provides free civil legal services to women living in poverty in New York City. Through their pro bono first model, they mentor and train volunteer attorneys and  pair them with women who have legal needs in family, matrimonial, and immigration law.

0.5 CREDITS
General
22
Communities v. Wildfires

Tinder in the Wildland Urban Interface

Wildfire season in the United States is now longer, hotter, and fiercer. With more communities developing in areas that have historically been unoccupied and on the cusp of wildlands with vegetative fuels, the damage and costs of fighting wildfires have become astronomical. The federal government has borne the brunt of these costs, but local governments can do more to take responsibility for their built environment and construct fire-resistant communities. Professor Stephen R. Miller discusses one key framework, the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), that allows local communities to meaningfully engage with wildfire management and collaborate with all levels of government to prioritize mitigation projects. Through the CWPP process, communities assess risks and outline strategies to address them, including regulatory tools like zoning and nuisance abatement laws and nonregulatory tools like insurance rebates and homeowners association covenants.

0.5 CREDITS
General
21
Combatting Crypto Money Laundering

Criminal actors looking for new ways to launder money are increasingly turning to cryptocurrency as a way to inject their ill-gotten gains into the legitimate financial system, to obfuscate the sources of their funds and convert it to cash or other assets. As criminals turn to novel ways to launder money, regulators and law enforcement are responding in like, enacting new and clarifying existing laws and employing increasingly sophisticated investigative and enforcement tools. Alex Zerden, the founder of Capitol Peak Strategies and a former Treasury Department official, discusses some of the high-profile instances of illicit uses of cryptocurrency and how digital assets may be used for money laundering and other criminal activities. Misconceptions abound about the proliferation and utility of digital assets for money laundering and the lawlessness of the crypto industry overall. Alex makes the case that certain key attributes of cryptocurrency may not make them the most elegant tool for such purposes. He explains the anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory framework, FinCEN guidance, and sanctions obligations that apply to the crypto industry and recent DOJ and FinCEN AML enforcement efforts.

0.75 CREDITS
General
20
The Leaked Opinion, Dobbs v. Jackson

On May 2, 2022, Politico published a leaked initial draft majority opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that was predicted to be released in June. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the leaked opinion and stressed that the draft was not final. In the draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and upholds a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. TalksOnLaw’s Joel Cohen unpacks Alito’s leaked opinion in which Alito traces the history of abortion laws in the U.S., explains the reasoning for overturning Roe, and addresses stare decisis.

0.5 CREDITS
General
19
A Transition in the Legal Profession (Part 2)

For many years, Dru Levasseur fought for LGBTQ+ rights in courts across the nation. Now, he works to improve the experience of LGBTQ+ attorneys in the legal profession. In this conversation, Dru shares from his experiences as a transgender attorney and insights learned in his current role as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. He examines the representation of LGBTQ+ attorneys in the profession and the discrimination and bias they can face in the workplace. Dru also touches on the fears and insecurities that many lawyers may have when it comes to working with trans colleagues or clients, including concerns about pronouns and sensitive questions about transitioning. The conversation provides resources for lawyers and legal employers to develop a more open and welcoming environment to practice law for trans attorneys, improve understanding among colleagues and to empower LGBTQ+ allies, and to integrate smart policies to improve firm diversity and inclusion.

 

Watch Part 1 of A Transition in the Legal Profession.

0.5 CREDITS
Diversity/Inclusion
18
A Transition in the Legal Profession

For many years, Dru Levasseur fought for LGBTQ+ rights in courts across the nation. Now, he works to improve the experience of LGBTQ+ attorneys in the legal profession. In this conversation, Dru shares from his experiences as a transgender attorney and insights learned in his current role as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. He examines the representation of LGBTQ+ attorneys in the profession and the discrimination and bias they can face in the workplace. Dru also touches on the fears and insecurities that many lawyers may have when it comes to working with trans colleagues or clients, including concerns about pronouns and sensitive questions about transitioning. The conversation provides resources for lawyers and legal employers to develop a more open and welcoming environment to practice law for trans attorneys, improve understanding among colleagues and to empower LGBTQ+ allies, and to integrate smart policies to improve firm diversity and inclusion.

Watch Part 2 of A Transition in the Legal Profession.

0.5 CREDITS
Diversity/Inclusion
17
Human Information Privacy (Part 2)

As troves of personal data are collected, stored, and used by governments and private companies in today’s digital age, privacy is becoming an increasing concern. Privacy is essentially about setting boundaries to limit the power that information confers on entities, whether public or private, over individuals. Without adequate privacy safeguards, governments have a blank check to interfere in legitimate political exercise. Companies are free to manipulate consumers through “dark patterns” and presenting an illusion of choice. Professor Neil Richards of the University of Washington in St. Louis School of Law explores where the U.S. legal framework potential falls short, namely in consumer protection against private entities, and the problems he sees ripe for reform. He proposes a few starting points to craft meaningful regulations for privacy, including combating deception and restricting surveillance-based advertising.

 

Watch Part 1 of Human Information Privacy.

0.5 CREDITS
General
16
Human Information Privacy

As troves of personal data are collected, stored, and used by governments and private companies in today’s digital age, privacy is becoming an increasing concern. Privacy is essentially about setting boundaries to limit the power that information confers on entities, whether public or private, over individuals. Without adequate privacy safeguards, governments have a blank check to interfere in legitimate political exercise and companies are free to manipulate consumers through “dark patterns.” Professor Neil Richards of Washington University in St. Louis School of Law discusses why privacy matters in the digital age and the current framework of constitutional protections against government surveillance. He then explores where the U.S. legal framework falls short, namely in consumer protection against private entities, and the ways in which the digital world is designed by tech companies to steer consumers into giving up ever more personal information.

 

Watch Part 2 of Human Information Privacy.

0.5 CREDITS
General
15
The Ethical Limits of Negotiations (Part 2)

Ethics rules guide lawyer behavior, tactics, and strategy in negotiations. The rules prescribe the duties and responsibilities with regard to the client-lawyer relationship and to opposing counsel and third parties. Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow of UC Irvine Law explores the boundaries of ethics requirements in negotiations. In part 2 of this 2-part series, she explores the tactics and behaviors permissible and impermissible, including bullying and threats, and the concept of fairness in negotiations.

 

Watch Part 1 of The Ethical Limits of Negotiations.

0.5 CREDITS
All other Professional Responsibility areas
14
The Ethical Limits of Negotiations

Ethics rules guide lawyer behavior, tactics, and strategy in negotiations. The rules prescribe the duties and responsibilities with regard to the client-lawyer relationship and to opposing counsel and third parties. Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow of UC Irvine Law explores the boundaries of ethics requirements in negotiations. In part 1 of this 2-part series, she explores the rules on truthful statements, fraud, misrepresentation, and disclosure; facts versus opinions; and the tactics and behaviors permissible and impermissible in negotiations, including bluffing and puffing.

 

Watch Part 2 of The Ethical Limits of Negotiations.

0.5 CREDITS
All other Professional Responsibility areas
13
Memory Evidence (Part 2)

Neuroimaging in the Courts

In 2008, a woman in India was convicted of murder for the death of her fiancé on the basis of evidence derived from a brain-based memory detection exam. The test measured brain activity which purportedly indicated that she had personal knowledge of the poisoning of the victim. While such technology is highly controversial and not in common use in U.S. courts, significant advances in brain science now justify analysis of both the potential applications of memory evidence as well as the constitutional implications of doing so.

In part 2 of this 2-part interview, Professor Emily Murphy of UC Hastings Law evaluates how evidence from brain-based memory detection may be admitted in courts under Daubert. She then explores whether such evidence should be admitted even if the technology were perfect, given technological and biological limits, and how it may infringe upon constitutional and privacy rights if the government compels individuals to undergo brain imaging to decode memories.

Watch Part 1 of Memory Evidence.

0.5 CREDITS
General
12
Memory Evidence

Neuroimaging in the Courts

In 2008, a woman in India was convicted of murder for the death of her fiancé on the basis of evidence derived from a brain-based memory detection exam. The test measured brain activity which purportedly indicated that she had personal knowledge of the poisoning of the victim. While such technology is highly controversial and not in common use in U.S. courts, significant advances in brain science now justify analysis of both the potential applications of memory evidence as well as the constitutional implications of doing so.

In part 1 of this 2-part interview, Professor Emily Murphy of UC Hastings Law explains the current state of brain-based memory detection technology and how it differs from lie detection tests. She discusses the hypothetical use cases for forensic purposes and the framework for admissibility of expert testimony under the Daubert standard.

Watch Part 2 of Memory Evidence.

0.5 CREDITS
General
11
A Failure of Forensics (Part 2)

Problems in forensic labs have contributed to scores of wrongful convictions, resulting in innocent individuals being imprisoned for years, sometimes decades. In recent years, major scandals have revealed problems at labs because of inadequate resources, lack of standards and oversight, management issues, and insufficient training. In part 2 of this 2-part series, Professor Brandon Garrett and Dr. Peter Stout discuss how the Houston Forensic Science Center (often regarded as a model of reform) operates, including implementing blind quality control programs and independent oversight. They explore the legal and policy changes that can be instituted at the lab level and systemwide to address the failures in forensic labs.

 

Watch Part 1 of A Failure of Forensics.

0.5 CREDITS
General
10
A Failure of Forensics

Problems in forensic labs have contributed to scores of wrongful convictions, resulting in innocent individuals being imprisoned for years, sometimes decades. In recent years, major scandals have revealed problems at labs because of inadequate resources, lack of standards and oversight, management issues, and insufficient training. In part 1 of this 2-part series, Professor Brandon Garrett of Duke Law School and Dr. Peter Stout of the Houston Forensic Science Center explain the impact forensic evidence can have at trial and the severe consequences when forensic labs get it wrong. They discuss the sway of forensic evidence among juries, how judges determine the admissibility of forensic evidence, and the role of defense attorneys in the courtroom.

 

Watch Part 2 of A Failure of Forensics.

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9
Ethics and Batson

Excluding Jurors Based on Race

The United States has a long history of racial discrimination in juries. In 1875, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act which prohibited race-based discrimination in jury service. Yet, states continued to remove Black prospective jurors, by instituting vague requirements for jury service or designating prominent citizens to compile juror lists, and then shifted to excluding jurors from jury selection from around the 1960s.  Despite the landmark 1986 case Batson v. Kentucky in which the Supreme Court held that the state may not use peremptory challenges to exclude jurors solely on the basis of race and set out a standard to determine whether a peremptory strike was discriminatory, the practice persists today. Legal ethics scholar Professor Peter Joy explains the Batson standard and the ways in which the framework falls short. He discusses the legal ethics of racial discrimination in jury selection and considers alternatives to peremptory challenges to combat discrimination.

 

0.5 CREDITS
All other Professional Responsibility areas
8
Investigating the Client

An Ethical Dilemma

If a lawyer suspects, but does not know, that a client or potential client is seeking their services to engage in criminal activity, can they still offer legal counsel? When does a lawyer have a duty to investigate her own clients? In its Formal Opinion 491 issued in 2020, the American Bar Association addressed lawyers’ obligations to inquire further to determine whether a client may be attempting to perpetrate a crime or fraud. Professor Peter Joy, legal ethics scholar, explains the ethics rules governing the lawyer’s scope of representation. He examines the standards put forth in Opinion 491 and raises surprising questions as to whether such standards actually fit with the ethics rules as they are drafted.

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All other Professional Responsibility areas
7
Dobbs v. Jackson, a Battleground for Abortion Rights

This term, the Supreme Court is set to decide the most important abortion rights case in decades, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Supreme Court will assess the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. We sit down for a conversation with one of the lawyers representing Jackson Women's Health Organization to discuss.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the unqualified right to pre-viability abortion in its landmark decision Roe v. Wade and has since consistently struck down state laws (like Mississippi's 15 week ban) that have attempted to prohibit pre-viability abortion. Alexia Korberg, co-counsel to Jackson Women’s Health Organization, traces the history of abortion laws in the U.S. from colonial America, to Roe, to the current landscape of state abortion laws. They discuss the central holdings and constitutional basis of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the current litigation involving Mississippi, and the implications for abortion access if Roe is overturned.

0.75 CREDITS
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6
Space Law — Rights and Resources (Part 2)

At the height of the space race in the 1960s, countries around the world first ratified the Outer Space Treaty to prevent any nuclear conflict from extending into outer space and to ensure its use for peaceful purposes. Today, there’s a new kind of space race, one that involves private tourism and resource mining and extraction. And with more players in the mix, including nation-states like India and China and private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX, how will existing treaties and customary international law apply? In part 2 of this 2-part series, space law expert Professor Frans von der Dunk discusses how the Outer Space Treaty applies to space tourism and other private space activities and explains the laws on militarization and weaponization of space.

 

Watch Part 1 of Space Law — Rights and Resources.

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5
Space Law — Rights and Resources

At the height of the space race in the 1960s, countries around the world first ratified the Outer Space Treaty to prevent any nuclear conflict from extending into outer space and to ensure its use for peaceful purposes. Today, there’s a new kind of space race, one that involves private tourism and resource mining and extraction. And with more players entering the field, including nation-states like India and China and private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX, how will existing treaties apply? Space law expert Professor Frans von der Dunk explores how the Outer Space Treaty and customary international law applies to modern space activities and addresses the open questions of property rights for celestial and lunar natural resources and liability issues when private enterprises operate in space.

 

Watch Part 2 of Space Law — Rights and Resources.

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4
Policing the Police (Part 2)

Police officers have broad authority and discretion to enforce order — they can take property, stop, detain, and arrest people — at times under threat of lethal force. With such great power comes a significant risk of abuse, evidenced by the high-profile instances of brutality and misconduct. The challenge of regulating police is crafting effective and tailored rules to allow police officers to do their jobs of maintaining public safety and promoting order without infringing on individual rights or causing other unintended harm. In this conversation, we explore the laws that regulate the police with Professor Rachel Harmon of UVA Law and the director of its Center for Criminal Justice.

In part 2 of this 2-part series, Professor Harmon explains the constitutional right to record the police and under what circumstances that right may be limited, and explores the potential federal reforms that may bring about systemic changes in policing.

Watch Part 1 of Policing the Police.

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3
Policing the Police

Police officers have broad authority and discretion to enforce order — they can take property, stop, detain, and arrest people — at times under threat of lethal force. With such great power comes a significant risk of abuse, evidenced by the high-profile instances of brutality and misconduct. The challenge of regulating police is crafting effective and tailored rules to allow police officers to do their jobs of maintaining public safety and promoting order without infringing on individual rights or causing other unintended harm. In this conversation, we explore the laws that regulate the police with Professor Rachel Harmon of UVA Law and the director of its Center for Criminal Justice.

In part 1 of this 2-part series, Professor Harmon explains the jurisprudential framework of policing. She then explores the constitutional and statutory limits of police conduct, including the use of deadly and non-deadly force in police-citizen encounters, arrests for protests and verbal opposition, and “contempt of cop” or retaliatory arrests.

Watch Part 2 of Policing the Police.

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2
Cyberattack as Use of Force (Part 2)

Cyberwarfare has muddled the understanding of what constitutes the use of force and armed attacks under international law. The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has once again highlighted the risks that states and private entities face in the new realm of cyberwarfare and the need for establishing and clarifying international norms in this context. The Biden administration in March urged private entities to bolster their cyber defenses and warned that the U.S. was prepared to use all tools available to respond to cyberattacks. Under international law, whether those tools may include military responses hinges on determining that a cyberattack is an unlawful use force equivalent to an armed attack. Professor Duncan Hollis of Temple Law explains the standards proposed to assess whether a cyberattack amounts to a use of force and how states may respond when non-state actors engage in cyber operations. Lastly, he discusses influence operations, a type of cyber operation targeted at a certain population designed to affect behaviors or attitudes, and to what extent international laws and norms apply when influence operations do not involve use of force.

 

Watch Part 1 of Cyberattack as Use of Force.

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General
1
Cyberattack as Use of Force

Cyberwarfare has muddled the understanding of what constitutes the use of force and armed attacks under international law. The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has once again highlighted the risks that states and private entities face in the new realm of cyberwarfare and the need for establishing and clarifying international norms in this context. The Biden administration in March urged private entities to bolster their cyber defenses and warned that the U.S. was prepared to use all tools available to respond to cyberattacks. Under international law, whether those tools may include military responses hinges on determining that a cyberattack is an unlawful use force equivalent to an armed attack. Professor Duncan Hollis of Temple Law explains the development of international cyberspace law, starting with the preliminary questions of whether and how existing international laws apply. He explores the issues with international law’s application to cyberspace, including interpretive disagreements among states and the challenges of developing norms when cyber activities are covert.

 

Watch Part 2 of Cyberattack as Use of Force.

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General