Planet Lex Podcast

Northwestern Law's Planet Lex Podcast Series Join Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez for a series of conversations about the law today and its role within the ever-changing global, societal, and technological landscapes.

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Episode 24: Should We Reform the Supreme Court?

audio play button Professors Sarah Schrup and Tonja Jacobi

With Brett Kavanaugh's ongoing confirmation battle, the Supreme Court and the partisan polarization of the nomination process has been fresh in the minds of many. Host Daniel B. Rodriguez talks to Tonja Jacobi and Sarah Schrup about major issues facing the Supreme Court and the implications they have on our democracy. They discuss possible reforms, like term limits and court packing, as well as topics like oral advocacy and the tendency for female justices to be interrupted more often when making arguments. 

Editor’s Note: This podcast was recorded on August 14, before the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings began and before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations were public.

Episode 23: Reforming the Chicago Police Department

audio play button Alexa Van Brunt

The violence that grips the streets of Chicago has been the subject of news outlets and even the President’s tweets, but what is actually being done to address the issue? In this episode, host Daniel B. Rodriguez talks to Alexa Van Brunt, an attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center, about police brutality and bias in Chicago and the draft consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department.

Episode 22: Chicago’s Gun Violence Epidemic

audio play button Zach Fardon

Gun violence in neighborhoods on Chicago's south and west sides is a decades-long problem experiencing recently renewed media attention. Zach Fardon, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, talks about the complexity of the problem, the root causes, and what can be done to address it. The discussion touches on the distrust of law enforcement, the struggling public school system, and the role of federal law enforcement in providing aid to Chicago.

Episode 21: Facing the Challenges of the Global Legal Industry

audio play button Mark Cohen and Eva Bruch

The legal ecosystem is undergoing a massive transformation around the world, prompting some legal professionals to wonder if the industry is in crisis. As a prelude to Beyond Our Borders, a two-day summit on global legal innovation, host Daniel Rodriguez talks to Mark Cohen, the CEO of LegalMosaic, and Eva Bruch, Founder of AlterWork, about what’s broken within the legal industry around the world. Topics include the access to justice crisis, outdated performance metrics, and the rise of alternative business structures. They also discuss addressing these problems at the source by developing business management, technology, culture, and people skills at law schools.

Episode 20: Approaching Access to Justice with a Designer's Mindset

audio play buttonMargaret Hagan

Does the access to justice problem need a design solution? At Stanford's Legal Design Lab, Margaret Hagan and her colleagues use human-centered design and technology to create innovative solutions for legal services. Host Daniel Rodriguez talks to Margaret about the use of design thinking to help close the access to justice gap. Together they discuss what design thinking's methodology is and its application in legal structures, the importance of centering technology around the human experience, and how lawyers can incorporate a creative and empathetic mindset to their work.

Episode 19: The #MeToo Movement Through a Legal Lens

audio play buttonProfessors Laura Beth Nielsen and Deborah Tuerkheimer

What started out as a viral moment has grown into a movement that has resulted in both praise and controversy. Laura Beth Nielsen and Deb Tuerkheimer discuss how the #MeToo movement differs from similar assault accusations in the past, the role President Trump may have played in the movement's growth, and the impact the movement has had on public discussion surrounding sexual harassment and assault. They also look at the movement through the lens of the law, looking at what the law has to say about enablers and witnesses, the importance of modernizing the laws surrounding rape, and the adequacy of societal punishment.

Episode 18: What Hinders Innovation in the Legal Industry?

audio play buttonProfessor William Henderson

Committees have been formed, seminars have been taught, and conferences have been hosted — all in an effort to convince lawyers that new technology will save them time and money. Sometimes the message sticks; sometimes attorneys run in the opposite direction. But is it lawyers themselves or the industry's rules and culture that hinder innovation in legal tech? In this episode of Planet Lex, host Daniel Rodriguez talks to Bill Henderson about innovation in the legal industry, including the cultural and regulatory restraints that keep new technology from impacting the legal industry at large.

Episode 17: Taking a Closer Look at Free Speech

audio play buttonProfessor Martin Redish

Whether it’s Milo Yiannopoulos being unable to speak at Berkeley or James Damore being fired for his Google memo, freedom of speech has repeatedly emerged as a topic of controversy, especially in terms of hate speech. Marty Redish, a freedom of expression professor, discusses how the law defines free speech and the right of various institutions, like businesses and universities, to regulate speech.

Episode 16: Trump and the Presidency Through the Years

audio play buttonNeil Eggleston (JD '78) and Newt Minow (JD '50)

The Trump administration is constantly in the news but what's going on behind the scenes? Former White House Counsel Neil Eggleston and former FCC Chairman Newt Minow talk about their experiences working for past presidents and their concerns about the Trump administration. They discuss the way we elect our presidents, the failings of the media, and whether or not the government is currently experiencing a moment of constitutional crisis.

Episode 15: Scott Turow on Where Law and Literature Collide

audio play buttonScott Turow

Bestselling author and lawyer Scott Turow has written 13 books, including the law school must-read One L, and Presumed Innocent, the novel credited with creating the legal fiction genre. Host Daniel Rodriguez talks to Scott about legal fiction, his career as a writer and lawyer, and the nature of legal education. They also touch on Scott’s work to reform capital punishment and the legal complexities of being an author in the age of technology.

Episode 14: Law and Business of Cannabis: Regulation, Taxation, and Banking

audio play buttonCharlie Bachtell and Dina Rollman (JD '00) 

Stoner jokes aside, cannabis is a truly budding industry. In this episode of Planet Lex, Daniel Rodriguez talks to Charlie Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs, and Dina Rollman, Chief Counsel at Green Thumb Industries (GTI), about the complexities of the marijuana industry, including how Illinois has set a precedent for regulatory programs, the banking challenges facing cultivators, and the battle for more research within the United States. They also discuss the role of lawyers within the cannabis business, and how they each got involved in this new and evolving industry.

Episode 13: Cities, States and The Trump Administration: Clashes of Federal and Local Government

audio play buttonProfessors David Dana and Nadav Shoked

There are looming conflicts between the Trump administration and local governments on a number of issues, including (but not limited to) sanctuary cities and climate change laws. Daniel Rodriguez discusses these hot-button topics with Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law David Dana and Associate Professor of Law Nadav Shoked. Together they discuss the current state of sanctuary cities, response to the Trump administration pulling out of the Paris accord, and the ongoing clash between federal authorities and state and local government.

Episode 12: "Entrepreneurs Are the New Rock Stars"

audio play buttonJ.B. Pritzker (JD '93) and Howard Tullman (JD '70)

Success after law school doesn’t always mean practicing law, and these two guests are renowned examples of how a legal education can offer an advantage in the business world. J.B Pritzker, co-founder of the Pritzker Group and Illinois Democratic candidate for governor, and Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871 Chicago, talk about what it takes to pursue innovation in business. They discuss the five must-haves for an entrepreneurial mindset and dig into the startup tech scene in Chicago.

Episode 11: How the Government is Handling Online Privacy and Cybersecurity

audio play buttonProfessor James Speta

The speed of technological developments and change is so rapid that the government can’t craft corresponding rules and regulations fast enough. Professor Jim Speta, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and International Initiatives at Northwetern Law, discusses net neutrality, online privacy, cybersecurity, and how the government is handling these growing issues.

Episode 10: The Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, and the Nuclear Option

audio play buttonAttorney Carter Phillips (JD '77)

The Supreme Court has faced a whirlwind of change and controversy over the last year, first with the death of Justice Scalia and then with the election of President Trump and the actions of his Administration. Host Daniel Rodriguez talks to Carter Phillips about the current state of the Supreme Court in 2017. Their discussion includes President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch, the Democrat Party opposition during this process, and the consequences of the nuclear option, whether it’s used or not. They conclude the episode with a brief discussion of the textbook Phillips co-authored with Northwestern Law faculty, Advanced Appellate Advocacy.

Episode 9: Trump Administration and the Law

audio play buttonProfessors Eugene Kontorovich, Andrew Koppelman, and Deborah Tuerkheimer

Trump's presidency has brought about a lot of change, especially in regard to law. In this episode of Planet Lex, host Daniel Rodriguez interviews Northwestern Law faculty members about recent actions by President Trump and the legal considerations facing this new administration. In their discussion, they cover a wide array of topics, including President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, his expansion of executive power, and the potential of the Department of Justice shifting away from certain civil rights issues.

Episode 8: The Future Impact of Technology on the Legal Profession

audio play buttonRichard Susskind

Professor Richard Susskind — an author, speaker, and independent adviser to major professional firms and to national governments  discusses the impact new technologies will have on the legal profession and whether law schools are sufficiently training law students to be the pioneering attorneys of tomorrow.

Episode 7: Law Enforcement and Implicit Bias

audio play buttonProfessor Destiny Peery

The increased media coverage of police shootings has coincided with the growing prominence of conversations about race and law enforcement. In this episode of Planet Lex, host Daniel Rodriguez speaks with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Assistant Professor of Law Destiny Peery about implicit bias, tensions between the police and the communities they serve, and how perceptions of race impact the legal system.

Episode 6: Technological Advancements and The Law

audio play buttonProfessors John McGinnis and Larry Birnbaum

Professor McGinnis from the Law School and Professor Birnbaum from the McCormick School of Engineering discuss emergent technology and its effects on the law. The guests debate how close we are to the day when computer intelligence surpasses human intelligence and consider the impact of artificial intelligence on the legal profession.

Episode 5: The Regulation of Public Corruption

audio play buttonProfessor Juliet Sorensen

Professor Sorensen defines public corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and discusses the challenges of working within the various parameters of both civil causes of action and criminal law to regulate said corruption.

Episode 4: Sexual Misconduct on Campus

audio play buttonProfessor Deborah Tuerkheimer

The issue of sexual assault on campuses and how to best combat these incidents is a highly debated topic among legal professionals. How should these crimes be handled and what can colleges do to protect their students?

Episode 3: Integrating the Law and STEM Focused Multidisciplinary Education

audio play buttonProfessors Leslie Oster and Emerson Tiller

The increasing societal shift toward a more global marketplace encourages many graduates to seek a multidisciplinary education. How does learning skills from various fields help students in the workplace and what value can legal knowledge add?

Episode 2: The Evolution of Copyright in Music

audio play buttonProfessor Peter DiCola

New technology has greatly lowered the barrier of entry into the music industry for new artists looking to release recordings and distribute their music broadly. How have these emergent technologies affected copyright law and, subsequently, the salaries of working musicians?

Episode 1: Defending Brendan Dassey of "Making a Murderer"

play buttonProfessors Steven Drizin (JD '86) and Laura Nirider (JD '08)

Many people have become familiar with the trial of Brendan Dassey’s through the 2015 Netflix television series “Making A Murderer.” His case raises a number of concerns regarding youth interrogations and the associated confessions.