The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Podcast
Summary: Listen to lectures by—and discussions with—the University of Chicago Law School's eminent faculty, as well as some very special guests.
"The Trust Revolution: How the Digitization of Trust Will Revolutionize Business & Government" In this CBI, Professor Henderson will examine how Internet platforms--eBay, Uber, AirBnB--relate to the Code of Hammurabi, Medieval guilds, the New York Stock Exchange, and corporate brands. All of these institutions, along with religions and governments and families, are in large part about providing trust to enable human cooperation. By undertaking a genealogy of trust, we can illuminate modern debates about the role and scope of government in regulating the daily lives of citizens. M. Todd Henderson is the Michael J. Marks Professor of Law. This Chicago's Best Ideas talk was presented on January 27, 2020.
The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol are among the most important human rights documents of the post-WW II period. Yet the universalization of the refugee status after the 1967 Protocol has given rise to a series of discrepancies between the letter of the Convention and the purposes it is being asked to serve. In particular, the five-protected categories specified by the Convention have come under criticism. There are also tensions between the Eurocentric discourse and jurisprudence of refugee protection and the fact that the largest numbers of the world’s refugees are housed in Third World Countries. With globalization of the refugee condition, new trends have also emerged: States seek to create measures of “non-entrée”—no access—to their territories by various modes of outsourcing monitoring and enforcement. These range from the installation of refugee processing centers in bordering countries and along the Mediterranean seacoast in particular, to the signing of special bilateral agreements to prevent refugees from accessing the states’ territory (as between the US and Mexico) and to the more radical measure of simply “excising” territory, that is, declaring it outside the bounds of the jurisdiction of that state. These trends, along with criminalization of the refugee status, have undermined the universal human promise of the “right to have rights” (Hannah Arendt). In conclusion I ask why cruelty is spreading in liberal democracies and discuss three normative responses to the current predicament: liberal nationalist, liberal internationalist and cosmopolitan interdependence. I suggest a fourth alternative which synthesizes elements of each. Seyla Benhabib is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. This Dewey Lecture in Law and Philosophy was presented on January 15, 2020.
"Chief Justice John Roberts: Defining the Supreme Court as its Leader and at the Center" Joan Biskupic is a full-time CNN legal analyst and author of a 2019 biography of Chief Justice John Roberts. Before joining CNN in 2017, Biskupic was an editor-in-charge for Legal Affairs at Reuters and, previously, the Supreme Court correspondent for the Washington Post and for USA Today. This Ulysses and Marguerite Schwartz Memorial Lecture was presented on November 19, 2019.
One of Chicago’s Best Ideas was the Coase Theorem, which reminds us daily that people can bargain around law or even before legal intervention is sought. But do we have too much law and too little bargaining around it? The number of cases and judges has grown dramatically over time and many problems are outsourced to the legal system, rather than being handled person-to-person. In this talk, I will consider conventional explanations for the astonishing growth of the legal system, and then suggest that it is not entirely good news. We have become addicted to law, and like most addictions, this one is difficult to undo and likely to grow. Saul Levmore is William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law. This Chicago's Best Ideas talk was presented on November 5, 2019.
On the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court session opens. Each fall, the University of Chicago Law School invites faculty members to offer insight into some of the issues the Court will hear in the upcoming year. This year we heard from William Baude, Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar, and Anthony J. Casey, Professor of Law. Recorded on October 15, 2019, at The Standard Club in Chicago.
This keynote for the 2018 Legal Forum Symposium was recorded on November 2, 2018. Valerie B. Jarrett is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Law School and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Emily Buss is the Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law at the Law School.
One of the University of Chicago Law School’s best known ideas or outputs over the last fifty years is that the common law (made by judges and often passed down and adapted over many years) is efficient. It was an idea advanced by Richard Posner, with respect to tort law, in his time as a professor here, but it is also reflected in his and other judicial opinions which students across the country meet in almost every non-constitutional course. What does this idea really mean, and is it plausible or even correct? If yes, why did the common law decline in influence? Statutes and regulations have far more impact on our present-day lives than does the common law. Judges are now known and evaluated for their constitutional decisions rather than for what they do in contracts and torts and other areas that are often described as common-law subjects. Could the common law solve our current concerns about climate change and autonomous vehicles? Saul Levmore is the William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law. This Chicago's Best Ideas lecture was presented on October 15, 2018.
Supreme Court decisions affecting the constitutional rights of students in the nation's public schools have consistently generated bitter controversy. From racial segregation to unauthorized immigration, from antiwar protests to compulsory flag salutes, from economic inequality to teacher-led prayer: these are among the defining cultural issues that the Court has addressed in elementary and secondary schools. Drawing from his provocative new book, The Schoolhouse Gate, Justin Driver discusses the historic legal battles waged over education that continue to threaten our basic constitutional order. This talk was recorded on October 4, 2018, as part of the Law School's annual First Monday lecture series.
Does legal education matter? In this lecture, Professor Todd Henderson presents some data on this question, using the behavior of corporate executives as an instrument. Looking at the 10% of large, public company CEOs who are lawyers, the talk tries to determine whether CEOs trained as lawyers act differently than CEOs trained in other ways. Do lawyer CEO firms get sued more or less or the same as other firms? Do they manage litigation differently? And, if they do, what is the impact on the bottom line? There is a burgeoning literature on how personal characteristics, from physical traits to birth order to education, impact CEO decision making. The lecture discusses this literature as well, and situates legal education in it. This Loop Luncheon talk was presented on May 4, 2018. Download the slides (PDF): https://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/2018-05/loop_luncheon_2018_slides.pdf
The choice of new benchmark interest rate should be of special importance to practitioners as well as academics that study law and economics. As new alternative rates are being considered in the United States, this half day conference, co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Law School, brought together leading academics, as well as representatives from banks, law firms, swap dealers, regulators and others to share their views on design and implementation of new indexes in loan documents, swap agreements and other financial contracts. Dr. David Bowman, Special Adviser to the Board, Federal Reserve Board, delivers the keynote for the conference "Transition to New Interest Rate Benchmarks: SOFR, Ameribor and Beyond" on April 3, 2018. Introductory remarks by: Dr. Richard L. Sandor, CEO, American Financial Exchange and Aaron Director Lecturer in Law and Economics, University of Chicago Law School Robert S. Rivkin, Deputy Mayor of the City of Chicago Thomas J. Miles, Dean and Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Law School
With commentary by Professor Jonathan Masur John G. Malcolm oversees The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law as director of the think tank’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. In addition to his duties at Heritage, Malcolm is chairman of the Criminal Law Practice Group of the Federalist Society. Malcolm has previously served in both the public and private sectors. Among other positions, he has worked as general counsel at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, as executive vice president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America, as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, as a partner in the Atlanta law firm of Malcolm & Schroeder, and as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Atlanta fraud and public corruption section. Malcolm began his law career clerking for Judge James C. Hill on the Eleventh Circuit and for Chief Judge Charles A. Moye, Jr. on the Northern District of Georgia. Malcolm is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia College. Jonathan Masur received a BS in physics and an AB in political science from Stanford University in 1999 and his JD from Harvard Law School in 2003. After graduating from law school, he clerked for Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and for Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He joined the Law School faculty in 2007 and received tenure in 2012. He served as Deputy Dean from 2012 to 2014 and was named the John P. Wilson Professor of Law in 2014. He won the Graduating Students Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014 and 2017 and the Class of 2016 Award. He has served as director of the Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Program in Behavioral Law, Finance and Economics since its founding.
The idea that workplaces could benefit from an incest taboo is not one of Chicago’s best, but one of Margaret Mead’s. Professor Mary Anne Case has been promoting it and explaining its relevance to Title VII enforcement long before Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement gave it new relevance and visibility. Mary Anne Case is the Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law. This Chicago's Best Ideas lecture was presented on February 21, 2018.
A central question in law and economics is how people will behave in the presence of legal rules. An essential part of that inquiry is what makes people happy or unhappy – what increases or decreases their “subjective well-being.” There is ample evidence that individuals make decisions based in part on what they believe will improve their well-being. In order to understand how legal rules will influence behavior, it is thus vital to understand how those rules will affect happiness. More generally, viewing law through a hedonic lens can help legal policymakers determine whether (or not) a given law or policy will be beneficial for the individuals affected by it. Jonathan S. Masur is John P. Wilson Professor of Law, David and Celia Hilliard Research Scholar, and Director of the Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Program in Behavioral Law, Finance and Economics. The 2018 Coase Lecture in Law and Economics was presented on February 6, 2018.
Interpreting the language of contracts is the most common and least satisfactory task courts perform in contract disputes. In this Chicago’s Best Ideas lecture Professor Strahilevitz proposes to take much of this task out of the hands of lawyers and judges, entrusting it instead to the public. Strahilevitz’s research (written jointly with Professor Ben-Shahar) develops and tests a novel regime — the “survey interpretation method” — in which interpretation disputes are resolved though large surveys of representative respondents, by choosing the meaning that a majority supports. This method has rich potential to examine variations of contractual language that could have made an intended meaning clearer. A similar survey regime has been applied successfully in trademark and unfair competition law to interpret precontractual messages. To demonstrate the technique, Professor Strahilevitz applies the survey interpretation method to several real cases in which courts struggled to interpret contracts. Lior Jacob Strahilevitz is Sidley Austin Professor of Law. This Chicago's Best Ideas lecture was presented on January 31, 2018.
This lecture defends three main theses: (I) that all decisions about the degree of ambition for emissions mitigation are unavoidably also decisions about how to distribute risk across generations and, more specifically, (II) that the less ambitious the mitigation is, the more inherently objectionable the resulting inter-generational risk distribution is, and (III) that mitigation that is so lacking in ambition that it bequeaths risks that remain unlimited, when the risks could have been limited without inordinate sacrifice, is especially objectionable and constitutes a failure to seize a glorious historic opportunity. This Dewey Lecture in Law and Philosophy was presented on November 8, 2017, by Henry Shue, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Studies, and Merton College, University of Oxford.