The Faculty Podcast

Listen to lectures by—and discussions with—the University of Chicago Law School's eminent faculty, as well as some very special guests.

November 7, 2013

Ronald Coase (1910-2013), of Nobel Prize and University of Chicago Law School fame, influences almost every discussion in the modern law school. In this opening talk of the 2013-14 "Chicago's Best Ideas" (CBI) series, Professor Levmore begins by explaining the Coase Theorem -- probably Chicago's very best and certainly best known idea -- and why its appearance was so startling. The talk then moves to its present-day legacy. Is all bargaining suspect either because of wealth inequality or because of the "endowment effect" of law itself? Why don't we see more bargaining around legal rules? Is most "corruption" to be welcomed as Coasian bargaining, inasmuch as those parties are also bargaining around a rule? Is capitalism in modern China, the subject of Coase's last book, simply an example of a Coasian bargain for government itself, or at least for the prevailing economic system?  Are all interest groups "just" Coasian? Saul Levmore is William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on October 22, 2013.

October 24, 2013

Harvey Levin is an American television producer, lawyer, legal analyst and celebrity reporter. He is the founder of celebrity gossip website, He currently serves as Managing Editor and Executive Producer of TMZ Productions, Inc. 

Mr. Levin received his B.A. in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara  and his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1975. Following law school, he was an active attorney in California working in various legal roles in the entertainment industry -- most notably, he served as a legal reporter on KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where he reported on the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Mr. Levin later moved to New York to work as a legal analyst for the revival of The People's Court -- a show he had appeared on during the '80s and early '90s as a legal consultant. He later became host of the series in 1998.  Mr. Levin also served as creator and executive producer for Celebrity Justice from 2002 -- 2005. Harvey Levin then went on to launch which quickly took off to become one of the most-cited entertainment news sources, utilized by national network and local newsgathering organizations across the country.

This talk was recorded on October 14, 2013.

October 10, 2013

This talk was recorded on October 8, 2013, at the Law School's annual First Monday luncheon. Nicholas Stephanopoulos is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

September 26, 2013

This event was recorded on May 11, 2013 and was cosponsored by The University of Chicago Law School, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago, and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

September 12, 2013

As Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for three years under the Obama administration, Cass R. Sunstein oversaw a far-reaching restructuring of America's regulatory state. He discusses his book "Simpler: The Future of Government," in which he pulls back the curtain to show what was done, how it works, and why government will never be the same again. This talk was recorded May 14, 2013.

August 15, 2013

Based on media reports, it appears that sexual violence against women is increasing around the world, particularly in India and Egypt. Are the rates increasing or just the reporting of the crimes?  Governments and advocates around the world have been working on eradicating gender-based violence, including domestic violence and violence in prisons, for decades.  What are the challenges and successes that remain?  Professor Manjoo is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme.  As part of her work, Professor Manjoo conducts official missions to countries to investigate and issues recommendations to countries in an effort to address violence against women.   Since her mandate began in 2009, she has conducted missions to India, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Jordan, Zambia, the United States of America, El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, and Italy. This talk was recorded on May 14, 2013.

August 1, 2013

There has been an increase in the rate of women’s imprisonment in many countries around the world.  Yet many countries fail to adequately address the unique issues raised when women are deprived of their liberty.  The panelists will discuss the causes of the increase in rates of imprisonment, including the global war on drugs and drug use.  They will also address the conditions of women’s imprisonment, such as lack of gender-specific healthcare, shackling during childbirth, and sexual violence in prisons.   The increase in women's imprisonment impacts children and families.  To address this, some countries such as Argentina have prisons where children up to 4 years old can live with their mothers.  What are the benefits and challenges of this? What are the alternatives to this?  The panel will discuss issues relating to women’s imprisonment from an international and comparative perspective.  What can countries learn from each other’s practices?  To what extent are the Bangkok Rules recently adopted by the UN being implemented in women's prisons around the world?  The findings and recommendations from the human rights clinics' research on Argentina will also be discussed.  

Moderator:  Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences


  • Mikhail Golichenko, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • Andrea Huber, Policy Director, Penal Reform International (London)
  • Sital Kalantry, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School
  • Silvia Martinez, Director of the Prison Commission of the Public Defender’s Office in Argentina, Argentina,
  • Gail Smith, Founder and Senior Policy Director, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers

Student speakers:

  • Jullia Park, J.D. Candidate, 2014, University of Chicago Law School
  • Jamie Stinson, J.D. Candidate 2014, Cornell Law School

This event was recorded on May 14, 2013.

July 18, 2013

Civil war is like pornography--we think know it when we see it. Yet ideas of civil war have a long and contested history with multiple meanings and contested applications. This lecture offers a critical history of conceptions of civil war, with special attention to its legal definition since the nineteenth century. The application of the term “civil war” can depend on whether you are a ruler or a rebel, the victor or the vanquished, an established government or an interested third party. It can also determine whether outside powers intervene, which provisions of international humanitarian laws, and what international aid bodies like the World Bank are willing to invest in war-torn countries. Conflict over its meaning, as well as the meaning of conflict, demand historical reconstruction to illuminate contemporary confusions about civil war.

David Armitage is is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Harvard University. This talk, the 2013 Fulton Lecture in Legal History, was recorded May 9, 2013.

July 8, 2013

Constitutions are quintessentially national documents, expressing the fundamental values of a sovereign people. They are traditionally interpreted and enforced by local constitutional courts. Yet increasingly constitutions must be understood in a transnational environment: they are produced with the help of international actors; they are interpreted by international bodies and foreign states; and they are even enforced from abroad on occasion. In this context, a particularly interesting development is a recent proposal by the President of Tunisia to establish a formal international court to adjudicate constitutional issues. The talk will consider this proposal.

Tom Ginsburg is Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. This talk was recorded on May 8, 2013, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

June 20, 2013

When President Gerald Ford nominated Edward Levi to be the Attorney General, Levi took over an office that had been marred by the corruption of the Watergate scandal. Levi's efforts to bring transparency, independence and integrity back to the Justice Department restored public confidence at a pivotal stage in U.S. history. To mark the publication of the new book, "Restoring Justice: The Speeches of Attorney General Edward H. Levi" by Jack Fuller, a distinguished panel joins us to discuss his impact on the office and its evolution. Formal remarks by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are followed by a panel discussion that included John Ashcroft, '67, former U.S. Attorney General, former U.S. Senator (R-MO), Jack Fuller, author of "Restoring Justice: The Speeches of Attorney General Edward Levi" and former special assistant, U.S. Department of Justice, 1975-76, and Geoffrey Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Law School. IOP Director David Axelrod and Law School Dean Michael Schill provided introductory remarks.

This event was recorded on April 30, 2013 and sponsored by the Institute of Politics and the Law School.