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.

July 26, 2012

The 2011-12 Dewey Lecture in Law and Philosophy, recorded on February 29, 2012, was presented by Elizabeth Anderson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan.

Critics of every social insurance proposal in the U.S., including recent health care reform, have called them socialist attacks on private property. To be sure, social insurance is a central pillar of social democracy, and social democratic parties originated in a socialist critique of capitalism. Yet the equation of social insurance with socialism is doubly ironic. The first realistic proposal to abolish poverty by means of universal social insurance was Thomas Paine, who explicitly advanced his scheme as a defense of private property against socialist revolutionaries. And the first actual social insurance scheme was introduced by Otto von Bismarck, who advanced it against the German Social Democratic Party, which opposed his plan. This talk will consider how Paine grounded the justification of social insurance in a neo-Lockean theory of private property rights, and explore the implications of the ironic inversion of social insurance from a bulwark of to a perceived assault on capitalism.

July 12, 2012

This introduction to the Law School clinical programs was recorded on May 17, 2012. It included representatives from the following clinics:

  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic – Randolph Stone
  • Mental Health Advocacy Clinic – Mark Heyrman
  • Employment Discrimination Clinic – Jeff Leslie            
  • Exoneration Project Clinic – Tara Thompson
  • Abrams Environmental Law Clinic – Mark Templeton
  • Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic – Craig Futterman
  • Federal Criminal Justice Clinic – Alison Siegler
June 21, 2012

This talk, recorded on May 1, 2012, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series, puts in an explicitly Coasian context some of the speaker's prior work on the new reproductive technologies and on analogies in the evolution of the laws governing marriage and business corporations. Just as one is now generally free, as Coase observes, to structure one's business affairs in corporate or partnership form, as a franchise operation, or as a sole proprietorship through a series of individual, isolated market transactions, so both law and society now offer a variety of ways to structure one's personal life: the provision of sex and of care (for example, elder and child care) and the production of children can each now be outsourced or internalized within a legally recognized family structure.

Using analysis of both long history and the recent past to make predictions about possibilities for the future, the talk will remind listeners that the Mom and Pop production of children has been no more universal a model than the Mom-and-Pop business enterprise.

Mary Anne Case is Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

June 12, 2012

Remarks by Dean Michael Schill, Dan Doctoroff, '84 (CEO of Bloomberg LP and winner of the Distinguished Alumni Award), and R. H. Helmholz (Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Distinguished Service Professor of Law) at the 2012 Law School Hooding Ceremony in Rockefeller Chapel on June 9.

May 31, 2012

This discussion between Professor of Law M. Todd Henderson and Richard L. Sandor, (CEO, Environmental Financial Products, LLC, and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School) was sponsored by the Law School and Chicago Booth School of Business and was recorded on April 17, 2012.

May 17, 2012

Julie Brill, a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, participated in a fireside chat with Professors Randal Picker and Lior Strahilevitz on Thursday, April 26, 2012.

Julie Brill was sworn in as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission on April 6, 2012. Since joining the Commission, Ms. Brill has worked actively on issues most affecting today's consumers, including protecting consumers' privacy, encouraging appropriate advertising substantiation, guarding consumers from financial fraud, and maintaining competition in industries involving high tech and health care.

Commissioner Brill has received several national awards for her work protecting consumers. She has testified before Congress, published numerous articles, and served on many national expert panels focused on consumer protection issues such as pharmaceuticals, privacy, credit reporting, data security breaches, and tobacco. Commissioner Brill has also served as a Vice-Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association.

Commissioner Brill graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and from New York University School of Law, where she had a Root-Tilden Scholarship for her commitment to public service.

May 3, 2012

Scheming Washington insiders, Congressional power plays, and allegations of pedophilia were not enough to keep James C. Hormel, Class of 1958, from becoming America’s first openly gay ambassador. In his new memoir, Fit to Serve, Jim recounts a life of public service and private struggle, from his privileged childhood in the Minnesota meatpacking family to the long, personal journey and six-year fight that culminated in his appointment in 1999 as Ambassador to Luxembourg. This history might have been different were it not for University of Chicago protesters who shook Jim – then dean of students at the law school (1961-67) – from his conventional life and onto the path to social justice. Hear Jim Hormel’s insights into his ambassadorial quest and his perspective on what the rebellious Chicago students of the 1960s have in common with their peers today. This talk was recorded January 25, 2012.

April 19, 2012

In this 2012 Coase Lecture on Law and Economics, Professor M. Todd Henderson examines the rise of pay for performance in corporate America, and considers several puzzles about legal regulation of executive compensation and the use and non-use of performance incentives in other areas, ranging from hospitals to schools to government bureaucracies. It was recorded on January 24, 2012. Todd Henderson is Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

April 5, 2012

How has the Supreme Court confirmation process changed over the years? Are members of the Senate more prone to oppose nominees today than they were in the past? If so, to what extent is this due to the controversy over the Bork nomination? Professor Stone will discuss these and other questions arising out of the process by which the Senate does -- or does not -- confirm a President's nominees to the Supreme Court. This Chicago's Best Ideas talk was recorded January 26, 2012, and was sponsored by Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP. Geoffrey Stone is Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

March 22, 2012

In 1937, Ronald Coase asked a profound question: if markets are so efficient at allocating resources, why are so many resources allocated within firms?  Coase’s answer was that market allocation entailed transactions costs and, when these were very high, transactions will take place within firms. Oliver Williamson, a Nobel Prize winner like Coase, elaborated on the sorts of transactions costs that discouraged market transactions. Among these was the holdup problem: buyer agrees to pay a set price for a widget to be supplied by seller at some future date, but when the date arrives the seller demands a higher price. Oliver Hart, with co-authors Sanford Grossman and John Moore, suggested this problem could be overcome if the buyer owns a key asset of the seller or the seller’s whole firm. This can prevent the seller from holding up the buyer. In this manner Hart et al. transformed Coase’s theory of how large firms were into a theory of who owns firms. Since then there have been numerous efforts to demonstrate that asset ownership or integration is not necessary to overcome the holdup problem. In this presentation, Professor Malani will describe a number of surprising contract provisions that can be used to tackle the holdup problem and how contract law can affect the scope and ownership of firms.

This talk was recorded on November 9, 2011 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series. Anup Malani is Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.