Bolch Judicial Institute
Bolch Judicial Institute
Addressing Racial Disparities in the Courts

Coping with Covid is a podcast and video series jointly produced by the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School and the American Law Institute examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the legal system. The series is hosted by David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of the American Law Institute. Videos of each episode are hosted here; podcast versions of the same programs are hosted on the American Law Institute website.

The Bolch Judicial Institute also is updating a page of resources and helpful links relating to the courts’ response to the coronavirus pandemic; find it here.

Addressing Racial Disparities in the Courts

8.3.20 | Season 1, Episode 8 | 57:39

Featuring

Cheri Beasley, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court
Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
Raymond Lohier, United States Court of Appeals Judge, Second Circuit
Charles Breyer, senior district judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Highlights

  • David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of the The American Law Institute, leads a panel discussion on how judges are working to address racial disparities in courts and to ensure equal justice for all litigants.
  • Leaders from the state and federal courts discuss how judges can address inequity in the courtroom as well as in the way justice is administered, through implicit bias training; reform of fees, fines, and bail practices; and efforts to ensure equal access to justice.
  • The panel discusses how sentencing guidelines have contributed to disparities and the role the courts can play in educating lawmakers and the public on the effects of laws, statutes, and policies.

The Plague of Excessive Force; Working Together to Find a Cure

7.02.20 | Season 1, Episode 7 | 1:01:24

Featuring

Lori Lightfoot, mayor of Chicago
Art Acevedo, chief of the Houston Police Department
Barry Friedman, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at NYU and the founding director of the NYU Policing Project
Ashley Allison, executive vice president of campaigns and programs at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Highlights

  • Host David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of The American Law Institute, and four distinguished colleagues address another ‘plague’ — police brutality and the use of excessive force — following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020.
  • They consider numerous reforms to address the issues of police brutality, including increased training and greater accountability for misconduct, state and national statutes to regulate police tactics, additional social services for BIPOC communities, as well as limiting arrests for nonviolent offenses and addressing a harmful police culture.
  • As Levi notes, much is riding on how America addresses issues of excessive force, including "the realization of our hopes for a justice system that protects and serves all Americans."

When Is It Safe to Work?

6.9.20 | Season 1, Episode 6 | 56:10

Featuring

Kim Askew, partner, DLA Piper
Patrick Casey, senior counsel, Sidley Austin LLP
Anton Hajjar, former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
Cynthia Estlund, Catherine A. Rein Professor of Law at NYU Law School
Samuel Estreicher, Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law, director, Center for Labor and Employment Law, and co-director, Institute of Judicial Administration, at NYU Law School

Highlights

  • Host David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of The American Law Institute, talks with experts on employment law who, in the interest of getting Americans back to work, call for a united approach between employees and employers.
  • The experts also discuss actions non-union vs. union employees can take to maintain their right to a healthy and safe workplace, responses from various federal labor agencies, and unique circumstances that may arise in regard to future litigation, as well as liability shields, concerted action discrimination, and various discrimination and privacy laws.
  • The panelists finally discuss changes that may result from the pandemic, such as the need for better law regarding non-employee contract and gig workers and increasing automation of jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Jury Trials, Mediation, and Complex Litigation

5.21.20 | Season 1, Episode 5 | 1:20:00

Featuring

Sherri Carter, Clerk of the Los Angeles Superior Court
Judge Karen Caldwell, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky
Judge Mark A. Drummond, Judicial Director of the Civil Jury Project at NYU School of Law and a retired judge for the 8th Circuit of Illinois
Judge Robin Rosenberg, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida
Judge Sam Thumma, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One
Judge Vaughn Walker, mediator, arbitrator, and special discovery master and a retired Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Highlights

  • Host David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of The American Law Institute, talks with judges and administrators about the future of trials, mediation, MDLs, and other court procedures that traditionally rely on in-person interactions.
  • The judges discuss how jury trials might be impacted by the public health emergency, including plans for social distancing in court rooms, working with prison and law enforcement officials to ensure defendant and witness safety, how the makeup of juries might be affected, and whether videoconferencing could ever work for criminal trials.
  • Panelists also discuss the promising possibilities of technology-aided proceedings that may outlast the pandemic, including videoconferencing for expert witness testimony, improved efficiency in court proceedings and workforce productivity, and opportunities to involve and train younger attorneys.

Leadership Perspectives from the Private Sector

5.12.20 | Season 1, Episode 4 | 57:58

Featuring

Ken Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck and Co.
Malini Moorthy, vice president and chief deputy general counsel of Medtronic, Inc.
Ivan Fong, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for 3M
Kate Adams, general counsel and senior vice president of legal and global security at Apple Inc.

Highlights

  • Host David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of The American Law Institute, and leaders from Merck, Medtronic, Apple, and 3M discuss the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic is transforming and impacting business across the world.
  • According to the panel, skyrocketing demand for medical equipment; unparalleled pressure to produce treatments and vaccines in record time; data privacy concerns amid efforts to track the virus; and managing employee safety and health worldwide are among the challenges many companies now face.
  • The panelists agreed that a lack of cooperation among various countries and governments presents stumbling blocks for multinational companies like theirs that rely on global supply chains and have employees and facilities all around the world.

How Law Schools are Educating Students and Fostering Community

5.1.20 | Season 1, Episode 3 | 1:01:20

Featuring

Kerry Abrams, the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law at Duke University
Vikram Amar, the Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law
Heather Gerken, the Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale Law School
John Manning, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
Jenny S. Martinez, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School
Jennifer Mnookin, the Dean and David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law at UCLA Law

Highlights

  • Host David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of the American Law Institute, talks with top law school deans about how they made the rapid transition to online learning and what the coming months and years might hold for law schools and students.
  • The deans say that faculty successfully learned new software and adapted their courses to digital platforms; students found ways to connect and support each other online; and courses, exams, and even social activities proceeded remarkably well in a new Zoom world.
  • The deans also discussed the financial impact of the pandemic on universities and law schools; they also discuss the pandemic's impact on the admissions process; planning for the 2020-21 academic year; students’ job prospects for summer and beyond; and the things they’ve learned that will benefit law schools in the future — as uncertain as that future may be.

Legal Services Organizations on the Front Lines

4.23.20 | Season 1, Episode 2 | 57:37

Featuring

Ronald Flagg, president of the Legal Services Corporation
Lynn Jennings, vice president of the Legal Services Corporation
Raun Rasmussen, executive director of Legal Services NYC
Laura Tuggle, executive director of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
Yvonne Mariajimenez, executive director of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County

Highlights

  • Host David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of the American Law Institute, interviews leaders from some of the country's largest legal aid agencies to learn how they are continuing to provide legal services during the pandemic.
  • Legal aid agencies say the public health crisis had exacerbated the already significant legal needs of their clients; created budget shortfalls nationwide that are reducing funding for legal services at a time when needs are higher than ever; and forced legal aid staff to work remotely with clients who often do not have access to the technology needed to facilitate remote meetings.
  • Panelists ask lawyers around the country to volunteer with local aid agencies and to help build public awareness of the critical need for civil legal aid.

How Courts Are Preserving Access to Justice

4.16.20 | Season 1, Episode 1 | 1:02:00

Featuring

Diane Wood, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago
Lee Rosenthal, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Houston
Bridget McCormack, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan, in Lansing
Nathan Hecht, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and president of the Conference of Chief Justices

Highlights

  • Host David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of the American Law Institute, and top state and federal judges discuss how courts are ensuring the continuity of operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The judges discuss the challenges of making such quick changes to court processes, including implementing video conferencing tools, changing deadlines, and adopting new rules for safe interactions in courthouses.
  • The judges also discuss how the changes that are being made now may outlast the pandemic and could ultimately improve access to the courts for the public.