Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Dean Gerken Launches New Podcast Series

Inside Yale Law School with Dean Heather K. Gerken podcast logo

A new podcast series launched by Dean Heather K. Gerken at the onset of her second term will feature an in-depth look at the scholars, thinkers, teachers, and gamechangers of Yale Law School.

The Inside Yale Law School podcast brings together Gerken with members of the Law School’s trailblazing faculty in a series of conversations to discuss their scholarly work, teaching, and more. In each episode, Gerken speaks with one of the professors who make Yale Law School “so vibrant and unique.”

“One of the best parts of my job is the time spent talking about ideas with some of the most interesting people on the planet,” Gerken said. “This is a chance for others to tune into those conversations and even hear a little about the human beings behind the ideas.”

The podcast premiered on Sept. 6 with three initial episodes. In one, Clinical Professor of Law Miriam Gohara describes the work of her Peter Gruber Challenging Mass Incarceration Clinic, in which her students apply capital sentencing mitigation work to non-capital cases, a novel approach. Gohara explains that showing judges an explanation for someone’s behavior that includes their historical context as victims of poverty and violence while also showing evidence of that person’s rehabilitation is a “winning combination” that has spared the clinic’s clients an average of five years of incarceration.

“I don’t think you can do this work effectively unless you engage with and believe in the humanity of the people on the other side of the aisle,” Gohara tells Gerken in the episode. “One of the things that I teach the students is that we’re going to have the best chances of success for our clients if we can tap into people who you might not expect to support our clients’ position, but who do.” She also discusses her current book project comparing different victims’ rights movements in the U.S. and their visions for the future.

In another episode, John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge Jr. ’78 discusses why statutory interpretation is a critically important topic, since, he argues, it touches every aspect of American constitutionalism and life. Eskridge also details his decades-long scholarly role in the marriage equality movement, a deeply personal enterprise for him as gay man. He also shares a peek inside his award-winning 2020 book Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws, written with Christopher R. Riano, which Gerken describes as “the definitive history of the marriage equality movement.”

“Once you get ahold of the truth, you should never let go of it,” Eskridge says about his decades of advocacy work on behalf of LGBTQ people. “And you should never stop talking about it until other people are persuaded.”

In a third introductory episode, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law Tracey L. Meares describes her educational trajectory, including an undergraduate engineering degree, and talks about what it was like to be the only person of color and one of few women on the faculty at the University of Chicago Law School as a 25-year-old. Meares also discusses her work at Yale Law School as Founding Director of The Justice Collaboratory, a center blending theory and practice through rigorous scholarship and work to find evidence-based solutions.

“Our tagline is ‘serious science, serious impact,’ and we mean it,” Meares says in the episode. “[The question of] how to improve trust in legal authorities like police officers while keeping people safe in their communities is an intensely practical question, but it’s also an importantly theoretical and aspirational one that’s consistent with the work I’ve been doing the last 20 years.”

The Inside Yale Law School podcast will continue with new episodes monthly. Future episodes will include Dean Gerken in conversation with Jacquin D. Bierman Professor Anne Alstott ’87, Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law Justin Driver, and Guido Calabresi Professor of Law Daniel Markovits ’00.