On UnCommon Law, legal issues, public policy, and storytelling collide. We'll explore the most important legal stories of the day: Is affirmative action in college admissions constitutional? Is it time to kill the bar exam? Should social media face special legal scrutiny? What are law firms doing to fix their lack of diversity? Produced and hosted by Matthew S. Schwartz. Winner of the 2023 American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts.
Can a Haunted House Go Too Far? 'Carrie' Scare Leads to Lawsuit
26:48When Scott Griffin visited the Haunted Trail, he expected to be scared. But he did not expect what happened after he thought the scare was over. This special Halloween episode of UnCommon Law tells the true story of a man terrorized by a haunted house attraction. Griffin bought a ticket to a haunted house — but ended up getting more than he bargained for: two broken wrists. He sued for negligence and assault. Can someone who paid to be frightened sue when things go too far? Guests: P. Christopher Ardalan, attorney at Ardalan & Associates, PLC Larry Levine, law professor at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5. If Lina Khan's FTC Bans Noncompete Clauses, What Happens Next?
47:10In the conclusion of UnCommon Law's season-long exploration of noncompete agreements, we look at the Federal Trade Commission's authority to ban the clauses nationwide. We’ve reviewed how the ban would work and explored the policy arguments for and against it. Now we delve into a more fundamental question: Does the FTC even have the power to make a substantive rule like this one? It's been 50 years since the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FTC has substantive rulemaking power. We’ll learn about that case — National Petroleum Refiners Association v. FTC — we’ll find out why it’s so important to the FTC, and we’ll hear why many believe it would not turn out the same way today. But that's not all! Even if courts follow National Petroleum, could the FTC get past the major questions doctrine? The season finale of UnCommon Law features: Richard Pierce, professor at the George Washington University Law School Dan Papscun, antitrust reporter for Bloomberg Law Sean Heather, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Sandeep Vaheesan, legal director at the Open Markets Institute Orly Lobel, professor at the University of San Diego School of Law Matt's baby Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
SPECIAL REPORT: The End of Affirmative Action in College Admissions
28:14The Supreme Court has effectively ended the use of race as a factor in college admissions. In a 6-3 ruling, along ideological lines, the divided Supreme Court struck down the admissions programs of Harvard and the University of North Carolina, which both used race as a factor in their admissions process. Today, on this special edition of UnCommon Law, we’ll learn how the court came to its decision. And: Did the majority leave the door open for colleges to still consider race in some circumstances? We’ll learn why some supporters of affirmative action still have a glimmer of hope. Featuring: Ted Shaw — Professor at the University of North Carolina, and past president of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund Michelle Adams — Professor at the University of Michigan Law School Lee Bollinger — Outgoing president of Columbia University, and former president of the University of Michigan Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4. The Case Against the FTC's Proposed Ban on Noncompetes
30:28In its proposal to ban noncompete agreements nationwide, the Federal Trade Commission has touted the potential benefits to workers and the economy. But how would a ban impact business owners? This week on UnCommon Law, part four of our series on the agency's proposal. Why are so many business owners so adamant that they need to be able to use noncompetes, even when other legal tools — like trade secret laws and nonsolicitation agreements — might protect companies without limiting employee mobility? Featuring: Russell Beck, trade secrets and employment mobility lawyer; founder at Beck Reed Riden LLP Paul Dacier, EVP and general counsel at Indigo Agriculture; formerly EVP and general counsel at EMC Corporation Syreeta Mitchell, president and CEO of MPower Logistics Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3. Did California's Noncompete Ban Fuel Silicon Valley Innovation?
21:33California is one of just three states where noncompete agreements are almost completely banned. California is also the home of Silicon Valley, the global hub of technological innovation. Is that just a coincidence? Or would Silicon Valley be as successful even if noncompete agreements were allowed? This week on UnCommon Law, part three of our ongoing series on the Federal Trade Commission's proposal to ban noncompete agreements nationwide. Is California’s ban on noncompete agreements really a key component to Silicon Valley’s success? Guests: Evan Starr, professor at University of Maryland Margaret O'Mara, professor at the University of Washington Ronald Gilson, professor emeritus at Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School David Schultz, host of Bloomberg Law's On the Merits Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2. A Hair Stylist and Salon's Legal Battle: A Noncompete Case Study
34:43This week on Uncommon Law: the second episode in our podcast series about the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed nationwide ban on noncompete agreements. We’ll look at one Minnesota hair salon and see how noncompete agreements often play out in the real world. What happens when employees leave the hair salon and try to strike out on their own? Guests: Heidi Hautala, a hair stylist in Minnesota Evan Starr, professor at University of Maryland Emily Olson, a hair stylist in Minnesota Kylee Simonson, owner of Simonson's Salon & Spa Chris Penwell, attorney at Siegel Brill The case discussed in this episode is Simonson's Salon and Spa vs. Heidi Hautala, Docket No. 27-CV-15-5647 (Minn. Dist. Ct. Apr 03, 2015) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1. 'She Can't Own Me': Inside the FTC's Proposed Ban on Noncompetes
20:25This season on UnCommon Law, we’re exploring one of the most expansive Federal Trade Commission proposals of the last half century: a near-total nationwide ban on noncompete clauses. We’ll examine arguments for the ban, and talk to workers who’ve had their livelihoods crushed by oppressive covenants not to compete. We’ll look at arguments in favor of keeping noncompetes, and talk with business owners who say they’re crucial for keeping trade secrets confidential and protecting business relationships. Finally, we’ll explore a more fundamental question: Does the FTC even have the legal authority to do this? Our first episode explores how this unprecedented proposal came to be. To understand just how out-of-the-ordinary this proposal is, we'll journey into the history of the agency, whose past rulemakings got them labeled the "national nanny" by the Washington Post, and led to threats of defunding. Guests: Emily Olson, hair stylist Leah Nylen, Bloomberg News reporter Sandeep Vaheesan, legal director of the Open Markets Institute Evan Starr, professor at the University of Maryland Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Why Does the FTC Want to Banish Noncompetes? [Trailer]
1:57This season on UnCommon Law, we’re exploring one of the most expansive Federal Trade Commission proposals in modern history: a nationwide ban on noncompete clauses. Coming May 31st. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4. Affirmative Action's Diversity Dilemma Spells Its Doom
37:00It’s been almost 20 years since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, intentionally or not, set an affirmative action countdown in motion. On Oct. 31, the Supreme Court heard arguments that Harvard and the University of North Carolina go too far in their use of race in admissions. Will the diversity rationale — the heart of affirmative action defenses since 1978 — convince this staunchly conservative court? Also, while diversity has been the reason affirmative action has survived legal tests — was it ever the best reason, under the Constitution, for affirmative action? Or have advocates been hamstrung by an argument that doesn't go far enough? Are race-conscious admissions policies about to fall? The conclusion to our four-part series on affirmative action at the Supreme Court. Guests: Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions William Lee, partner at WilmerHale Kimberly Robinson, Supreme Court reporter for Bloomberg Law Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University Ted Shaw, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law Michelle Adams, professor at the University of Michigan Law School Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3. Meet Affirmative Action's Biggest Foe, Edward Blum
20:23For decades, over multiple decisions, the Supreme Court has been clear: The U.S. Constitution allows colleges to take race into account when they craft their incoming classes. And yet race-conscious admissions policies continue to face attacks. Today, on part three of our four-part series on affirmative action, we’ll meet the man who has perhaps done more than any other in recent memory fighting to end the use of race in America’s public policies. Will Edward Blum be successful in convincing today’s solidly conservative high court to end affirmative action in education? Guests: Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions Ted Shaw, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law Garrett Epps, professor at the University of Oregon School of Law Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices