NULJ hosts summer speaker series, discusses current events

The+logo+for+the+NULJ+Speaker+Series.+The+series+began+in+early+July.

Courtesy of NULJ

The logo for the NULJ Speaker Series. The series began in early July.

Jacob Fulton, Reporter

Amid a summer full of breaking news, the Northwestern Undergraduate Law Journal seeks to connect the American legal system with current events through its Summer Speaker Series.

The series, which started at the beginning of July, takes the form of a weekly podcast, where members of NULJ speak with NU professors and other legal experts on subjects ranging from free speech in relation to the recent Black Lives Matter protests to immigration law in light of recent Supreme Court cases about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Kelly Miller, NULJ’s co-editor in chief, said the podcast serves as an accessible opportunity for NU students, academics and other community members to understand the applicability of the law. The Weinberg junior said the conversations focus on including definitions of legal terms and incorporating background information so listeners can understand topics without extensive previous legal knowledge.

“The purpose behind the podcast is for the Northwestern community to learn a little bit more about what working in these fields is like, especially during a time like right now,” Kelly Miller said. “If you’re not really certain about wanting to go to law school or pursue a legal field, hearing about people’s work and their cases and what they research can give a little bit more of a guidance on that.”

NULJ Senior Editor Grace Gay said the publication was initially planning to release its first big project in the spring, but COVID-19 and remote work complicated those plans. As a result, she said Kelly Miller and Jamie Miller, the journal’s other co-editor in chief, proposed the idea of a speaker series to facilitate informative conversations in a less formal way than official submissions to the journal.

Gay, a Weinberg senior, said the staff’s familiarity with Zoom made the transition from written articles to podcasting easier, allowing for a smooth publication process.

“It’s been a really exciting process to get to talk with people who are actually involved in the minutia,” Gay said. “It’s fascinating, especially in this moment when everything is so up in the air that the justice system is having to adapt in new and unique ways.”

Jamie Miller, a Communication senior, said as a format, podcasting is convenient for listeners, as they can multitask while listening to the conversation. With podcast lengths ranging from 15 to 30 minutes, she said part of the podcast’s appeal comes from the fact that the issues NULJ is discussing aren’t limited to student concerns — issues such as free speech, mass incarceration and immigration affect all listeners.

Jamie Miller said moving forward, she expects the series to continue for the rest of the summer, and hopes to expand its coverage to also incorporate more targeted topics of interest for students at NU who are interested in pursuing law.

“We want to get it out to more Northwestern students,” Jamie Miller said. “One of our big goals is that we’re trying to do an LSAT or law school admissions podcast episode. So we’re not just talking about current events, but also using our platform to discuss other things that pre-law students would like to know more about.”

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