Life of the Law’s growing community of scholars, journalists, producers, editors, writers and attorneys are having a conversation about the law in American culture and society. How does the law work in the courtroom, on the streets and in our homes? Who makes decisions, and when can they be challenged? Is anyone above the law or is the law truly the great equalizer? What happens if the law fails and no one notices?

Through sound-rich narrative storytelling, investigative reporting, thoughtful analysis and research presented over multiple platforms, including bi-weekly podcasts, public radio airwaves, blog posts and live events, Life of the Law offers an opportunity for you to join a conversation about the law and the role it plays in our lives.


Life of the Law Co-Founders Nancy Mullane and Shannon Heffernan with Advisory Panel Scholar Austin Sarat.

Life of the Law Co-Founders Nancy Mullane and Shannon Heffernan with Advisory Panel Scholar Austin Sarat.

Advisory Panel Scholars

Amy Bach, Executive Director of Measures for Justice and author; Scott Barclay, Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute where he focuses on LGBT public opinion-related research; Peter Brooks,  Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar in the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University;  Renee Ann Cramer, Director & Professor, Program in Law, Politics, and Society, Drake University; Ben Fleury-Steiner, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, University of Delaware; Elizabeth Joh, Professor, UC-Davis School of Law; Anna-Maria Marshall, Associate Professor, Law & Sociology, University of Illinois; Ajay K. Mehrotra, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law and Louise F. Niezer Faculty Fellow Indiana University Maurer School of Law and adjunct Professor of History at Indiana University; Naomi Mezey, Professor, Georgetown Law;  Laura Beth Nielsen, Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, Associate Professor of Sociology & Director of the Center for Legal Studies, Northwestern University; Imani Perry, Professor, Center for African American Studies, Princeton University; David Onek, Executive Director of the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University Law School; Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence & Political Science, Amherst College; Heather Thompson, Associate Professor of History, Department of African American Studies and Department of History, Temple University


photo (44)Mary Adkins, Senior Editor is a writer and lawyer. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Atlantic, The New York Daily News and The Huffington Post and more, and her academic scholarship has been published in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, on which she was a board member. She graduated from Duke University and Yale Law School, where she co-directed the Domestic Violence Clinic for two years. Read highlights of her work at





IMG_5037Graham Gremore, LIVE LAW Producer is a writer and cartoonist born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and he is the co-founder and co-director of StoryFarm, a literary arts non-profit in San Francisco. His cartoons have garnered over 125,000 views on Youtube, and have been featured on websites including The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed.




20140817_1_0014Nancy Mullane, Co-Founder, Exec Director/Producer and Host is a writer, reporter, and photographer and has been a correspondent for This American Life, National Public Radio, Marketplace, Latino USA, and the NPR affiliates KALW News and KQED in San Francisco. In 2009, Mullane was awarded a Soros Justice Media Fellowship by the Open Society Foundations and in 2012 her first non-fiction book, Life After Murder: Five Men In Search of Redemption was published by PublicAffairs. In 2014, Penal Reform International presented Mullane with an award for her reporting on individuals serving death sentences. In 2013, Life After Murder was awarded the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s, Media for a Just Society Book Award. She is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists and the Association of Independents in Radio. In 2011, Nancy was the recipient of the National Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on This American Life, “Long Shot”


Kaitlin Prest

Kaitlin Prest, Senior Producer is an all around documentary audio artist and Executive Producer of Audio Smut, a sex positive radio show and art collective. Every few months Kaitlin directs the “Radio Cabaret” at Union Docs in Brooklyn, a public radio performance event. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Snap Judgment, at In the Dark as part of the International Features Conference in London, on Radiophonic Creation Day in France and was the winner of the 2010 NCRA award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary.




Simone Seiver, Social Media Editor is an undergraduate at Yale University. She is intrigued by radio, writing, and the law and is excited to blend all three in her work for Life of the Law. In school, she competes with Yale’s Mock Trial Team and co-hosts a storytelling radio show for WYBC. On the weekends, she tutors inmates at a Connecticut prison as they pursue their GEDs. She is a native of the Bay Area.




Phillip Wilt, Web Manager is a software developer based in Seattle, WA. He currently is a freelance developer for a number of international software development projects. Phillip attended the University of Washington where he studied mathematics, computer science, and digital arts. He is also an amateur photographer.




katie b photo_bioKatie Barnett comes to Life of the Law most recently from the Open Society Foundations in New York City where she supported US Programs’ grant making related to criminal justice, arts and culture. Now based in Philadelphia, Katie brings her knowledge and experience of nonprofit organizations and the funding landscape to her role as Life of the Law’s Philanthropy Coordinator. Katie holds degrees from Hunter College School of Social Work in New York City and Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.




imagesJulia Barton has been telling stories for radio, print and Web for more than two decades. She’s a correspondent for PRI’s The World and contributing producer for PRI’s Studio 360, among other programs. She’s been an editor for national programming at American Public Media, an International Reporting Project Fellow, and a staff reporter at WHYY/Philadelphia and WSUI/Iowa City. She’s also done extensive media training in the former Soviet Union. For recent work, go to Like all radio producing moms, Julia shares her work and scripts with her children.




cclarkeChristine Clarke is an employment lawyer at Beranbaum Menken LLP in New York City. She has published in Slate and writes an employment law blog at Wage Against the Machine.





Juan HainesJuan Haines is an inmate at San Quentin State Prison. He is Managing Editor of the San Quentin News and works as a jailhouse attorney.





Photo of Shannon HeffernanShannon Heffernan is a producer for Chicago Public Media/WBEZ’s in-depth reporting project Front and Center, where she has reported on everything from tribal fishing rights to the validity of GED testing. Prior to working at Chicago Public Media/WBEZ, Heffernan was awarded an Open Society Foundation Media Fellowship.





rajpictureRaj Jayadev is the Coordinator of the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project, an organizing model for families and communities to impact their criminal court systems. ACJP is a part of Silicon Valley De-Bug, an organizing and advocacy organization based in San Jose, CA. Contact him at [email protected]





Kyle Kaplan is an internationally based new media artist and performer. He has contributed to installations for NYC’s Harvestworks and Taipei’s National Palace Museum. He has had audiovisual performances in New York, Boston, Montreal, Los Angeles, and Taipei, including at Boston’s ‘Elecsonic’, Taiwan’s ‘Organik’ and ‘Lacking Sound Festival’, and Los Angeles’ ‘Breaking Open LA’. His work blends disparate emotional and textural elements, weaving soft ambiences with thick distortion, complex layers of percussion with delicate synths, nostalgic samples with abstract sound design. More sounds can be found at:


Lucas Profile Pic 2Lucas Mills is a television writer at Nickelodeon. He graduated from Yale Law School, where he was the Head Writer and Co-Director of the Yale Law Revue. He loves all sorts of storytelling, particularly when it’s animated.





Kim head shotKimberly Richman is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches courses on criminology, sociology of law, deviance, and prisoner reentry. She has authored two books and several articles on gay/lesbian family rights and same sex marriage, and is the co-founder and president of the board of directors of the non-profit Alliance for CHANGE, which works with incarcerated men in San Quentin State Prison and assists them in successful reentry upon parole.


Alisa_Roth headshotAlisa Roth is a radio and print reporter and has reported extensively from abroad, most recently in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Her work has been broadcast on Marketplace, where she spent several years as a staff reporter, NPR, and The World. Her print work has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and Gastronomica. A Fulbright scholar, she has received grants from the International Reporting Project and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.
031913 Sopen Headshot - TLOTLSopen Shah is a student at Yale Law School. She was previously an accomplished financial expert at Bloomberg and a management consultant at McKinsey & Company after graduating from Harvard. In addition to making frequent TV and radio appearances, she has been published in Businessweek magazine, Politico, The Hill, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and Talking Points Memo. She was Miss District of Columbia International in 2011 and Junior Miss Wisconsin in 2004.


Kate Tellers author photoKate Tellers is host of The Moth StorySLAMS in New York City. Her stories have  appeared in the New York Press, on the Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy (columnist), and on stages.@katadudle



IMG_2278Katherine Thompson is a teacher, and modern-day explorer living in Sydney, Australia. She has taught English, creative writing, and other subjects to students in Los Angeles, New York, and North Carolina, and was a winner in the UCLA Live Poetry Contest (judged by Billy Collins and Kay Ryan) in 2011. She loves traveling and being home, sleeping and being awake, and writing and receiving handwritten letters. She holds a B.A. in English from Duke University and an M.A. Ed. in English Education from Wake Forest University.





DCFC0002.JPGRebecca Worthington received her law degree from Duke University, and her undergraduate degree from Vassar. She currently practices law in Washington, D.C.






Life of the Law is supported by generous grants from the Open Society Foundations,  and the Law and Society Association. Graphic design and website design provided by Atul Varma and Jessica Brooke Klein. Logo design by Metography. Intellectual property advice provided by Shapiro Law. Life of the Law is a Project of the Tides Center.


All content produced (podcast, blog, website) by Life of the Law is the property of the executive producers. Content licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. is not the same as That site (now dormant) is/was a project of lawyer Andis Kaulins, now blogging at