Newsletter: What Does it Take to Tip the Scales?

May 5, 2015



Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can prohibit judges from openly asking for money. “Judges are not politicians,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts, “even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot.”

This week, we take you to the Supreme Court. Did you know you can hear the Court’s oral arguments? Producer Casey Miner listened to the tapes after they were posted by the Court and picked out the raciest bits.

How will the Supreme Court’s recent decision affect courts across the U.S.? Thirty-nine states elect their judges, sometimes in cut-throat, partisan elections.Life of the Law’s Reporter Ashley Cleek has been looking into judicial elections in Alabama, one of the first states where electing judges got rough.  Listen here.


Meet Our Team: Tide Center Advisors!


In August 2014, Life of the Law became a project of the Tides Center, a community-driven fund that supports non-profit organizations. As a Tides Project, we are supported by a team of advisors, who provide organizational, human resources, legal, financial, and structural oversight and assistance. It’s pretty amazing. Two advisors we work most closely with are Michael Quan and Kathryn Snyder.  We’ll let them take if from here.

Michael: I am a Project Accountant for Tides Center which provides non-profit management services to organizations working on the front lines of environmental sustainability, social justice, human rights, health, and community development. As a Project Accountant, I help a caseload of projects manage their financial assets and understand cash flow realities so they can better make strategic and human resource decisions effectively.

I started my career in finance and accounting in the for-profit sector and learned a lot from my corporate experience, such as the importance of reconciling to the penny, preparing user-friendly financial reports that effectively tie to the general ledger, and creating thorough audit trails. This experience proved valuable as I moved into the non-profit sector.Outside of Tides, I am co-founder of a small business, Alyxia Leaf, which strives to bring our customers closer to nature. Alyxia Leaf gathers beautiful treasures from nature, then preserves them in precious metals to create exquisite objects to wear or display. I’m also an assistant karate teacher at Seido, a dojo whose aim is to develop students with the highest level of physical skill and moral character. I serve on the board of Apicha Community Health Center, a federally qualified health look-a-like center whose service delivery revolves around a “We care” philosophy. I learn so many important things from these aspects in my life and I I wholeheartedly bring what I experience back to my projects at Tides.

Kathryn: I am a Senior Advisor for Tides Center and have expertise in the areas of c3/c4 legal compliance, lobbying, ballot measures, and political work. As an Advisor, I provide service, support, and guidance to a portfolio of both fiscally sponsored and philanthropic service clients.I’m also a member of the California State Bar and graduated with a Juris Doctor from University of San Diego School of Law where I was a member of USD Law’s nationally ranked Mock Trial team, President of the Black Law Students Association, and co-founder of USD Law’s Diversity Committee.

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, am a member of HYPE (Horizons Young Philanthropists for Equality), serve as a CASA (Court appointed special advocate), and play on a women’s flag football team that has won the last six seasons!Prior to law school, I received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Bachelor of Science in Human Development, and a Minor in Communication from University of California, Davis. I enjoy everything food-related (except oddly, avocado) and am currently re-reading my Bell Hooks collection, after having just met my hero in person!


LIVE LAW 7 in Des Moines: A Success!


We had SUCH an amazing time at LIVE LAW 7 in Des Moines on April 29th!

Seven storytellers shared stories with a packed crowd at a downtown coffee shop. Hosted by Life of the Law’s Advisory Scholar, Renee Cramer, Associate Professor of Law, Politics and Society at Drake University. It was (one of) our most powerful LIVE LAW events yet and we can’t wait to share their stories with you!

Stay tuned for an exciting announcement about LIVE LAW — including updates on our next show in Seattle on May 30th. The theme for the night of live stories isPromises (and the law). Have a story you want to tell? We’re looking!!! Email Mary Adkins, our Senior LIVE LAW Producer… here.divider

What We’re Listening To Right Now


Sometimes, we’re in the mood to go back and listen to an oldie. A narrative we can’t get out of our head. A story that’s stuck with us since the very first listen. A voice, a character, or a scene we’ve thought about again, and again, and … again.

It’s been that kind of week here at Life of the Law. Our vintage story of choice: an act from This American Life about a woman who moved to a tough Mexican border city because her husband wasn’t allowed to live with her in the United States.

“The Real Housewife of Ciudad Juarez” is a classic. Listen here.

(Side note: The story was produced by our very own Ann Heppermann. Shh… there’s no bias here.) divider

Stay tuned for our next episode on May 19: Army of Investigators


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 

– Lao Tzu