Class Action

WITH KATIE PHANG

The Lawyer Podcast

A podcast documentary series about the next Generation of Lawyers

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About Class Action

Class Action is an immersive 12 part documentary podcast series about the next generation of lawyers, heard through the voices of law students competing in mock trial tournaments around the country.

The series will debut on June 7th on iHeart, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Producers spent a year following three law school teams and an undergraduate pre-law program.  The series follows a natural narrative arc of the season.  Just like in athletics, there are intensive bootcamps and scrimmages, then high-stakes tournaments against other schools. The cases range from mob murders, arson and to civil rights law.  And the action is fierce.

 

Class Action is a production of Sound Argument and iHeartMedia.  

Episodes

1. Boot Camp for Lawyers

The 100-degree heat in San Antonio won't stop St. Mary's University coach AJ Bellido de Luna from drilling his team on the fundamentals. “We’re going to be the largest populated school for Latino law students. These students are here to make a difference,” he says. And for coach Laura Rose at the University of South Dakota, being midwest nice has no place in a mock trial tournament. She lays down the law; “You guys are engaged in a highly competitive law school sport.”

12. The Promised Land

For the first time in its history, Dillard sends a team to the National Tournament! Dozens of teams from around the country descend on Lancaster, PA, to not only admire the trophies, but to battle each other in the old courthouse. Adria has brought her team to the Promised Land in what will be her last tournament with the team. History will be made.

4. The Battle of the Experts

Dawn breaks for the “Battle of the Experts.” In San Antonio, St. Mary’s team rookie Mariela Encinas prays for success at the Red Mass, the 13th-century Catholic ceremony that traditionally offers a blessing to the legal community for the upcoming court year. In South Dakota, the team gets stoked up on pasta and smoothies. Coach Rose makes it simple for her team, telling them “Blood makes the grass grow." Then, the judges call the trials to order, and it is on.

7. Don’t Mess with Texas

After a disappointing showing in the Battle of the Experts, the St. Mary's team is back together, determined to make a comeback. Mariela joins Andy, Jasmin and Cole, this time as an advocate. They pledge allegiance to Justice Sotomayor and Bad Bunny. The team is on the precipice of winning, only to face discrimination during a controversial semi-final round. Andy and her family celebrate El Grito.

10. Any Given Sunday

It’s been a grueling season for AJ’s St. Mary’s squad. Spirits are low. Exhaustion has creeped in. The Regional Competition is around the corner – and the case packet has just dropped. If they win in Houston, they advance to Nationals. Lose, and they go home. And standing in their way is perennial nemesis, Baylor University. The odds are low, but when the finals are held on a Sunday, anything can happen.

2. Breathe. Think. Relax.

It's boot camp graduation day at St. Mary's, and the nervous 2L’s must pass one final test before they can make the team: Cross-examine their coach in an actual courtroom. AJ is a former Marine. One by one, they march down Mosquito Alley in their suits. AJ is ready. “Some who you thought were going to do great are gonna fall flat on their face. Some who struggled, had a light bulb go off last night and are going to do fantastic. Everyone else is going to be in the middle.” Tears will be shed.

5. A Ram in the Bush

The undergraduate trial season at Dillard University gets off to a disastrous start as Hurricane Ida lays waste to the campus, forcing students into hotels for safety. Coach Adria Kimbrough must quickly re-assemble her team and get them prepped for its first competition at Ole Miss., where generations ago, Black students were denied entry. Times change and the Dillard team rallies, but some victories are bittersweet.

8. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Matt Skinner and Tyler Volesky are sons of prominent defense attorneys in South Dakota who honor their Native American heritage by fighting for justice. Matt takes us inside the Minnehaha County Public Defender’s office, where he argues in real court on behalf of a Native client. Tyler is following in his father's footsteps in both law and politics. But first, he must overcome some obstacles in the world of mock trial.

11. Why do you want to be a lawyer?

Mock trial is supposed to prepare you for a real trial. Andy and Jasmin are about to see if that’s true. They are going to face off in Bexar County Court for an actual case in front of a judge and jury. Special guests and law students from the various schools join in to share some of their favorite law tips and career advice.

3. Mob Hits and the H-E-B

“Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.” The first big tournament of the season is a murder case based on the plot of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. The teams are practicing saying “consigliere” and figuring out what the difference is between a “capo” and a “soldier.” In between we get a lesson on South Dakota geography (cowboy hats out west), and take a trip to H.E.B. (el Heb) for triple shot espressos.

6. Civil Rights and How to Make a Cup of Chai

Anjani Shah and Ellie Sands lead an all-female team from Brooklyn Law against an all-male team from Harvard University at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. National Civil Rights Competition. It’s an epic battle for an important cause. Anjani's immigrant parents watch the trial online, and her dad teaches us how to make a proper cup of chai. Back on campus, Ellie appeals to President Biden for clemency on behalf of her endangered client.

9. Survive and Advance

Adria is a fan of the philosopher Nick Saban, the decorated coach of the Alabama football team. She and Judge Kern Reese want their team to stay focused, be clear and concise. Tight. She sends her team to an invitational in Houston to see who is ready for the big time in the spring. The results are mixed. Back home in New Orleans, the team rallies and punches their ticket to the Regional Championship.