UC Hastings Launches ‘Law and the Pandemic’ Podcast

UC Hastings Law has launched a short-form podcast series, “Law and the Pandemic,” to share insights relating to some of the most pressing legal issues arising from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.

In each episode, faculty tackle some of the thorniest questions of the moment, from whether the government has the authority to impose shelter-in-place restrictions to how patent law may make it more difficult to bring life-saving drugs to market at an affordable cost. Some episodes focus on practical questions, such as the barriers to creating advance care directives online or who qualifies for a stimulus check. Some upcoming episodes will address theoretical issues, such as how creating online bank accounts for all individuals would even the playing field between consumers and big banks and get needed relief funding distributed more quickly.

“Right now, what we need most is information we can trust,” said producer and co-host Areca Smit, Associate Director for Electronic Media at UC Hastings Law. “We launched this podcast to share our faculty’s expertise with the public and, in that sense, do our share in working toward solutions.”

“We have scholars who have been working on issues that are very pertinent to this crisis. We wanted to create a vehicle for sharing their knowledge and expertise in a way that could help individuals, businesses, advocates, and policymakers access that knowledge.”

The series is co-produced by LexLab, UC Hastings’ Center on Legal Technology and Innovation. LexLab Director Drew Amerson serves as producer and co-host with Smit. “We wanted to cover both practical information and ask serious legal questions about how the law can help us manage the pandemic,” Amerson said.


  • Professor Hadar Aviram on why people inside the California prison system are so susceptible to COVID-19 and how their plight presents risks for the rest of us
  • Professor Matt Coles on the government’s ability to impose shelter-in-place orders and what rights citizens have under the U.S. Constitution
  • Professor Dorit Reiss on how vaccines are developed and other tools being deployed to combat COVID-19
  • Professor Robin Feldman on potential obstacles to the development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and how Big Pharma’s use of the patent system may make widespread dissemination more challenging
  • Professor Joan C. Williams on how the pandemic is changing workplace and family roles and the long-term implications of widespread telework
  • Professor Manoj Viswanathan on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and who is getting what money and why
  • Professor Amy Spivey on the economic-impact payments and logistical questions about who gets a check and when
  • Professor Sarah Hooper on how to complete an advance care directive in the age of social distancing

Access these wherever you get your podcasts or via the podcast home site, www.uchastings.edu/pandemic. Additional episodes are in production.

For media inquiries, please contact Susan Kostal at kostalsusan@uchastings.edu.