University of Virginia School of Law professor Molly Bishop Shadel is one of four law professors leading a new class offered by The Great Courses, Law School for Everyone.

The Great Courses’ programming — which is available through video download, audio download, video or CD — is aimed at lifelong learners seeking affordable educational experiences from top faculty. The law class, which includes 48 lectures that will be available at starting Sept. 22, is designed to educate viewers about the complexities of the legal system and the foundational role that law has played in American history.

Selected from hundreds of professors, Shadel filmed 12 lectures that frame the course as a whole and focus on the importance of litigation in the American legal system.

“I thought an interesting way to approach this would be to use famous trials, so I picked some of my favorites — the trial of George Zimmerman, the O.J. Simpson trial, the trial of William Kennedy Smith,” she said. “I have used some of this material in the past in the classes I teach at UVA, but going into the trials in-depth for The Great Courses has given me new insights that I’ll be incorporating into my classes here this semester.”

Shadel, an expert in public speaking and a former attorney in the Justice Department’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, said the experience was “surprisingly intimidating.”

“You would think that I would feel completely comfortable being filmed, since I teach public speaking for a living. But The Great Courses uses a state-of-the-art television studio with impressive sets and multiple cameras, including one that follows you around and sometimes zooms in on your face. I had to learn how hit my mark, how to turn to face the correct camera at the correct time, and how to keep going without being distracted by a camera zooming around my head,” she said. “My UVA students are going to benefit from this because I have been freshly reminded of what it feels like to be nervous about speaking in public.”

The other professors teaching Law School for Everyone are Joseph L. Hoffmann of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, Peter J. Smith of George Washington University School of Law, and Edward K. Cheng of Vanderbilt Law School.

Shadel is the author of two books: "Finding Your Voice in Law School: Mastering Classroom Cold Calls, Job Interviews, and Other Verbal Challenges" (Carolina Academic Press, 2013) and "Tongue-Tied America: Reviving the Art of Verbal Persuasion" (with Robert N. Sayler, Wolters Kluwer Law & Businesss, 2011, 2d ed. 2014, She is also a core planning faculty member of the University's Leadership in Academic Matters program, a biannual, semester-long leadership course for University of Virginia professors and administrators. After graduating from Harvard University and prior to attending law school at Columbia, Shadel studied theater at Northwestern University’s graduate directing program and directed plays professionally in New York.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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