‘Common Law’ Kicks Off Season With ‘Taboo’ Topic

Professor Kimberly Krawiec Discusses Her Work on Repugnant Transactions
Podcast guests

Photos by Julia Davis, Jesús Pino and iStock/illustration by Warren Craghead

October 20, 2022

A “taboo” topic is launching the fifth season of the podcast “Common Law” at the University of Virginia School of Law.

In a continuation of the last season, called “Co-Counsel,” the podcast is returning with host Dean Risa Goluboff and four rotating co-hosts. On the first episode, available now, Goluboff and Professor Cathy Hwang interview their colleague Kim Krawiec, whose scholarship focuses on what some scholars call “repugnant” transactions, such as commercial surrogacy, sperm and egg donation, organ donation and sex work.

Krawiec hosts her own podcast, “Taboo Trades,” with the help of UVA Law students who serve as researchers and interviewers on the show.

Krawiec, the Charles O. Gregory Professor of Law and Sullivan and Cromwell Professor of Law, is also an expert on the regulation of financial markets and business organizations. Before joining academia, she was a member of the commodity and derivatives group at the New York office of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. As she describes in the “Common Law” episode, derivatives at one point were considered gambling contracts, even though by the time she was a lawyer they were an essential part of financial markets. That realization spurred her interest in exploring other kinds of forbidden transactions that have become, or might become, more accepted over time.

The episode focuses on her recent paper “Markets, Repugnance and Externalities,” published in the Journal of Institutional Economics this summer, which counters the claim that taboo trades necessarily harm society at large.

Co-Counsel, Take Two

Danielle Citron, John Harrison and Gregory Mitchell also are returning as co-hosts for the fifth season. Each are joining Goluboff, who was a host when the show launched in 2019, to discuss cutting-edge research on law topics of their choice.

“We called our last season ‘Co-Counsel’ because my co-hosting colleagues brought their own expertise to the table, just as you would gather experts for major litigation or a trial,” Goluboff said. “It was so much fun, and offered such a rich vein of subjects, that we decided to do it again.”

The season has eight episodes planned; four are scheduled for the fall and four in the spring (starting in February), with episodes posting every two weeks.

Other guests scheduled to appear this season are UVA Law professors Payvand Ahdout, Alison Gocke, Bertrall Ross and Elizabeth Rowe. Three professors from other universities are also scheduled to join: University of Utah law professor Teneille Brown, an expert on law and the biosciences; James L. Gibson, an expert in law and politics who serves as a professor of government at the Washington University in St. Louis; and Susan S. Silbey, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is an expert in complex organizations and risk management.

“Common Law” is available on Apple PodcastsStitcherYouTubeSpotify and other popular podcast sources. The show is produced by Emily Richardson-Lorente.

Past seasons have focused on “The Future of Law,” “When Law Changed the World” and “Law and Equity.”

You can follow the show on the website CommonLawPodcast.com or Twitter at @CommonLawUVA.

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