Chayet collection

Overview

The Neil Chayet collection of audio and transcripts from Looking at the Law documents the entire 42-year history (1976-2017) of the Looking at the Law radio program. The collection is the first of its kind at the Harvard Law School and includes: 10,651 digitized typed paper transcripts and more than 6,400 digitized audio recordings. Each transcript and its related audio recording (if available) represent a single episode of Looking at the Law. Please see the "Scope and Contents Note" in the collection's finding aid for more information about the program and the collection. 

Access Tools

Harvard Law School Library staff have created several tools for users to access the material:

  • A search form allowing users to perform full-text search across all of the transcripts
  • A browsable Master Document (Microsoft Excel workbook) containing the collection's entire dataset and links to each digitized transcript and audio recording
  • A Finding Aid providing additional information about the scope, arrangement, and history of the collection

This guide will help users navigate these tools to access the large amount of digital material.

Search the episode transcripts

Full-text search is available for all Looking at the Law transcripts. Select the tab at the top of this form to choose which date range to search across. 

Search Looking at the Law transcripts from 1976-1996

 

 

You can modify and/or combine search terms using the following:

  • quotation marks for exact phrase   ("Looking at the Law")
  • AND   (FBI AND cases)
  • NEAR   (FBI NEAR cases)
  • OR   ("Neil"  OR  "Chayet" )
  • NOT  (Neil NOT Chayet)

Full-text search is available for all Looking at the Law transcripts. Select the tab at the top of this form to choose which date range to search across. 

Search Looking at the Law transcripts from 1997-2017

 

 

You can modify and/or combine search terms using the following:

  • quotation marks for exact phrase   ("Looking at the Law")
  • AND   (FBI AND cases)
  • NEAR   (FBI NEAR cases)
  • OR   ("Neil"  OR  "Chayet" )
  • NOT  (Neil NOT Chayet)
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Browse the collection

Please note that some Firefox users have experienced trouble downloading the Master Document. Using a different web browser (e.g. Chrome or Microsoft Edge) should fix the problem.

The collection’s Master Document (Microsoft Excel workbook) allows users to access every existing transcript and audio recording at the individual episode level, as well as select audio at the Tape/CD level (a playlist representing the content found on a specific physical tape or CD). It also provides access to select metadata for individual episodes of Looking at the Law in a manner that is easy to navigate. If you do not have access to Microsoft Excel, the workbook can be imported into Google Sheets as is.

The Master Document is organized chronologically and contains six separate tabs: a “Read Me” tab with instructions, and one tab for each decade (e.g. 1976-1979, 1980-1989, etc.). Each tab includes the following eight columns containing useful information – from left to right – for every script/episode: Title | Parties in Case (if avalilable) | Assumed Broadcast Date | Transcript Link | Audio Link (if avalilable) | Link to Full Tape/CD Playlist (if available) | Citation Label | Notes.

Finding Aid

The finding aid provides information about the scope, arrangement, and custodial history of the collection. It also provides access to the audio recordings at the full tape/CD playlist level only (episode level access is not possible with this tool), as well as information about the additional material donated with the collection (Series III). 

To access the digitized audio recordings using the finding aid:

  • Click on a given decade (subseries) in Series II.
  • Within each decade will be a list of the various tapes and/or CDs that fit within the specific date range. E.g. “Looking at the Law Episodes 42 - 60, 1976” is located within the 1970s, 1976-1979 decade/subseries.
  • Clicking the digital object (blue box that reads "external link to digital material" when your mouse rests on or inside the box) will bring you to the playlist for that specific tape/CD.
  • Please Note that the digital audio available through the finding aid represents the content found on physical items (tapes/CDs), and exists through the end of 2006. All audio from 2007-2017 (and a select number before that) can only be accessed via the Master Document.

About the collection

Neil Chayet

Image courtesy of Martha Chayet

Neil Lewis Chayet (1939-2017) was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17, 1939. He was the son of a district court judge (Ely Chayet) and received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University in 1960 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (HLS) in 1963. Chayet pursued a legal career focused primarily on medical law and worked on several high-profile cases. He began his radio career as the host of Looking at the Law on April 1, 1976 and hosted every episode of the program (more than 10,000 in all) until its end on June 30, 2017. See the biographical note in the collection's finding aid for more information. 

The Neil Chayet collection of audio and transcripts from Looking at the Law, along with funding to digitize the transcripts and audio recordings, was generously donated to the Harvard Law School Library in July 2018 by Neil's wife, Martha Chayet. 

The collection was arranged, digitized, and made accessible by staff in HLSL's Historical & Special Collections and Digital Lab departments, as well as by Harvard Library Imaging Services and Media Preservation Services.

Contact us

Historical & Special Collections
specialc@law.harvard.edu
(617) 495-4550

Harvard Law School Library
Langdell Hall
1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138