Podcasts for lawyers, while not a new idea, seem to be coming back into vogue. Some of the longest running podcasts, launched in 2004 and shortly thereafter, remain go-to staples for curious attorneys.
Podcasting has not always been the communication tool of choice for attorneys but the last decade has seen some truly groundbreaking series that prove podcasting can be a useful medium.
Podcasting is a way to stay up-to-date, which can help attorneys stay current with developments in the law.
This is critical to professional development.
Rule 1.1 of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct states, “a lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.” In order to provide competent representation to a client, attorneys are told, in Comment 8, that, “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice.”
Where to find legal podcasts
Legal Talk Network (LTN) offers some terrific listening for a lawyer who needs to learn on the go, whether at work, on a commute or when relaxing. Legal Talk Network showcases podcasts that delve into the latest developments in various legal niches at https://legaltalknetwork.com/
Not sure what kinds of podcasts may be appealing? Check out the iTunes store and perform a search for lawyer, legal, law and then browse and choose podcasts that relate to a topic of interest. It is easy to get hooked on podcasts, and the upside is learning a lot in small, easily digestible doses without having to wade through a lengthy article. Listen long enough and you may even start thinking about creating your own podcast.
In addition to podcasts covering the workings of the law, there are a number of shows that offer stories analyzing current events, ranging from discussion of key Supreme Court cases with Radiolab Presents: More Perfect to a biweekly investigative report series on the law in The Life of the Law. The choices are virtually unlimited, and they can be played on demand to fit into a busy attorney’s life.
Our Top 12 Podcasts Picks for 2017
We have reviewed 12 podcasts, and lent an ear to numerous others in our quest to bring you these choices.
- 1. I Am the Law: I Am the Law (IATL) draws listeners in and makes them feel like a part of the dialogue. IATL is produced by Law School Transparency with the aim of using real-life stories to illustrate what practicing law is really like.
I Am the Law is relevant to law school students and recent graduates as well as practicing attorneys. One of the best aspects of this podcast is the personal stories told by the attorneys who are the subject of the interviews, some of whom have made it to the top of their firms from entry-level positions. Any attorney can benefit from hearing stories of how others have managed to build successful careers.
- 2. Opening Arguments: Opening Arguments bills itself as the “podcast that helps you make sense of the news.” It covers diverse topics ranging from revenge porn to what you can and cannot dispute in a written contract. Broadcasters Andrew Torrez and Thomas Smith add a nice touch of humour as they dissect popular legal topics, including emoluments, cybersecurity and privacy, and freedom of speech and religion.
- 3. ABA Law Student Podcast: The ABA Law Student Podcast is presented by the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division. It offers a forum for law students to discuss the things they worry about the most and the issues they tend to deal with frequently. This podcast is optimal for law students, recent grads and firms interested in the next generation of associates.
- 4. This Week in Law: This Week in the Law (TWiT) is hosted hosted by Denise Howell, an attorney and legal blogger, J. Michael Keyes and Matt Curtis. This Week in Law is an outstanding weekly podcast filled with the bizarre to mundane stories in the technology law space. From Emoji law to monkey selfies it is a well-run, fast paced podcast filled with information. This Week in Law was founded in 2011, and it is still going strong.
- 5. Legal Current: Legal Current is ideal for attorneys interested in podcasts relating to the business and corporate law. Recent topics include video game law, short sellers and the SEC, Brexit trademark issues, and marketing to millennials. Legal Current is a podcast brought to listeners by Thomson Reuters.
- 6. The Legal Toolkit: The Legal Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for lawyers, with topics that focus primarily on practice management and marketing. Hosts Heidi Alexander and Jared Correia interview attorneys and legal scholars with the goal of starting a conversation about how lawyers can use new ideas to improve their practices. With specific topics like client intake tips to broad subjects like law school innovations, The Legal Toolkit is a good resource for attorneys who want to know where the legal profession is heading.
- 7. Lawyer 2 Lawyer: Lawyer 2 Lawyer was launched in 2005 and is one of the web’s longest running podcasts. Lawyer 2 Lawyer brings attorneys and industry professionals on to discuss current events and recent court rulings. The show discusses everything from the legal rights of animals to the reasons behind Bill Cosby’s mistrial to the Paris Agreement. The hosts have also looked Inside the former FBI Director James Comey's firing and the Russia probe. The topics, hosts and guests make the show riveting and informative.
- 8. New Solo: As its name implies, New Solo is targeted at solo practitioners and those hoping to go solo. The podcast covers diverse topics, from transitioning to a solo practice to networking and legal technology, with the goal of answering questions that can arise at any stage in a solo career. The show provides a good space to learn about best practices for solo practitioners.
- 9. Life of the Law: Life of the Law looks at the law from a lay perspective, taking a journalism approach to investigate ways the law affects ordinary people. This is an interesting podcast featuring a top notch team of scholars, investigative journalists, editors and audio producers discussing how the law affects everyday lives. Expect to find hot topics, including prison reform, elections and bioethics. While Life of the Law is more of a news podcast than a legal resource, it hits upon many topics relevant to those shaping and defending laws.
- 10. Bloomberg Law: Bloomberg Law is a hard hitting, leading edge podcast that often publishes new material multiple times a day. It features prominent lawyers and legal scholars dissecting significant legal issues featured in the news ranging from criminal law to securities law, and from intellectual property to bankruptcy. Check in frequently. There is a lot going on with this podcast offering.
- 11. Trial Lawyer Confidential: Trial Lawyer Confidential sheds light on the inner workings of the criminal justice system in California, while offering tips about how to become a better trial lawyer. It is highly addictive listening to criminal law told through real-life cases. While the podcasts are well worth listening to and extremely informative, it appears the cast may have retired, as the last posting was in July 2014.
- 12. Thinking Like A Lawyer: Thinking Like a Lawyer is a podcast with an interesting twist. Rather than discussing a specific legal issue, each week Above the Law’s Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice pick and cover a topic that everyone, not just lawyers, can experience. Then the hosts present a fresh point-of-view on the topic through a legal framework.