The best podcasts for lawyers
20th February 2018
No matter what stage you are at in your legal career, it’s always a good idea to continue learning and soaking up information from a variety of sources. One of the best avenues for doing so is podcasts, and students of law and veteran lawyers alike will be happy to know that there are myriad shows designed for your enjoyment and education. Whether you want to know more about the legal system in the US, need help balancing your professional and personal life, or want to find out just what the life of a lawyer is really like, there will be a podcast for you. So, in order to help those interested find a show that’s just right for them, we have presented below what we believe are the world’s best podcasts for lawyers.
Legal Talk Network podcasts
Some of the best podcasts available come from what are known as podcasting networks. Legal Talk Network is one of these very enterprises and specialises in producing engaging and informative shows for legal professionals. Their shows are hosted by experts in the field, including those from the American Bar Association. While their shows mostly focus on legal issues in the US, they are still fascinating listens if you happen to be based elsewhere.
It’s hard to pick just one Legal Talk Network podcast to highlight, so to help introduce their work and fantastic shows, we decided to highlight three of the very best they have available, hearing from LTN themselves about what makes each podcast such a must-listen for law professionals:
Make No Law
“Legal professionals as well as a mainstream audience should be listening to Make No Law because it is a fun and entertaining way to learn about our right to free speech. Narrated by Ken White, this provocative production features real cases, real accounts from real people, original music, voice acting, and a pinch of theatrics weaved into a storytelling narrative that brings the 1st Amendment to life.
“For new listeners, I recommend ‘The School House Gates’ episode. Episode 3 was published in February 2018.
Thinking Like a Lawyer
“Legal professionals as well as readers of Above The Law should be tuning into Thinking Like A Lawyer because it is a funny, honest reflection on social issues and the legal profession in general, as cast through the personal lens of the co-hosts Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, from Above The Law.
“New listeners should tune into the ‘How Hulk Hogan Ruined America’ episode with guest and award-winning filmmaker Brian Knappenberger.
Lawyer 2 Lawyer
“Legal professionals and the general public should be listening to Lawyer 2 Lawyer because it covers the most pressing current events of the day by doing deep dive legal analysis. Although very digestible by the general public, lawyers will also enjoy the highbrow discussion with noteworthy guests such as senators, ambassadors, Hollywood celebrities, exonerated death row inmates, and the most pre-eminent minds in the legal profession.
“New listeners should listen to the ‘Bill Cosby Mistrial’ episode.”
I Am The Law
Produced by Law School Transparency, I Am The Law is a podcast that will prove incredibly useful for law students and those beginning their careers, offering great insight into the profession.
Law School Transparency told us: “Many learn about lawyers from TV, books, and movies. But that's not what practice is actually like. Through interviews with a diverse array of lawyers, this show helps students and young lawyers pursue careers based on facts instead of fictions.
“Each episode involves a different lawyer, so there's no need to start at any particular episode. Simply look at the episode title to find a practice area or practice setting that you want to learn about. You can visit LSTradio.com to see the full list or peruse the library on most podcast apps.”
The life of a lawyer, while incredibly rewarding, can have its stressful moments. Luckily, there’s a perfect show to help you get by. The Australian podcast series Compos Mentis has a focus on wellbeing for lawyers, delving into how those who work jobs in the legal profession can stay happy, productive, and healthy. We asked Jennifer, one of the hosts at Compos Mentis, what makes the podcast a must-listen for those in the industry:
“As lawyers it’s very easy to get swept away in the urgency of matters and needs of our clients without realising the toll that our work can take on us. Compos Mentis is a friendly reminder to check in with yourself and offers concrete tools to help manage challenges to your wellbeing that arise in the law. It can be as simple as going for a walk after a tough interaction with a client, to bring your cortisol levels down. Or as powerful as thinking about your values and applying them more in your day to day work.
“Compos Mentis is created and hosted by lawyers for lawyers, so hosts Nat and Jenn draw on their own personal experiences in practice and life in each episode which are based on themes like: stress, time, mindfulness and resilience.”
For those new to the podcast, Jennifer suggests starting at the beginning to experience the Compos Mentis adventure to the full: “The podcast is a passion project that we grew from scratch. We didn’t really know how it was going to turn out when we started, but had a passion for helping start conversations about mental health in the legal profession in an accessible and digestible way. It’s best to start at episode one and take that journey with us (including the improvement in sound quality that you’ll notice along the way)!”
Life of the Law
(Brittny Bottorff, Chair of LOTL Advisory Board, at an In-Studio Episode recording at KQED in SF)
Producing bi-weekly episodes, the Life of the Law podcast utilises a team of investigative journalists, legal scholars, audio producers, and editors to create stories about the most fascinating aspects of law. Brittny Bottorff, the chair of the Advisory Board for Life of the Law, and practising attorney, told us why she believes the podcast is an essential listen for those in the legal profession:
“I believe that the Life of the Law stories discuss the legal issues of our times with a unique focus on how the law impacts real people in their day-to-day lives. Too often, in our legal profession, we can lose sight of what is ultimately the higher purpose for our practice of law: to help others. Life of the Law humanizes the law with stories about the law told with empathy and humanity.”
Brittny also kindly offered us a few episode recommendations for first-time listeners: “Each episode of Life of the Law is self-contained, so listeners can jump in anywhere. My absolute favourite episodes are: (1) Whole N'Other World (live show inside San Quentin -- I saw this show in person when we recorded it inside San Quentin; it was one of the most incredible live show experiences I have ever been a part of); (2) Overruled (this is a great example of how Life of the Law can dig into a particular aspect of the law through on-the-ground reporting and interviews with people most impacted by the particular law at issue); and (3) Release Day (this is one of my favourite examples of how Life of the Law can capture the heart and humanity of the people involved in the story).”
For those that want to keep up to with date legal goings-on in other parts of the world, The Docket podcast by Canadian criminal lawyer Michael Sprat and co-host Emilie Taman should certainly be of interest. This legal podcast looks to examine government policy and the impact that it has on the law and society.
For a glimpse at what to expect, one of the latest episodes of The Docket revolves around the Supreme Court of Canada and cases about text messaging. The episode description reads: “Emilie and I take a deep dive into two new Supreme Court of Canada cases about text messages. In a majority decision, authored by Chief Justice McLachlin, the Court ruled that individuals have a privacy interest in the text messages they send - even if those messages are found on someone else’s phone.”