The final slate of nominees was announced today for the PodCast Awards. I am disappointed to report that Lawyer2Lawyer did not make the cut. At the same time, I am happy to report that one law-related podcast did make the final list, in the education category, Life of Law Student. Voting on the nominees opens [...]
TAG | podcast
One of the best law-related podcasts will record its last program June 30. After nine years on the air, Justice Talking, the NPR radio program about law and American life, which is also available as a weekly podcast, has run out of funding. In a post on the program’s companion site, Talking Justice, acting executive producer Ingrid Lakey explained that the show and Web site cost almost $1 million annually to produce. “We tried over a three year period to locate the needed funding but had to sunset the program when we failed,” she wrote. “If someone found a funder willing to provide a multi-year commitment to the funding needed to produce Justice Talking and our sister website, Justice Learning, we would certainly revisit the decision.”
On June 23, the show will feature host Margot Adler looking back over some of its more memorable moments. For now, archived shows will remain available through the Web site.
I am not sure when Justice Talking began to be distributed as a podcast, but that may leave our Lawyer2Lawyer podcast, which posted its first episode on Aug. 31, 2005, as the longest consistently running legal podcast.
The Boston Business Journal today features this piece, Lawyers Looking to Podcasts as Potent Marketing Tool, that highlights our podcast, Lawyer2Lawyer, and the company that produces it, the Legal Talk Network.
The reporter who wrote the story, Lisa van der Pool, is interviewed this morning on New England Cable News about lawyer podcasting. The interview is below.
[The following column originally appeared in print in October 2006. I am republishing it as part of my continuing effort to maintain an archive of my published columns. Important note: I have not updated this since its original publication. While most of the sites remain as described, some may have changed. All information was current as of the date of original publication.]
Have you ever considered a career in the lucrative and rewarding field of legal podcasting? Are you a lawyer who sometimes wears headphones with your pinstripes? Do you ever wish you could send your colleagues your deepest thoughts in digital format? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Ambrogi School of Legal Podcasting could be for you.
Many famous legal podcasters are graduates of our school. We can’t identify them because, being lawyers, they’d probably sue us. But trust us, several of our graduates are earning six-figure incomes!* (*Although not from podcasting.)
Interested? Send no money now. Instead, take this free, no-obligation course, “Launching Your Career in Legal Podcasting.” Ready? Let’s get going.
To start, you’ll need a computer. Not just any computer will do – you’ll need one that plays and records sound. If you don’t have a computer that meets this requirement, then, let’s face it, you’re probably a cheapskate who won’t ever pay our tuition.
Still with us? OK, you’ll also need devices to get the sound into and out of your computer. We call them “microphone” and “headphones.” Note that we did not say “speakers.” Using headphones prevents feedback and echoes that distort the recording.
Any computer microphone and headset combination will work – the same headsets you use for computer gaming or Internet telephony. In general, USB headsets deliver better sound than those that plug into your computer’s microphone and speaker jacks.
For more professional sound, consider a package such as Podcast Factory from M-Audio. For $180, you get a high-quality microphone with desktop stand, a USB audio-interface device with gain and level controls and stereo inputs, and a suite of recording and mixing software.
Hardware all set up? Because so many of our students are incapable of plugging in a microphone, we recommend this five-minute sound test at AudioHelp. It ensures that your microphone and speakers function properly.
OK. With the mike on your desk and headphones on, you look like a pro already. But you’re not ready to start yet. Now you need the software that will record your voice to your computer and allow you to edit it.
For this, you want Audacity, a free, open-source program for recording and editing sound. Don’t let the price fool you. Audacity has sophisticated editing features that let you trim out unwanted gaps or glitches, weave in music or other sounds, and add special effects such as equalization and reverb. For Apple users, another option is GarageBand.
One feature Audacity lacks is the very one you most want it to have – the ability to record in MP3 format. For this, there is a simple fix, called the LAME MP3 Encoder. You can read all about LAME at http://lame.sourceforge.net. But to quickly add it to Audacity, search “lame” from the Audacity site and you’ll find the instructions. Once you’ve added LAME, you will be able to export Audacity recordings into MP3 format.
For an even more polished sound, you may want additional production software for adding in sound effects, audio tracks, loops and other tricks. The Podcast Factory mentioned above comes with one called Ableton Live Lite 4.
But beware: Before you add music to your podcast, pay attention to licensing and ownership issues. For a safe selection of music for your podcast, visit the PodSafe Music Network.
The secret ingredient that distinguishes a podcast from other Web audio recordings is an RSS feed. This allows your multitudes of fans to subscribe and automatically download new episodes. For the tech-savvy among you who wish to create this feed by hand, a how-to is at AudioFeeds.org. But the simpler route is with software that automates the creation of the RSS feed, such as Podifier or FeedForAll.
Online Podcasting Tools
Now that I’ve told you about all the software you need, I’ll reveal to you that you don’t need any of it. Several Web services let you record, store and distribute your podcast online, requiring no special software on your computer. One is Podomatic, a free service that lets you record and syndicate podcasts via your Web browser. Another free service is Odeo Studio, which lets you record audio over the Web or upload files you’ve recorded on your computer.
Like any broadcast, a podcast is more interesting with a guest. Using voice over Internet, you can interview or have a conversation with someone and record it as a podcast. A popular Internet phone service is Skype. But the Skype software does not allow call recording, so podcasters turn to third-party options that enable Skype recording, such as Pamela and Hot Recorder.
There you have it, everything you need to get started. Just add your voice and you’re on your way to a successful career in legal podcasting.
Monica Bay, longtime editor-in-chief of the magazine Law Technology News, launched her own podcast this week, Law Technology Now. (It also has its own site at LawTechnologyNow.com.) Each month, Bay will interview a key expert from the legal technology community about top issues confronting the legal profession. In the first program, she speaks with David Whelan, manager of legal information for the Law Society of Upper Canada, about using RSS to get ahead in your legal practice.
The podcast is a joint production of LTN, Law.com and the Legal Talk Network, which also produces my legal-affairs podcast, Lawyer2Lawyer. And, in the full disclosure department, I should note that I have been a columnist for Law Technology News for as long as Bay as been its editor — roughly a decade.
The ABA’s Law Practice Today features a roundtable discussion of podcasting, Legal Talk Radio on Demand: Podcasting for Lawyers. I am honored to be part of this great panel that also includes podcasters Dennis Kennedy, Sharon Nelson, Jim Calloway, Evan Brown, Denise Howell and Tom Mighell.
Special thanks to Dennis for inviting me to participate.
Two well-known practice-management professionals have launched what they plan to be a monthly podcast. Called “The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology,” it is produced as part of the Law Technology Today e-zine of the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section. The first 30-minute episode is up, on the topic Electronic Marketing: Harnessing the Web’s Whizbang.
Hosting the podcast are Sharon D. Nelson and Jim Calloway. Sharon is president of Sensei Enterprises, a Fairfax, Va., computer forensics and legal technology company, and co-author of two ABA books, The Electronic Evidence and Discovery Handbook: Forms, Checklists and Guidelines
Jim has more about the podcast on his blog.
BlawgSearch.com, the new search engine for legal blogs I reported about here last month, has moved from “alpha” to “beta,” says its developer Tim Stanley of Justia.com, with the addition of RSS feeds for searches, media icons for audio/video posts and a flash player for audio. Also, several hundred more blogs have been added to the index, with more being added regularly.
Better yet, Stanley has launched a companion search tool, Blawgs.fm, for searching for multimedia files such as podcasts on legal blogs. It searches the same blogs that are indexed by BlawgSearch.com, but returns only those that have video or audio media files. It includes a podcast directory and a flash player for listening to the audio files.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals now offers an RSS feed for its opinions and a podcast feed for its oral arguments. Find them both at the court’s RSS page. According to The Third Branch, the federal courts newsletter, it is the first federal appeals court to offer RSS feeds.
Circuit Executive Collins Fitzpatrick tells The Third Branch:
“I think having the briefs and arguments up on the Web makes for a much better-educated bar. They can listen to arguments, and see what happens. They can be better prepared.”
Hat tip to Bonnie Shucha at WisBlawg for the pointer.