[The following column originally appeared in print in September 2008. 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.]
Podcasts come and podcasts go – and others merely lie fallow. Inconsistency is the curse of podcasting, particularly within the legal field, where lawyers have plenty enough demands on their time without trying to squeeze in a regular broadcast.
Launched with the best of intentions, podcasts often have a short half-life. In fact, when I set out to revisit my 2005 column in which I listed 10 essential podcasts for lawyers, I discovered that five of them had disappeared or gone dormant.
Among the podcasts from my earlier list that are no longer active are Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground Podcast, last updated in January 2007; Evan Brown’s Internet Cases Podcast, last updated in February 2007; and the Supreme Court Watch Podcast (later Justice Watch), last updated in October 2007.
But for every podcast that turned off its mikes, others came along to fill the silence. As I surveyed the current crop of podcasts, I concluded that, within the legal field, podcasting remains alive and well. There are so many worthwhile programs that I had trouble winnowing my list to 10. (As you’ll see, I cheated on the numbers to include more than 10 programs).
So herein is my latest set of 10 podcasts I recommend as essential for legal professionals.
1. Legal Talk Network. Here is my first opportunity to cheat – and a self-serving one at that – because LTN hosts not one podcast, but several. They include Law Technology Now, the monthly program hosted by Monica Bay, editor-in-chief of Law Technology News, and Ringler Radio, a show that explores a variety of issues related to personal-injury and tort litigation.
LTN also produces Lawyer2Lawyer, the weekly legal-affairs podcast that I co-host with California lawyer and blogger J. Craig Williams. Now in our fourth year of broadcasting, we feature guests from all over the world and all corners of the legal profession to discuss current issues in the news.
2. Podcasts at Hamline University School of Law. Now my second cheat. What started several years ago as a single podcast called Conversations in Law – a series on law, leadership and legal education – has expanded into an array of podcasts covering law and leadership, health law, public law, Native American law, dispute resolution and intellectual property. Within the Conversations series, programs range from a discussion of feminist jurisprudence to Kenneth Feinberg recalling the many personal stories he heard as administrator of the 9/11 victim compensation fund.
3. ABA podcasts. The ABA provides my third opportunity to cheat, given that its Web domain is host to a variety of podcasts. One that I particularly recommend is the ABA Litigation Podcast, a series highlighting “tips and tactics for the practicing trial lawyer.” Another is the ABA CLE Podcast, a series of free CLE programs on various practical and legal issues. Finally, there is the ABA Book Briefs Podcast, which features ABA authors discussing their books and current issues related to their books.
The ABA’s Web site is also home to The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology, a monthly podcast from two well-regarded practice-management professionals, Sharon D. Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises, a Fairfax, Va., computer forensics and legal technology company, and Jim Calloway, author of Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog and director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program. The podcast is produced as part of the Law Technology Today e-zine of the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section.
4. University of Chicago Law School podcast. This series of podcasts, produced as part of the law school’s Faculty Blog, features recordings of lectures and other programs at the school. In one recent episode, legal scholar Adam Samaha discusses the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. In another, law professors Cass Sunstein and Richard Epstein debate whether conservative voters should support Barack Obama.
5. Law and Disorder. This is produced as both an independent radio program and podcast. With four left-leaning lawyers as its hosts, the show examines issues surrounding civil liberties, privacy and politics. The show is professionally produced and features a range of guests and topics. Recent topics included arrests of protesters during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., trials at Guantanamo and new FBI guidelines for investigating terrorism.
6. Out-Law. The U.K. law firm Pinsent Masons produces this weekly 10-minute podcast on topics relating to Internet and intellectual property law. The podcast is part of the firm’s award-winning Out-Law.com Web site which provides a variety of guides, articles and news stories about the law. Recent episodes of the podcast examined whether database law is bad for business and whether patents and copyrights make innovation impossible.
7. This Week in Law. Don’t let the name mislead you into thinking this is a weekly program – a new episode is posted every month or so. Host Denise Howell, a California lawyer and longtime blogger, tackles cutting-edge issues at the intersection of law and technology. Think of it as the McLaughlin Group for cyberlaw. Each show includes a panel of guests – some regulars and some not – who weigh in on such topics as cyber-bullying, cloud computing, blogger liability and domain-name law.
8. Hearsay Culture. This is another show produced both as a podcast and for radio – Stanford University’s KZSU-FM. Recorded in cooperation with Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, the show is hosted by Dave Levine, an assistant professor at Charlotte School of Law. Each 50-55 minute program covers issues of law and technology, but not, as the show’s Web site says, “from a purely law or geek perspective.”
9. International Dispute Negotiation. From the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, this series of podcasts – more than 40 episodes as of this writing – focuses on timely and practical topics in dispute resolution, with an emphasis on cross-border commercial conflicts. Among the topics the program has covered are mediating with hard negotiators, detecting lies and concealing emotions, and dealing with arbitrator bias.
10. New Jersey Law Blog. The law firm Stark & Stark offers weekly legal updates in podcast form as part of its blog about New Jersey law. Podcasts feature lawyers from various practices in the firm discussing recent developments in New Jersey and federal law.
Although these podcasts are directed more at consumers than other lawyers, I include them here in part because they demonstrate how effectively a law firm can use podcasting as part of its overall marketing and positioning strategy.
With this list as a start, load up your MP3 player (or listen on your computer) and start to explore the world of legal podcasting.