The Best Podcasts for Lawyers

 

podcastA podcast, or in other words, an i-Pod broadcast, is something that people have sometimes heard of, and yet like Shangri-Law, is a destination that far too few experience. I am not a child of the vintage radio broadcasts of “Gunsmoke,” “Sherlock Holmes” or “Dragnet,” yet as a podcast enthusiast, I imagine podcasts are an analogous form of elegant storytelling for a more modernized age with its smaller, portable handheld devices.

For those of you who may find yourselves unaware, let’s start with the basics. Podcasts are generally recorded audio or video broadcasts that are received typically through a mobile device, although they can often be accessed through any device that connects to the Internet. Finding a particular podcast can be a little bit challenging depending on whether you hail from the Apple elite, the privileged Samsung aristocracy or somewhere in between. But rest assured, regardless of your operating system and device preferences, there are podcasts about nearly everything you can imagine, right at your fingertips, from “How to Do Everything,” and the “History of Pirates Podcast,” to “The Complete Guide to Everything” and “Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4.” There are even original episodes of many of the classic old-time radio broadcasts ready for modern-day listening.

So, here are a few podcasts that the lawyer in all of us might especially enjoy.

Please note, the nexus between the law and a particular podcast might not at first be evident, however, as ancient legal scholars premised: “There is the law, and then there is nothing. All things are but manifestations of one great legal sphere.”

Serial:

This podcast forever changed podcasting and in the process broke the Internet. It is likely still the most popular and widely listened to podcast of all time; nearly 39 million Americans downloaded Serial just in the month of November 2014. Over the course of 12 episodes, listeners accompany Sara Koenig as she re-investigates the murder of a young Baltimore high school girl, Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted of her murder and is currently serving a life plus-30-year sentence. He has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so in this podcast.

With an innovative style that stretches the boundaries of traditional journalism, Koenig creates a compelling, and at times controversial, journalistic narrative that has listeners on edge for the entire season and has brought renewed national attention to the case.

This story and this podcast were so compelling that Escheresque podcasts were created just to talk about this podcast. The controversy continues to swirl even as a Maryland Court of Special Appeals has “agreed to hear Syed’s case after two unsuccessful attempts to appeal his conviction since 2003.” And Season Two is right around the corner.

Bloomberg Law Podcasts:

For the latest breaking news in the legal arena, tune in to this podcast that “examines all aspects of the legal profession, from intellectual property to criminal law, from bankruptcy to securities law.” These roughly twenty-minute podcasts include timely and relevant topics such as “Hollywood Agent Defections,” “Religious-Rights Legislation,” and “StubHub Takes on Ticketmaster.”

Any Podcast Produced by NPR:

I was trying to narrow it down, but there are just so many high-quality podcasts produced by NPR including “This American Life,” “Planet Money,” “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” and “Car Talk.” Now many of you might recognize these as actual radio programs on NPR-affiliated radio stations. Well done, oh observant and engaged reader.

In a classic blurring of the chicken and the egg lines, many of NPRs radio shows are also podcasts and their podcasts are also radio shows.

In the plus column for the podcast format: these are available on demand at any time and, unless you have your Sony Walkman handy, the podcasts are also more portable and don’t require AA batteries.

Learn to Meditate — Meditation Podcast — Meditation Society of Australia:

Many lawyers face an exceptional level of stress on a daily basis. Insert your favorite stat on lawyer stress levels here. This introduction to meditation created by the Meditation Society of Australia might be just the ticket to help you find your inner balance. In brief, 15–20 minute segments, you are introduced to a basic principal of meditation and mindfulness and then guided through a meditation exercise. After a few episodes, you might just find yourself on the passageway to inner peace, or at the very least, you may experience less rage as you travel your chosen road in rush-hour traffic.

If none of these sound like your preferred radio programming, do not give up hope. There are thousands upon thousands of hours of additional programming, and with some minimal effort you will certainly find the podcast that will find you anxiously awaiting its weekly release.

 

Jardine-Headshot-1(1)By Ryan T. Jardine, a public finance attorney with Kutak Rock LLP in Denver. He may be reached at ryan.jardine@kutak-rock.com.

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