Podcasting for lawyers part 1 – the best British legal podcasts

by Laurie Anstis on January 30, 2013

I grew up listening to the radio, but these days I mostly listen to podcasts.

Podcasts are like radio or tv shows that can be downloaded or streamed to be played on a computer, mobile phone or any other kind of media player such as an iPod. A true podcast has an RSS feed, which allows listeners to subscribe to the podcast and then download any new episodes automatically.

For years, Apple’s iTunes and iPod were the dominant ways of subscribing to and downloading podcasts. iTunes is still enormously signficiant as a way of subscribing to podcasts, and podcasting got its name from the iPod, but these days any modern mobile phone will be able to subscribe to and download podcasts (here’s a list of useful software for this).

The advantage for the listener is that podcasts can then be listened to at any time – you aren’t tied to listening at a particular time of the week. You’ll also find a wider variety of topics covered in podcasts than you will on any radio or tv station.

For the person producing the podcast it has the advantage of being far cheaper and more accessible than putting on a radio show, as well as not being tied to a particular schedule or having to produce a show to a regular length. Rather than having to produce a show of 30 mins once a week regardless of whether you have anything to say, you can produce a show of a length to suit the topic, as and when you have something to say.

For newcomers to podcasts, a great place to start is with the BBC Podcasts, which offer many familiar names and shows.

This is the first of a series of three posts on podcasting. In this post I’ll be looking at the best of the current podcasts on British legal topics, and in follow up posts I’ll explain why I think lawyers should produce their own podcasts, and how to do it.

First in my legal podcast recommendations is Northpod Law. This is hosted by two barrister members of Central Chambers in Manchester, Benjamin Knight and Kirstin Beswick, and runs in seasons of a few weeks at a time. It’s essentially a discussion show, with the hosts and guests informally running through the latest legal news and some of the developments in their areas of the law. It’s the closest thing in law that I know of the the enormously popular and influential Slate Political Gabfest – a discussion show on US politics.

As with much in the field of law and technology, Mike Semple Piggot, aka Charon QC, has lead the way, producing a range of different podcasts. His occassional “Without Prejudice” podcasts are well worth listening to – panel discussions with various experts on the legal issues of the day. Currently he is producing his “Tour Report” series – one-to-one interviews with leading legal figures.

Next on the list is Legal Cheek‘s “Round My Kitchen Table” podcast, a weekly series of interviews hosted by Alex Aldridge and Kevin Poulter. These are mainly aimed at students and lawyers at the start of their careers, but there’s often something useful for more experienced lawyers too.

A promising newcomer is the College of Law’s Brief Chats series. There’s only one episode so far – an interview with Misys General Counsel Tom Kilroy – but there are more to come.

Particularly relevant to my area of law, London chambers 11KBW has been in the habit of putting all of its seminars out as podcasts, although at the time of writing their podcast page is down and “currently under maintenance”.

Finally, PLC have an excellent series of podcasts on various topics, though access is limited to their subscribers only.

I’m sure there are a number of other good podcasts out there with a legal theme, so if anyone has any other favourite podcasts, please let me know in the comments.

Coming up in part 2 – why I think lawyers should produce their own podcasts.

[Direct links for subscriptions to the podcasts:

Northpod Law: http://feeds.feedburner.com/NorthpodLaw

Charon QC: http://charonqc.wordpress.com/category/charon-podcasts/feed/

Legal Cheek: http://www.buzzsprout.com/4206.rss

Brief Chats, 11KBW & PLC: no RSS link that I can find.]

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