by Laurie Anstis on March 19, 2013
In the first part of this series I looked at what podcasts are, and set out some of the best legal podcasts.
In this post, I’ll go on to explain why I think lawyers should produce podcasts.
1 They are good for you
It is always a challenge as a lawyer to keep on top of the latest developments in your field of law, or to actually have time to think about some of the fundamental principles that apply. The research required to prepare and present a podcast helps keep you up to date and thinking about your area of law. It may even go a long way towards your CPD requirements for the year.
Of course, this kind of research and thought can also be carried out for other, more traditional forms of media, such as a regular newsletter – but may people will prefer the spoken word to the written word, and for courtroom advocates it can be a very good discipline to express concepts through speech rather than on paper.
2 They are good for the public
Section 1 of the Legal Services Act 2007 sets out the “regulatory objectives” to be pursued under the current regulatory regime for lawyers. Regulatory objective (g) is:
“increasing public understanding of the citizen’s legal rights and duties”
It’s probably fair to say that most lawyers aren’t doing much to increase public understanding of legal rights and duties. A podcast is the ideal medium to increase public understanding in this way. The vast majority of podcasts are free to download, and many members of the public will be far more comfortable with learning about legal concepts or developments through audio or video than through long written articles. With the current restrictions on publicly-funded legal advice, other ways of increasing public understanding of legal rights and duties are going to assume much greater significance.
3 They are good for clients
There are now thousands of law firms producing newsletters for clients. Most of those will be sent by email, and compete for attention with the hundreds of other emails that people receive during the day. Those that are sent by post will end up with many other items of direct mail received by the client that day. The good thing about a podcast is that the client has chosen deliberately to subscribe to it, and can listen to it in what otherwise might be dead time during their daily commute. I’ve deliberately kept the Boyes Turner employment law podcasts short, so as to fit in with the length of a commute. Regular podcasts are a great way for clients to keep up to date with the law that they need to know.
4 They are good for marketing
One of the unique things about a podcast as a marketing device is that it gives you the opportunity to speak to thousands of potential clients. Anyone can download a podcast and listen to your voice. A good podcast ought to capture something of the personality of the presenter, and I think is capable of forming a far closer connection with the listener than any written material will. This makes a podcast a particularly good way of marketing your expertise to potential clients.
Beyond that, I like the idea of podcast as a way of expanding a client’s view of the services you provide. My firm has eleven employment lawyers, although most clients will only speak to the two or three who particularly carry out their work. I’ve made a point of including everyone in the team in the Boyes Turner employment law podcasts, so that clients get to hear something of the breadth of experience we have. Over the course of a year, each member of the team will feature in one of our monthly podcasts – sometimes on their own and sometimes as part of a group discussion or interview. We’ve also done joint podcasts with members of our corporate law team, and extended the podcasts to other related services we offer, such as business immigration law.
While a lot of time and attention is being spent on search optimisation for Google, the field is more open for search on other platforms. The iTunes store is the leading platform for podcasts, and searches there are becoming more and more important. The picture below is a screenshot taken from the iTunes store on a search for “employment law”:
Without a paid advertisement, it is going to be very difficult to rank on the top page of a Google search, but it is still possible to rank top of a search on the iTunes store.
Some more British legal podcasts …
In my first post I gave a list of some of the best British legal podcasts. Since that time I’ve come across two more worth mentioning. The BBC’s Law in Action was off air at the time of my original post, but is now back for a short season, and available as a podcast here. In employment law, The View from Mayer Brown is a very slick production.
In part 3 of this series, I’ll explain how to produce podcasts.