Working with legal professionals every day, we at Smokeball are avid fans of legal industry topics and avid listeners of legal podcasts. We thought it would be fun to brainstorm and review the best podcasts that legal professionals should be listening to in 2018 (and beyond). The following “Top 5 Legal Podcasts of 2018” is the result of much internal debate, listening, and re-listening. We hope you enjoy our favorites as much as we do!
Top 5 Legal Podcasts of 2018
1. Court Junkie
True to its namesake, Court Junkie is perfect for those among us who are easily enthralled in the factual and procedural intricacies of the most astounding criminal cases. Each full episode lasts about 45 minutes and has host Jillian weave a terrifying tale of a mind-bending crime and the legal proceedings that follow. She does this with a perfect mix of interviews with experts, journalists, and family members, recordings and transcripts of testimony and interrogations, and legal analysis. Jillian also has a set of “Court Junkie Briefs” interspersed between full episodes, in which she focuses on a particularly interesting procedural or legal topic. For example, one of the first “Briefs” focuses on murder trials without a body. While staying mostly neutral, Court Junkie humanizes some of the most egregious cases, with Jillian pondering various parties’ thoughts and feelings and asking listeners to consider tough questions. It is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys examining human behavior and its interaction with the justice system.
2. The Paralegal Voice
With The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin has built a tremendous career resource for paralegals and even lawyers. This podcast should be appealing not only to paralegals, but to lawyers as well because it gives great insight into the people that truly make law firms work. The podcast covers a range of topics to help paralegals become more indispensable and solid in their craft. Episodes are typically in interview format with either a lawyer or expert paralegal discussing research and writing skills, hiring trends, and changing roles in one’s career (i.e. from firm to government). This podcast falls on the educational side of the podcast spectrum, but Vicki (and now host Carl Morrison) certainly pepper in fun anecdotes and personal stories to keep levity in the episodes. The Paralegal Voice is a great resource for any legal professional seeking to reinforce the importance of paralegal work.
3. ABA Journal
The ABA Journal’s podcast offerings are all equally valuable to any legal professional or fan of legal topics. These three differing podcasts can be found in one collection under ABA Journal – All Podcasts. The three together provide a well-rounded set of legal insights.
- Legal Rebels. The ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels podcast presents interviews with today’s most interesting and successful off-the-beaten-path legal professionals. The podcast has a bent toward the legal industry’s interactions with technology, which makes it a double-whammy. The discussions with pioneers of law and tech allow other legal professionals to learn what foresight and skills they might develop to be a creative member of the legal world. This podcast is a great reminder of the breadth of opportunity in the legal community and the non-traditional ways people make great names for themselves as legal professionals.
- Modern Law Library. Modern Law Library is a fun interview podcast highlighting legal literature that would certainly not fit into your typical law firm library. From legal writing titan Bryan A. Garner discussing his book about his relationship with Justice Scalia to Barbie and Bratz doll IP fights, this podcast will help you pinpoint your next pleasurable legal read.
- Asked and Answered. Asked and Answered truly rounds out the ABA Journal bunch. This podcast takes a holistic and humanitarian view of the legal profession and includes episodes on mental, physical, and emotional well-being, loving work and loving life, and even how legal professionals can help out during world crises. Asked and Answered addresses topics that are often ignored in other legal forums, even though they are among the most important to keep in mind.
4. Legal Current
Legal Current by Thomson Reuters offers short, bite-sized episodes on some of today’s most interesting legal topics. From marijuana laws to Facebook privacy, Legal Current offers insight from legal experts working each day in the given field. Legal Current makes this Top 5 List due to its succinct to-the-point style. It is a digestible way to get up-to-date on the most pressing legal issues of today, and it provides the perspective of lawyers on the ground with the clearest view of where a topic might be heading. Binge a bunch or simply use them in place of legal publication reading to educate yourself on what legal topics are–or soon will be– in the news.
A personal favorite of this author, Serial follows complex fact patterns and proceedings from start to finish with no shortage of questions along the way. This podcast is the ultimate whodunit, with a terrific host, writing, analysis, interviews, and storytelling. Season One follows the story of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend in 2000. His story takes just about every possible twist and turn both factually and legally. Side note: Syed has been granted a new trial since Serial’s release. Season Two follows the strange and often propagandized story of Bowe Bergdahl, a former U.S. soldier who walked away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009, was captured by the Taliban, and whose release was ultimately traded for in 2014. Despite these extremely different topics, host and producer Sarah Koenig weaves both into fascinating and oscillating stories that will have your head on a swivel and your mind full of doubt. While not technically a 2018 podcast offering, Serial simply cannot be left off any legal podcast Top 5; it’s worth a re-listen every year, especially in light of Mr. Syed’s impending re-trial. If you’re one of the remaining few who have not heard or heard of Serial, you’re in for a real legal treat.