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January 2017

Why more lawyers are listening to podcasts

Defined as digital audio made available on the Internet for download to mobile devices or computers, podcasting was first known as “audioblogging.” Although its roots hail back to the 1980s, it didn’t get its marketplace foothold until two decades later when the world had broadband internet, portable digital audio players and personal computers. Podcasting as a medium took off, then stalled around 2007, only to be revitalized through the connectivity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Increased access through mobile devices, combined with large investments in popular productions like Serial, This American Life, RadioLab and Freakonomics, has led to a renaissance in podcasting. In the last seven years, the percentage of Americans who listened to a podcast in the last month more than doubled — from 9 percent to 21 percent. Today, the world of podcasting is vast, with shows as diverse as the human imagination.

Podcasts can be listened to like you would the radio or an audiobook. They can be both entertaining and educational and are typically available as a series, usually free of charge. They can even be searched for by topic and genre — including legal.

Legal podcasts have been in production for over 10 years and new shows are being created all the time. Listening lawyers are learning about their profession by consuming podcast content during their commutes and downtime without spending a dime or adding to their day. Whether at a big firm or running a solo, legal podcasts have valuable information for every attorney to further their career. With this on-demand media, attorneys are getting the latest in industry trends, legal technology and marketing advice, and they’re accessing it 24 hours a day.

Today’s legal podcasts cover a wide range of topics and are chock-full of digestible bytes ready for use instantly. Whether listening lawyers want tips on practice management, billing, hiring or updates in specific areas of law, there’s a podcast about it. The best part of all: these shows are being hosted by top minds in the legal profession — bar association presidents, general counsels for Fortune 100 companies, practice management advisors, leaders from the American Bar Association and leading legal publishers like ABA Journal, Above The Law and The Lawyerist, to name a few. With its advanced pedigree of content creators, the legal podcast genre can truly be said to be one made by legal professionals for legal professionals.

Since podcasts come in just about every kind of subject, the best way to search for them is using Google, a podcasting app, iTunes or sites like SoundCloud, Stitcher and iHeartRadio. Each search engine and platform works differently, but all of them will bring choice audio. To find shows, you can start by searching for legal podcasts and then get more specific from there (e.g., podcasts for general counsels, legal news, law technology, model rules, etc.). Lawyers can even search legal blogs for their recommendations and reviews.

If listening via computer, the easiest way to find a podcast is Google. Most shows have a website and episodes can be consumed while at a desk. If audio is preferred on-the-go, then mobile is the way to do it. If listening by iPhone or iPad, the simplest way is the native podcasting app that comes with the device. Listeners can search using its search engine or browse by category. Android phones and tablets have their own versions of this, which can be found via Google Play Music.

In addition to its portability and constant connectivity, one big advantage to using mobile devices for listening to podcasts is that it’s easy to subscribe to favorite shows. In most instances, subscribing to a podcast show allows listeners access to all existing episodes as well as all future ones as they are added. The device will download this content automatically.

For lawyers looking to improve their craft as an attorney or get an edge over competitors, podcasting is a terrific way to get it done. This is binge learning. Welcome to the wonderful world of podcasts!

This article originally appeared in Law Technology Today.

Laurence Colletti is the executive producer for Legal Talk Network. After receiving his J.D. and MBA, Colletti went into solo practice with an emphasis on general business and commercial real estate. He has a passion for web-based media, with a particular interest in podcasting and video. Colletti leverages his legal background against that passion to help bring sophisticated, relevant content to Legal Talk Network podcasts.

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