I enjoy talking about my favorite podcasts. These podcasts represent my favorite legal podcasts, as well as new podcasts I discovered in 2017. I hope you will add some of my picks to your playlist and share your own favorites with me.
S-Town. S-Town is an investigative journalism show created by the producers of the award-winning podcast, Serial. The host, Brian Reed, created S-Town in seven chapters and unlike the common form of releasing a chapter a week, released all seven chapters at once allowing followers to binge listen. The podcast was downloaded a record-breaking 10 million times in four days.
Reed lets us in on a secret; S-Town is actually a euphemism for “Shit Town”, the colorful name bestowed on the town of Woodstock, Alabama by the show’s even more colorful protagonist, John B. McLemore.
McLemore sends an email to Reed, a staff member of This American Life, asking him to investigate a murder in Woodstock. The journey Reed and McLemore takes is breathtaking with shocking turns of events. If you have ever lived in the rural south, you will recognize the characters and their stories, and your heart will rise and break along with theirs.
Stay Tuned With Preet with Preet Bharara. Preet Bharara is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara fought corruption, financial fraud and violent crime. His most recent claim to fame? He was fired by President Trump. His podcast launched in 2017 and opens with the story of President-Elect Trump asking him to stay in office, followed by his firing a few months later. Bharara’s guests have included Senator Jeff Flake, Leon Panetta, and Catherine Hoke discussing her work in moving inmates to entrepreneurs. Bharara’s show chronicles the Mueller investigation and breaking news stories as well. It’s no surprise that a trial attorney such as Bharara is a captivating podcast storyteller.
Sex at Work with Leto Copely and Valerie Johnson, The Law Sisters. While Leto and Valerie are not actual sisters, they have practiced law together in Durham, North Carolina for 20 years. Their comfortable banter and easy repartee make learning about the law a lot easier. Sex at Work is an entertaining and informative look at the world of employment law played out each week in discussions of recent scandals, cases in the news (Uber we are looking at you) and segments such as “Bad Boss of the Week”. This is the Law Sisters first go at a podcast, but it certainly does not feel that way.
Ear Hustle. An intriguing name, to ear hustle is to eavesdrop. Or, as the Urban Dictionary says, “all up in somebody else’s business without knowing the details”. When you finish Ear Hustle, you will know the details. Co-produced by San Quentin inmates Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, along with Bay Area artist Nigel Poor, the series explores life as a prisoner inside San Quentin.
The podcast does not preach against the ills of mass incarceration or of a justice system that has glaring faults, instead, the show humanizes men who are spending decades in prison. They talk about everything from family and heartbreak to the difficulties of finding a compatible roommate.
With no training in the medium, rudimentary equipment, and boatloads of bureaucracy and red tape, Woods, Williams and Poor are becoming master storytellers. I am hooked. As I listen, I am reminded of Bryan Stevenson’s quote in his excellent book on social justice, Just Mercy, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
Legal Talk Network. Legal Talk Network is a curated collection of podcasts featuring some of the best known names in practice management, marketing and legal news reporting. There are podcasts for law students, new lawyers, senior lawyers, in-house counsel and paralegals. This is a “must add” to your podcast feed as new content is created daily.
Bulldog Bites with Mark Enriques. Mark is a business litigator in the Charlotte office of Womble Bond Dickinson (formerly Womble Carlyle). Bulldog Bites, featuring a handsome Winston the famous WCSR bulldog mascot, provides corporate attorneys with tips and insights from general counsel, politicians, analysts and leading business professionals. Mark’s show about Womble’s combination with the UK firm Bond Dickinson is an interesting inside look at how two firms across the pond met and fell in love.
Revisionist History. One of my favorite social scientists and authors, Malcolm Gladwell, examines the way the passage of time “changes and enlightens our understanding of the world around us.” Or as Malcolm says of the show, “my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood.”
One of my favorite episodes from last season was “My Little Hundred Million”. This episode looks at the ideologies behind charitable giving and educational philanthropy. This season features a fascinating look at some of the biggest names in the civil rights movement, along with names we may not know, but stories we will not forget.
The Gen Why Lawyer with Nicole Abboud. Nicole practiced law for 5 years before acknowledging a shocking revelation; she hated practicing law. She launched a podcast and a business, Abboud Media, where she works with lawyers to build their brands and grow their businesses. Each week, Nicole talks with lawyers who are sharing courageous stories and offering tactical advice about practicing law in unconventional ways.
The West Wing Weekly with Joshua Malina (actor from The West Wing and Scandal, along with Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder podcast). The WWW is an episode-by-episode discussion of my favorite TV show of all time, The West Wing. If you loved the show, you will love the podcast. If you are new to the show, watch it on Netflix and follow along with the podcast. Josh and Hrishi are entertaining, have good banter and the show has high production value. The guest stars include actors from the show, politicians, staffers from former White House administrations and the fabulous creator of the West Wing, Aaron Sorkin.
Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman. Internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman interviews famous founders such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Lean In, Eric Schmidt of Google and Sara Blakely of Spanx.
Hoffman explores ideas such as leadership, building company culture, critical problem solving and gender equality in the workplace. I’m currently reading Hoffman’s book, The Start-up of You.
The Secret to Victory. This podcast is about how the most competitive athletes in the world use defeat to fuel their next win. Host Domonique Foxworth, ESPN writer and former NFL player, interviews sports royalty such as Serena Williams, and Peyton and Eli Manning.
WDW Prep to Go. Walt Disney World. Enough said. Well, perhaps a little more. Shannon Albert, the host of this delightful podcast offers tips to planning the most magical Disney vacation. Her website, WDW Prep School, is a “must visit” if you are planning a trip and her six step planning process is a great model.
I hope you will get a chance to listen to some of these great stories and share your favorites podcasts with me.
Camille Stell is the Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at [email protected] or 800.662.8843.