Most of us are plugged into our phones during our daily commute. We're probably listening to Beyonce, Mumford and Brothers/Cousins/Misc or whatever new band is just so hot right now. The more studious among us might even be using that time to catch up on lectures. For those of us who fall somewhere in between, wanting to use the time productively but too lazy to make it happen, there are podcasts.
Below are list of podcasts that I've subscribed to over the past few months (years for one) that I've found to be entertaining, informative or engaging. Sometimes even all three. Listening to just one episode of each of these podcasts a week will take you just over two and a half hours (this week's episodes add up to 199 minutes). And at the end of it you'll know more about the latest in the law, kooky crime stories and the ins and outs of the economy than you ever have. Or at least more than you did before.
1. Law Report (ABC)
If you're the kind of guy or gal who crushed on Making a Murderer lawyers, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, then we have a new crush to add to your list of legal loves. Damian Carrick hosts the weekly law report, a program aimed at making the law accessible and discussing it from all angles. Let him woo you with his witty and well-researched coverage of the trial of Hamdi Alqudsi, an alleged terrorist recruiter, DIY online divorce, and the federal election. My favourite episode so far was about the use of electronic recordings in Family Law matters. It's close analysis of specific areas of law such as this that give you rich insight into our laws and legal system that you won't get in the classroom or even in your career unless you practise in that area of law. At half an hour a week, the cost-benefit is a no-brainer.
Once you're thoroughly in love with Mr. Carrick and you're ready for a break from the intellectual stimulation of the law report, turn to Criminal. Like the Law Report it jumps to a different topic in every episode. You might say, "Well, isn't it all just crime?" but this podcast covers every manner of crime you can imagine, and even some that you can't. There's plenty of blood and guts and mysterious murders but my favourite episodes are the quirky ones about whisky heists or gas station pet tigers. By covering this broad range of crime, this podcast offers a fresh perspective on our society's culture and values and how they shape crimes and criminal laws, sometimes in unexpected ways.
In short, this podcast won't help you with your Crim exam, but it will help you strike up a conversation with the person beside you. Who knows, you might score some notes.
3. Lawyers' Weekly
If you're not checking Lawyers Weekly at least once a fortnight, you're missing out. Firm mergers and partner promotions might seem irrelevant to you right now. But let me tell you, they won't seem that way when you're sitting in front of said partner in a clerkship interview for a firm that recently merged with... who was it again? Get into the habit of checking Lawyers Weekly. Their regular podcasts are a quick and easy way to stay on top of developments in the legal world. It's a nice complement to the Law Report as this podcast tends to focus more on commercial practise.
No prizes for guessing that Serial would make this list. Of course it did. It's excellent. Season One of Serial takes us through the teenage love story that ends with a high school girl in a shallow grave. Season Two follows the well publicised story of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, our generation's most famous (or notorious) prisoner of war. Sara Koenig, of podcast royalty (This American Life, anyone?), narrates and investigates these stories, taking on a role that is a compelling mix of prosecutor, defence and journalist.
As law students yourselves, recent developments regarding the case in Season One should prompt you to re-think how public opinion shapes criminal justice. The evidence that Koenig uncovered has now led to a retrial.
5. Devils and Details by Business Insider
Ok, ok. So this isn't strictly legal. But it's important. Whether you want to practice in the commercial arena or not, a basic understanding of the economy is useful. Hell, it might even get you through that Commercial Law lecture that you're dreading. Even if you go through an episode not understanding a thing, at some point something will click. Whether it's a news story or class down the track, your brain will put these juicy tidbits of knowledge away to retrieve at some opportune moment.
6. Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder
And now back to the juicy stuff. This story has everything you look for in a murder mystery: police corruption, a press scandal (or ten) and a private eye, who also happens to be the victim. Untold will take you back to the South London of the 1980s - or Sa-uf Lund'n as the locals say - and drop you straight into the middle of a scandal worthy of the Daily Telegraph. Or News of the World, as the case may be. The first episode is funded by Hugh Grant for a reason. Evidence of illegal press antics date much further than the recent scandal. Get amongst it.
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