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Technology: Podcasts for legal minds

Technology: Podcasts for legal minds

By Karin Derkley



The LIJ asked some savvy Victorian legal professionals to recommend their favourites.

One of the biggest technology trends of the past few years has been the seemingly unstoppable rise of podcasts. They’re easily accessible, streamed from a phone, tablet or computer. They’re multi-tasking friendly – perfect for commuting or a lockdown walk. And they can become addictive. Some of the most popular podcasts run to multiple episodes or even seasons. This American Life is up to 742 episodes, and the New York Times Daily podcast has been streaming every weekday since early 2017. 

True crime has been a popular subject for podcasts, with one of the originals in that genre, Serial, downloaded more than 420 million times. Phoebe’s Fall, Teacher’s Pet and Case File have been hugely popular Australian true crime podcast series. But many others, ranging across current affairs, science, technology, history, business and productivity have become part of people’s lives, keeping them informed and entertained, preferably both. 

We asked a range of people across the justice system and the legal profession to nominate their favourites. 

Chief Justice Anne FergusonChief Justice Anne Ferguson 

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson is the founder of the Supreme Court’s critically acclaimed and award-winning podcast Gertie’s Law. The podcast is now up to 24 episodes, telling stories about the Court’s work, such as sentencing, mental health, juries and the criminal trial process.

Chief Justice Ferguson is a lifelong Richmond Football Club supporter and her favourite podcast is Talking Tigers, the official Richmond podcast. “I love it because it makes me laugh,” she says. “It’s a form of escapism. It reminds me of how passionate people can be about football no matter who they are, what job they have or where they come from. Whether the Tigers win or lose, the podcast lets you feel the emotion of other supporters. And even after a loss, the episodes still always bring a smile to my face.” 

County Court Chief Judge Peter KiddCounty Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd 

“My favourite regular podcasts are the BBC History Hour (each one with four or five historical vignettes), BBC Outlook (extraordinary personal stories from every walk of life) and Slate’s Slow Burn (a deep dive into various American scandals, such as Watergate). 

The best podcast I have heard remains 13 Minutes to the Moon, a 12-episode show on the Apollo 11 landing, sensationally produced with terrific archival interviews, accompanied by the evocative music of Hans Zimmer. Truly amazing.”

State Coroner Judge John CainState Coroner Judge John Cain 

“Among my favourite podcasts are The Daily, a 20 minute podcast every weekday by New York Times journalists covering the latest news issues, and Revisionist History, which is up to its sixth season of author and essayist Malcolm Gladwell’s re-examination of events and ideas from the past. I also enjoy Richard Fidler and Sarah Kanowski’s in-depth discussions with a range of Australians in ABC Conversations, and TED Podcasts, in which the world’s leading thinkers discuss thought-provoking ideas on every topic imaginable.”

Law Library of Victoria director and Supreme Court librarian Laurie AtkinsonLaw Library of Victoria director and Supreme Court librarian Laurie Atkinson

99% invisible “A podcast for the intellectually curious. Primarily design/architecture focus, Roman Mars invites specialists to discuss how we shape our world, and how the world then shapes us. A recent episode ‘mine’ touches on the legal aspects of ownership, but usually law does not feature. Highly recommend.”

Reply All “My favourite tech podcast that covers weird anomalies, technology/society/law, the power of the Internet, how to solve problems, and explains some of the sub-culture that is millennials. Reply All crashed and burned earlier this year, and their humble, stumbling recovery from that is a lesson in itself. Based on the amount I’ve learned from these guys, I’ve developed considerable respect for the millennial generation.”

Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Azmeena HussainPrincipal lawyer, Maurice Blackburn Azmeena Hussain

Anonymous was a Woman, with Jamila Rizvi and Astrid Edwards “Jamila and Astrid are engaging presenters who speak about their own perspectives and experiences within literature, reviews of books by and about women. I love hearing their reflections on varied topics affecting women, coupled with their own stories and insights. Thought provoking and very engaging.”  

Nazeem Hussain, Rogue Son on Audible “A shameless plug for a podcast hosted by my big bro! But trust me, it’s worth the listen. Naz tours Sri Lanka at a pivotal time for the country, political and culturally. He shares some funny encounters in some serious settings. All the while, our mum is freaking out about her boy being away in Sri Lanka without her. Laughs and cringes in the space of five minutes.”

Victoria University Sir Zelman Cowen Centre director Kathy LasterSir Zelman Cowen Centre director, Victoria University, Kathy Laster

Coronacast “First class health and science journalism, a reliable source of info on the Big C, delivered in a short, easily digestible format – with the added bonus of Dr Norman Swan’s Scottish accent and Teagan Taylor’s one-liners.”

Word Up “With our work beginning on Ngarna Nanngit, and as chair of LanguageLoop and a member of the board of Kadimah (as well as being a language enthusiast), I listen to Word Up. Each episode exposes a word from one of the many languages of Aboriginal Australia, and includes interesting guests who reveal both the pronunciation and meanings of words, as well as stories as to why particular words hold a special place in their hearts and culture.”

King & Wood Mallesons Innovation executive director Michelle MahoneyKing & Wood Mallesons executive director, Innovation Michelle Mahoney

Managing The Future of Work – Harvard Business School “This twice monthly podcast has 30 minute interviews with a variety of leading industry professionals, always backed by science and research. The episodes I tend to listen to have a behavioural change aspect. Given my role I am always on the lookout for high quality behaviour change content. I nearly always listen while multi-tasking and have to pause and capture notes on my phone for me to apply post episode. Lots of good take aways in every episode.”

Pioneers and Pathfinders – Seyfarth “Stephen Poor, chair emeritus and co-lead of Seyfarth Labs interviews typically US-based people driving change in the legal industry. Many of his guests I have been lucky to know. The episodes are twice monthly 40 minutes and always remind me that change in law is happening, it just may not be evenly distributed.”  

Doogue + George director Bill DoogueDoogue + George director Bill Doogue

West Cork “A glamorous French woman married to a movie director is murdered in her holiday house in a secluded part of Ireland. The podcast has access to the main suspect who talks and talks to them (presumably contrary to legal advice from his lawyers). Many twists and turns and quite fascinating. At the end you are left to decide on his guilt.” 

Absolutely Mental “Ricky Gervais meets serious US public intellectual Sam Harris in a fascinating series of funny and thought-provoking telephone conversations. The two of them are polar extremes but have a great chemistry and the episodes range from reflections on ‘what makes something funny?’ to ‘how can stories make us cry’.” 

Clyde & Co  digital law associate James WongClyde & Co associate, Digital law, James Wong

Not Overthinking “Not Overthinking is hosted by brothers Ali (a doctor and popular YouTuber) and Taimur (a mathematician and data scientist). Both voracious readers and self-confessed ‘overthinkers’, the hosts share a light-hearted conversation each week covering stories, ideas, frameworks and new ideas that ‘help us think, do, and be better’.”

Editor’s Picks from The Economist “An unfortunate side effect of the pandemic is that the world has drifted further apart. It’s becoming easier to ‘dial down the volume’ on happenings abroad. One way to stay informed is reading The Economist – or, if you’re very time poor, listening to its Editor’s Picks podcast, which allows you to listen free to a selection of the three top articles from each week’s issue of the newspaper.”

Victorian Government Solicitor Matthew HockingVictorian Government Solicitor Matthew Hocking

The Dynamic Leader Podcast “In Shelley Flett’s podcast, based on her excellent book, she regularly interviews leaders and managers from a broad range of fields and diverse backgrounds who provide excellent insight into leadership philosophies and overcoming various challenges. I have worked with Shelley in the past and find her perspective on leadership and management very helpful.”

No Laying Up Podcast “This is a guilty pleasure and probably best suited to golf nerds only. I like this podcast because it does not get too technical and is presented by normal average golf tragics. The podcasts are regular and keep pace mostly with the US PGA Tour and interviews of well-known professionals and various identities connected to golf offer an immense level of insight and humour.” ■

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