Liven up your daily commute or your weekly workout with these entertaining and educational podcasts, chosen especially for lawyers by WSBA member Randy Trick. You’ll find even more great podcast suggestions in the November 2015 issue of NWLawyer!
Lawyering can be as much about effective communication as it is about intelligent analysis. A Slate production, Lexicon Valley explores the meanings of idioms in our language with an emphasis on the etymology and evolution of words and phrases.
Judge John Hodgman
John Hodgman, esteemed writer for McSweeney’s, author of The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require, and editor of the humor section of the New York Times Magazine, hosts Judge John Hodgman, a spoof of the court shows on daytime television, which themselves are a parody of the legal system. Hodgman rules on heated disputes between friends and couples, such as whether a machine gun is a robot (one litigant says a machine gun is mechanical, programmable, and performs a repetitive task, thus a robot), or whether a woman who lost a bet and was barred from wearing an ugly pair of Crocs in public for a week breached that contract by wearing them in her front yard.
When the Great Recession struck in 2008–09, reporters at National Public Radio launched the Planet Money podcast to explain the crisis to listeners who didn’t know the difference between a credit default swap and getting credit from a vendor at a swap meet. For the three years that followed, the Planet Money team dissected the ongoing economic crisis, the housing bubble, and all that was too big to fail. The podcast has recently explored supply chain economics by tracing back the origins of a T-shirt product, and the Chinese currency devaluation. Worth downloading from the archives is the collaboration with This American Life titled “The Giant Pool of Money” from May 9, 2008, about the housing crisis. The podcast pieces are longer and more complete than the versions broadcast on radio.
Legal Talk Network’s Law Podcasts
There are many quality podcasts about the law, specifically for lawyers, that won’t put you to sleep the same way an afternoon CLE PowerPoint presentation will. Among my favorites are several from the Legal Talk Network. Specifically worth highlighting are New Solo, a weekly half-hour show for the solo practitioner; The Legal Toolkit, a general interest talk show about tech and resources for attorneys; and Above the Law’s Thinking Like a Lawyer, where topics in pop culture and in the news are discussed through a legal lens.