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Seven home-grown podcasts for lawyers in Virginia

podcast_mainPodcasts are having their heyday.

Last year, more than half the people in the United States listened to one, and nearly one out of three people listen to at least one podcast every month, according to the latest edition of The Infinite Dial, an annual survey put together by Edison Research and Triton Digital, an audio technology and advertising company.

In the legal sphere, there is also a growing number of podcast series covering topics ranging from criminal cases––like the 2014 NPR podcast “Serial,” which seemed to spark this podcast wave––to industry news and lawyer wellbeing.

There’s no shortage of household names who have entered the podcast ring, including the American Bar Association and  Bloomberg Law.

There’s also quite a few shows produced by Virginia’s very own.

“Podcasts are a wonderful way, if you’re sitting on a train or in your car, to one, keep yourself entertained, and perhaps learn something new about your practice while doing so,” said Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises in Fairfax and co-host of the podcasts “Digital Detectives” and “The Digital Edge.”

Nelson launched her podcast career with “The Digital Edge” in 2007 with co-host Jim Calloway, director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program, as a way to market their services and expand their knowledge of the legal field.

The show has proven to work as a powerful networking tool, as well––especially once it was picked up by the Legal Talk Network in 2010.

“Because Legal Talk Network is so big, many of [its] podcasters are our friends now. They’ve become part of our network,” Nelson said.

Michaela Lieberman had a similar experience when she launched the “Office Hours” podcast with her professor, Jeffrey Bellin, at the William & Mary law school in 2018.

“Law school is a really serious, intense place. To have opportunities for levity, for me, was a really meaningful component of my experience there,” Lieberman, who now works at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, said. “It was a fun medium to explore that made the relatively small community at William & Mary feel even more closely knit.”

Though the subject matters of their shows differ, Nelson and Lieberman can agree on one thing: Producing a podcast is hard. It takes time to research topics for each episode, coordinate schedules with co-hosts and guests, assemble a technical team and advertise the show on websites and social media platforms.

Podcasting also can be expensive. The necessary equipment––headphones, mics, editing software, etc. ––isn’t cheap.

That’s why this week, Virginia Lawyers Weekly is shining a spotlight on those who take on such a feat.

Enjoy, readers. And happy listening.

  1. Common Law

“Common Law” is a podcast by the University of Virginia law school. Its hosts, Dean Risa Goluboff and Vice Dean Leslie Kendrick, explores how law shapes society, how we shape law and why we should all care, according to its website.

In each episode, Goluboff and Kendrick invite a new guest to discuss different areas of law, including best-selling author John Grisham and a variety of UVA professors. Each season explores a different theme, starting with “The Future of Law” and now, in its second season, “When Law Changed the World.”

  1. The Digital Edge

In this monthly podcast, hosts Nelson and Calloway offer tips and tools for career success while educating listeners on technology news. The podcasting pair invite noted authors, speakers and legal technologists to discuss topics at the intersection of law and technology, including cybersecurity basics and how to succeed in the ever-changing legal marketplace.

In February’s episode, Nelson and Calloway interview Stewart Levine, founder of ResolutionWorks, on maintaining lawyer well-being.

  1. Digital Detectives

“Digital Detectives,” a second podcast by Nelson and her co-host John Simek, vice president of Sensei Enterprises, is for listeners who are interested in digital forensics, e-discovery and information security issues, according to the Legal Talk Network.

In each episode, Nelson and Simek invite digital forensic and computer security experts to enlighten listeners on the latest technology, cyber threats and necessary security measures to keep online data secure.

  1. Office Hours

“Office Hours” is the official podcast of the William & Mary law school that, as Lieberman put it, asks “simple questions about complex legal matters.” Every episode features light but substantive conversations with professors and experts in the legal field.

“What’s a question that might feel silly to ask in class? What is security, for instance? What do we actually mean when we talk about stocks and bonds and the laws of regulating them? Those were the kinds of things we discussed,” Lieberman said.

Co-founded by Lieberman and Bellin in 2018, “Office Hours” has since been passed down to new student co-hosts who continue to ask the tough, simple questions.

  1. Bar Review

In a more student-specific series, Washington & Lee law students Thuan Tran and Charles Bonani discuss the “various challenges and experiences they encounter in their law school life.” Since the show’s debut in October, Tran and Bonani have discussed time and stress management, the ins and outs of intellectual property law and, in their most recent episode, how “Z’s” can still get degrees. 

  1. Estate Law Center Podcast

A great podcast for listeners looking to hone their knowledge on wills, trust, estate planning and business law. Culpeper attorney, author and host Katherine S. Charapich discusses stories she has accumulated and lessons she has learned from the desk of an estate planner.

  1. Parents at Work

Though this is not a lawyer-specific podcast, its content can be useful for legal professionals everywhere. Produced by Tom Spiggle, founder of the Spiggle Law Firm in Arlington, the show explores techniques and best practices on how to “excel at work while trying to raise your family.” Each episode offers anecdotes and advice from parents working in demanding fields on how to find balance in both their personal and professional worlds, with episodes offering insights from both lawyer moms and attorney dads.