10 Podcasts to keep your legal brain sharp over the holidays

The rise of digital technology has brought transformation to the legal industry, including changes to the way that legal information is communicated. With an array of informative and engaging legal blogs, phone apps and podcasts popping up across cyberspace, it is clear that legal education is no longer confined to university lecture theatres. Whether you’re a lawyer, a student or a curious member of the public, you can improve your legal knowledge through online resources.

Podcasts are a particularly convenient way to learn more about the law over the summer. You can listen to them when you’re in the car, going for walk, or soaking up the sunshine at the beach! Continue reading for our favourite legal podcasts to keep your legal brain sharp over the holidays.

1. Just Cases  

Monash Law School’s recently launched podcast series, Just Cases, unravels intriguing court cases that have had impacted the way Australians live. Expert academics explain the fascinating and often dramatic details of legal stories, and uncover the human dimension of litigation and its consequences. The podcast’s plain language makes these important cases easy and enjoyable listening for people from both legal and non-legal backgrounds.

2. Happy Lawyer Happy Life

Queensland family lawyer and entrepreneur Clarissa Raywood started a blog in 2013 to share her thoughts on finding happiness in the legal profession. The blog has since expanded into a social media empire, including the Happy Lawyer Happy Life podcast. Clarissa chats with guests from a range of legal backgrounds, from law students to retired High Court judges. Each episode delves into a personal journey to finding joy in the profession and shares tips for others to do the same.

3. Scarlet Letter

The Feminist Legal Studies Group from Monash University has created Scarlet Letter to share interviews with legal feminists about their life, their legal careers and what feminism means to them. This podcast is inspiring and encouraging to young women aspiring to a career in the traditionally male-dominated legal profession. Listeners gain a feminist perspective on policy and law reform in areas such as family law, domestic violence, migration, human rights and reproductive health.

4. Law Report

ABC National Radio’s long-standing legal affairs program will keep you up to date with the latest legal developments, without the tedious legal jargon. Law Report focuses on legal issues in Australia, while also drawing upon international examples. It covers a diverse range of topics including law reform, prominent cases, miscarriages of justice and developments in the legal profession. The program regularly features prominent and innovative members of the legal profession.

If you’re not sure which episode to listen to first, check out the interview with Australia’s first school lawyer, Vincent Shin. ACJI were thrilled to host a panel discussion on the School Lawyer Program with Vincent Shin and his colleagues in August 2017.

School Lawyer Event
ACJI Event – “The School Lawyer Program: Providing accessible legal services to young people”

5. Have you got that right? The Podcast

In 2015 Monash University’s Castan Centre for Human Rights created Have you that right? as an entertaining and informative video series about human rights. Two years later, the series has expanded into a monthly podcast answering important human rights questions. This podcast will help you stay abreast of the latest developments in human rights with in-depth analysis of current issues. The Castan Centre’s experts are joined by activists, academics and politicians to discuss topics such as marriage equality, asylum seeker-rights and political freedoms. This innovative project aims to empower people to better understand how human rights protect society’s most vulnerable people.

6. Fighting for Fair

 The Fighting for Fair podcast series from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers shares stories of the lived experience behind litigation. Listeners will admire the bravery of the people who choose to fight for justice despite facing obstacles along the way. Each episode gives a vivid account of an individual’s personal struggle for social justice against powerful adversaries.

7. Prima Facie

Whether you’re a criminal law enthusiast or a policy buff, Prima Facie will provide you with your fortnightly dose of law and order. The show is hosted by Ron Kileen, an ex-detective in the Victorian Police Force, and David Mejia-Canales, a Victorian lawyer. Between amusing banter between the hosts, this podcast covers controversial hot-topics in the law such as terrorism, sentencing, the role of the police and how the law impacts our everyday lives.

8. New Thinking

Our friends at the New York-based Centre for Court Innovation (CCI) have created the New Thinking podcast to share examples of meaningful justice reforms in the US and abroad. The podcast features leading thinkers in redesigning court systems and improving access to justice. With a focus on crime prevention, rehabilitation and procedural justice, the CCI works with courts and police to implement new approaches to solving legal problems. For example, CCI has partnered with Red Hook Community Justice Centre, which has been successful in reducing offending by addressing the underlying problems that cause criminal behaviour. In March 2017, ACJI were fortunate to host a guest lecture by Judge Alex Calabrese from Red Hook Community Justice Centre, which you can watch here.

Judge Calabrese
ACJI Event – “Community Courts: Producing Better Results Internationally Using 
Procedural Justice, Therapeutic and Problem-Solving Principles” presented by Judge Alex Calabrese

9. Beyond Billables

In Beyond Billables two ex-lawyers, Maciek Motylinski and Michael Bromley chat with some of the most innovative members of the legal industry. Most of their guests have not followed a traditional legal career path, but rather have used cross-disciplinary skillset to blaze their own trail in the law. The podcast encourages lawyers to challenge their conservative mindsets, embrace change in the profession and take advantage of the opportunities it brings. If you’re looking for some career motivation or a new perspective on the legal profession, Beyond Billables is worth a listen.

10. More Perfect

The More Perfect podcast series (produced by Radiolab) has just returned for a second season. They examine important decisions from the US Supreme Court and explain how those decisions affect the lives of ordinary people. A recent episode explored the case of Dred Scott v Sandford, in which an African-American was unsuccessful in suing for his freedom. The episode considers how past wrongs can be reconciled (if at all) and what role apologies and forgiveness should play. This discussion is particularly relevant in today’s political debates about racial discrimination. It also highlights the importance of non-adversarial approaches to justice.

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