Best legal podcasts to listen to in 2020

It’s time for our most popular piece of the year! After the success of our 2018 and 2019 lists (plus a beach summer list), here comes 2020. Do you have a must-listen-to favourite podcast? Research published in 2019 shows that the number of people listening to a podcast each week has grown by 58% over the past two years to around 7.1 million people in the UK. Ofcom research also found that half of listeners have joined the podcast wave in the last two years.

In the legal world the diverse and interesting options continue to multiply as well as some big hitters who remain on our list year in, year out, such is the depth and breadth of their content and guests.

In no particular order, here’s what we are listening to in 2020. Let us know what else we should add to our list.

#1 BBC Law in Action

One of the longest-running legal podcasts, this podcast is hosted by legal commentator and journalist Joshua Rozenberg and a staple for many a Radio 4-listening lawyer and is back on our list for 2020. Law in Action delves into a variety of topical legal issues and developments including questions such as whether Love Island contestants leave their legal rights at the door of the villa, the UK’s constitution, and do male and female judges judge differently. The episodes run weekly with interviews and studio discussions, focusing on UK legal developments.

#2 LawNext

Presented by Robert (Bob) Ambrogli, lawyer and legaltech writer at LawSites, LawNext offers weekly podcasts on the many aspects of the future of law. Each week, Bob interviews the innovators and entrepreneurs who are driving what’s next in the legal industry, from legal technology startups to new law firm business models to enhancing access to justice. Recent podasts included Stanford’s Margaret Hagan on designing for justice and LawClerk Cofounder Greg Garman on changing-up the model for small firms.

#3 Law Pod UK

Now running for more than 100 episodes, Law Pod UK is another stalwart of the UK legal podcast scene, discussing developments across all aspects of civil and public law in the UK. Presented by Rosalind English and Emma-Louise Fenelon, creators of the UK Human Rights Blog, it is produced by the barristers at One Crown Office Row.

#4 Talking Politics

The beauty of podcasts is they not only broaden the mind but keep us in the conversation. Particularly in this current fast-paced unpredictable and volatile political climate, we can all do with a handy way of keeping up-to-date. Step forward the Talking Politics podcast, recorded in David Runciman’s office in the Cambridge politics department. David is Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge and each week unpicks the latest stories with a regular panel of experts and invited guests. Talking Politics is a weekly podcast, uploaded every Thursday morning.

#5 EU Confidential

From Brussels, Berlin, Paris and London comes Politico’s EU Confidential, Europe’s premier political podcast. This is an all-round good listen for current affairs junkies as well as a go-to for lawyers who work across European countries and in areas of EU law that require a broader understanding of the political structures, cultures and practices and their legal implications. The podcast also features interviews from experts and leading figures giving the inside view.

#6 The Hardwicke Podcast

Launched in 2019, the barristers at leading commercial set Hardwicke Chambers have developed a podcast series concentrating on providing an informal view of important legal issues and unpicking legal topics arising from Hardwicke’s key practice areas in discussion with leading barristers from the chambers. This is quality legal commentary – Brie Stevens-Hoare QC and Steven Woolf set the tone in the first episode.

#7 LexisNexis Environmental Law Podcast

This monthly series aimed at environmental lawyers and practitioners is hosted by LexisNexis and each month invites guests including barristers and other experts to discuss and provide commentary on topical issues. January’s episode is hosted by Christopher Badger and Mark Davies of 6 Pump Court and they discuss case updates and predictions for key areas in environmental law during 2020.

#8 Mens Rea

Mens Rea is an independent true-crime podcast discussing crime in Ireland and the UK. Mens Rea is researched, written and produced by the podcast’s host, known only as Sinead, who every two weeks delves into the most notorious crimes, examines the people involved, the investigation of the police and the court cases that followed.

#9 Legal Toolkit

Legal Talk Network’s Legal Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for people in law practice management. With a new episode every month, Jared Correia invites forward-thinking lawyers to discuss the services, ideas, and programs that have improved their practices. January’s episode is about acquiring top-notch talent for your team including the best strategies for defining your firm’s staffing needs.

#10 LeGal LGBT

Making the list again this year is LeGal, one of the USA’s first associations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) legal community, and this podcast consists of lively discussion with LGBTQ lawyers, policy experts and activists on the latest legal news affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the US around the world.

#11 Employment Law Matters

Daniel Barnett is an employment law barrister who back in 1999 set up his Employment Law (UK) email bulletin, sending 2-3 emails a week on all matters relating to employment law. Quickly becoming the go-to employment resource and key website for employment lawyers, 20 years later he has set up the weekly Employment Law Matters podcast aimed at HR professionals and lawyers who want to help their businesses and clients with tricky, practical, employment law issues.

#12 Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Lawyer 2 Lawyer is a US award-winning podcast covering relevant, contemporary news from a legal perspective. Presented by American lawyers and bloggers Bob Ambrogi (who gets double mention this year, see LawNext above) and J. Craig Williams, the two invite industry professionals (usually with opposing viewpoints) to examine current events and recent rulings in discussions that raise contemplative questions for those involved in the legal industry. Launched in 2005, Lawyer 2 Lawyer is one of the longest-running podcasts on the Internet.

#13 Legal Current

Another US podcast which is a staple for many podcast-loving lawyers, Legal Current by Thomson Reuters makes the list again as it continues to run a series of commentary on the business and practice of law. With a global outlook, it explores many issues that affect legal practitioners in other countries, as well as setting issues in context for listeners in the UK.

#14 UK Law Weekly

We’ve included UK Law Weekly again as we think it makes for excellent listening and a great resource for studying and practicing lawyers alike. Hosted by former university professor Marcus Cleaver, the weekly episodes are short, concise and easy to digest, focusing on the week’s legal decisions and news. Listeners gain analysis of topical talking points as well as specific cases that have recently gone through the Supreme and other UK courts.

#15 Building NewLaw

Canadian Counter Tax Lawyers Peter Aprile and Natalie Worsfold joined forces to build (literally, they were the technical architects) a better law firm to serve their tax clients. They fully admit to being unique characters and wanted to search out the like-minded odd, creative, hardworking, and obsessive people building interesting things and pushing to do better and interview them for their podcast, which now spans four series.

#16 Thinking Like a Lawyer

Hosted by Above the Law’s Ellie Mystal and Joe Patrice, this US podcast takes on a range of topics that are talking points amongst the wider population, and in their own words ‘shine it through the prism of a legal framework.’ This results in lively and fascinating conversations around issues as broad as free speech, drones and droids, weddings and parenting. Definitely one for broadening the mind!

#17 Hey Legal

This new podcast wants to make its listeners a better Scottish lawyer. From learning how to eat for a busy day in Court, to hearing from Scotland’s brightest legal minds, Hey Legal aims to release new episodes every week, inviting new guests to share their expertise to build a better Scottish legal sector.

#18 Legal Ops

The Legal Ops Podcast is an Australian podcast with a global appeal.  Every episode covers a new aspect in relation to legal operations, legal business and legal technology, hosted by Alex Rosenrauch and Elliot Leibu. Recent topics include change management, transformation, operationalisation and technology implementation, overlaid with the human elements of change management and organisational psychology. If you’re interested in the changing nature of legal services delivery, and you want to be a part of it, this is the podcast for you.

#19 The New Lawyer

From New Zealand comes The New Lawyer podcast, aimed at new and prospective lawyers as well as to think in new ways about the practice and culture of law. Hosted by Katie Cowan, The New Lawyer Podcast is an occasional interview podcast series produced by Symphony Law for junior lawyers, law students, and anyone wanting to think differently about the culture of legal practice. Topics include finding your fit, going solo and networking.

#20 Practicing While Black

This US podcast aims to increase representation one story at a time, leading with the statistic that in the US, black attorneys make up only 5% of attorneys. Practicing While Black aims to increase this figure, using the podcast to broadcast experiences of black attorneys and serving as a platform to inspire and share strategies to accelerate career and business success. Each month considers a new topic, often with a guest, that all lawyers will find interesting and inspirational, including creating a better law firm and all manner of topics around being a better lawyer.

Bonus: First 100 Years

Of course, we can’t make a list of legal podcasts without mentioning our own. First 100 Years recorded the last of a series of 10 podcasts following the course of the 100 years of women in law in November 2019. In collaboration with Goldman Sachs and Linklaters, the series charts each decade of the last 100 years and the history of women in the legal professions, 45-minute discussions between legal pioneers, historians, academics and legal practitioners based on key themes, including gender stereotypes, work/life balance and diversity.

Do you have an essential listen to add to our list of podcasts for lawyers? Let us know @ObeliskSupport