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Podcasting as Public Legal Education August 29, 2006

Posted by James G. Milles in Podcasting.
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California Western School of Law has posted the first episode of what is intended to be a weekly podcast (or “Internet radio show”) on current legal news:

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 28, 2006 – Law professors at California Western are now taking their expertise from the classroom to the iPod. On Law in 10, California Western’s weekly podcast, professors will provide legal analysis on current news topics, all in 10 minutes or less.

“Although a handful of other law schools use podcasts for lectures and speaker events, we believe California Western is the first law school to offer a weekly news commentary,” said David Bowers, assistant dean for external affairs. “Our purpose in launching this effort is to introduce our faculty members to ‘Gen iPod,’ the 19-24 year old college student with an interest in legal issues. We believe others will develop an interest as well.”

The show is divided into two segments, each featuring a different legal expert and topic of interest. Listeners are able to receive a free weekly subscription using RSS feeds, with aggregators such as iTunes, Google, and Yahoo. Listeners may also listen to podcasts directly from the California Western Web site at http://www.cwsl.edu/Lawin10.

The first podcast debuted on Aug. 24, 2006 and featured criminal law Professor Justin Brooks and constitutional law Professor Marilyn Ireland. Brooks – also director of the California Innocence Project – discussed media coverage, false confessions, and DNA testing concerning the 10-year-old JonBenet Ramsey murder. Ireland – a long-time San Diego resident and First Amendment specialist – talked about the ongoing San Diego Mt. Soledad Cross controversy.

“Our podcast will showcase the great variety of legal experts we have here at the law school,” said Franki Fitterer, associate director for marketing and communications and host of Law in 10. “We are thrilled to launch this project, and believe it will prove to be an informative and useful tool for a myriad of audiences.”

CLICK HERE to go to official Law in 10 Web site.

While the growth of course-related podcasting has been remarkable, largely thanks to the efforts and support of John Mayer and CALI’s Legal Education Podcasting Project, podcasting to the public has been slow to catch on. A few individual law professors have been podcasting outside of the classroom–most notably Audible Althouse, although Ann Althouse herself claims to be neither a law blogger nor a law podcaster. The potential of podcasting as a form of public legal education and community service seems enormous. It will be interesting to see if CWSL can maintain the commitment –from a group as notoriously hard to manage as law faculty–necessary to keep to a regular production schedule, and thereby build an audience and public awareness.

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