The University of Minnesota Law School’s journal recently launched a legal podcast featuring interviews with authors to make legal topics more accessible.
The podcast, called “Experto Crede,” was established by Veena Tripathi. Tripathi is a third-year law student and lead online editor for the Minnesota Law Review, the University's student-run law review. Tripathi said she wanted to use the podcast to ensure research and scholarship within the journal had a greater reach.
Because legal scholarship often consists of hundreds of pages of legal reasoning, it can be daunting to try to understand an idea. The podcast aims to make dense legal concepts more digestible, she said.
“You can engage with the material by reading it and discussing it with your peers,” Tripathi said. “But it’s another thing to hear a conversation with the author and really get their vision and what they want the impact of the piece to be.”
By using a podcasting format, “Experto Crede” seeks to create new dialogue in the legal community. So far, the podcast has released three episodes that are available on Spotify, iTunes and SoundCloud.
“We want to make sure we are always publishing things that are cutting-edge or are really going to move the needle forward on different legal conversations and topics,” Tripathi said.
William McGeveran, associate dean for academic affairs in the Law School, was a guest on the first episode. He discussed his article about data privacy.
“My article in particular makes a lot of recommendations that would be of interest to lawmakers and regulators and to companies that hold personal information. ... I want to be accessible to those people as well,” McGeveran said. “Doing it with ordinary language, with audio instead of dense academic prose, is a big difference."
Third-year law student Caroline Schmitz praised the podcast’s ability to take conversation beyond the legal scope.
“They’re talking about the substance of their paper, but they’re really talking about it above and beyond the legal logistics and underpinnings of their argument,” Schmitz said. “Mostly they’re talking about, ‘How does this play out on the day-to-day?’ and ‘What does your paper mean in our everyday lives?’”
Abby Swanson, a third-year law student, said she benefits from the interactive exchange of ideas the podcast facilitates. “[Tripathi] is asking the author specific questions and kind of pushing back on their ideas, which allows them to flesh out their ideas more fully instead of just having a one-sided conversation through reading it,” Swanson said. “It becomes more dynamic.”
According to McGeveran, the engagement stimulated in a podcast can help bridge the gap between people and the legal topics that affect them.
“I think it’s really important for the scholars and the students who work on journals to figure out ways to be a conduit between the dense academic prose and the real world impact,” McGeveran said.