Two Law Students Explain Legal Principles In An Easily-digestible Way Here

Ryan Shellady
Luke Cole
Nov. 9, 2018 - "We recommend doing some research before publishing your podcast though. Take some time to get the overhead figured out before you begin producing your first publishable content."
Since 2018
News & Politics

►Tell us about you and your podcast

Our names are Ryan Shellady and Luke Cole. As of November 2018, we are third-year law students at the University of Iowa College of Law. Ryan is born and raised in and around Iowa City, while Luke grew up in Laramie, Wyoming. Our podcast is called "See id." which refers to a type of legal citation we often use when writing legal articles or documents. As law students (and soon, lawyers), we realize that we have a duty not only to serve our clients, but also our community. One way we want to serve our community is by helping to explain legal principles in an easily-digestible way. In order to engage in our complicated social system, we believe it's essential that citizens have an understanding how those systems work for and against them. That's why our podcast hopes to "Break down the law—without breaking it."

We hope to reach not only lawyers and law students, but ideally anyone who wants to learn more about what it means to be a citizen, and how the law affects you each and every day. We believe that you should know what the Equal Protection Clause of our Constitution is and how it works for or against you. We believe you should know the basic elements of a contract, because you encounter them every day. To be an informed voter, to be an engaged member of society, it is essential that you know the framework so you can work to support it or to change it. But we also realize that the law is dense and difficult. It isn't something you can just learn over night; rather you learn it over many, many nights in the library (trust us, we've done it and we STILL have so, so much to learn). But you've got to start somewhere, so we hope listeners can start with us.


►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

Ryan, in particular, listened to a lot of podcasts before we got started making our own. Podcasts are a quickly-growing medium. Podcasting is to radio what Netflix and Hulu are to TV. It's a new age where listeners have more choices that can be accessed more flexibly and on their time.

We realize that our reach is fairly limited, so one of our main goals was to have fun. We will be preparing for the BAR exam, and making these podcasts not only helps listeners learn about the law—it helps us review what we have learned too!

We officially started making our podcasts in late August of 2018, with episodes being created weekly beginning in early September 2018. We are both extremely busy with school, as you can imagine, but we still find time to get these podcasts recorded because it's a fun and productive creative outlet. We hope these podcasts will also keep us connected when we move apart. Ryan will be working for a firm in Des Moines, IA and Luke with be moving to New York City to work for one of the world's largest firms.

After doing much research during summer 2018, we released our first episode after about one week. This included recording, editing, creating logos, understanding how Squarespace podcasting works, getting approval from all of our outlets, and more. Today, we can record a podcast and get it published the same day. Our biggest time-restriction is our time studying! Fortunately we have other members of our team at Not Suspicious Media helping us to produce the show when we get busier.


►How'd you find the time and funding to do this podcast?

We try our best to release the podcast weekly. Things do come up once in a while—mostly because school is inconsistent with workload and nightly commitments. But we always make sure to record at least a couple of days before we want to publish to give us enough time to get it how we want it.

We spent our own money that we earned working this past summer at our respective firms to purchase, essentially what amounts to "intro podcasting equipment." It gets the job done, for sure, but someday we want to upgrade equipment.

Our domain cost in the range of $30 for a two full years, and our Squarespace account that we post on (with unlimited uploads, where each episode can be up to 160 gb of data) was between $100 and $180 for a full year. We create our own logos and marketing materials and post them on Facebook and Instagram. Occasionally we do "boost" posts on Facebook advertising: the cost of which varies at your own discretion. Our actual podcasting equipment cost in the range of $500–$600. There are always going to be start-up costs, but if you are in it for the long-haul, these costs are reasonable. We are fortunate to have a person with a marketing degree on our team as well, so we have crafted some nice branding for our podcasts. Once we have greater income, we'll be spending more to push our podcast through online advertising.


►What do you gain from podcasting?        

Honest to God, we don't track our downloads per month. I know on release we had some 300 "subscribers" but we don't know how consistent that is. We are more focused on content creation right now. When we want to really push the podcast, we will. We haven't sought sponsorship yet because we want to put out consistently high-quality material first. We want to earn sponsors' respect before asking for money or revenue to come in.

We will seek sponsorship in the future, but we are still early in the process. We may yet rebrand or change formulas as we learn and grow. We also know that our time will be limited when we begin studying for the BAR exam, and a more consistent schedule is important to professional podcasting.


►How does your podcasting process look like? 

We use Squarespace as our website host and our podcasting host. It's great because we have so much more freedom to customize our site and our podcasts. We also don't have to pay for an independent hosting site to link it back to a higher-quality website.

We use two Audio Technica 2100 USB/XLR microphones and Knox Studio stands with microphone filters. We also use 2 sets of Audio Technica ATH M40X Professional Monitor Headphones. Our mixer is a Behringer Xenyx 1202. We have a Behringer U-CONTROL UCA 222 for our digital converter. For production, we use Garageband, which seems to work alright for our endeavors. For creating marketing materials we use canva.com. We have a person who writes and records our theme songs for us. Although we are branching out while he works on building his recording database and studio.

We haven't invited guests onto our show yet, but we are planning to in the future. For now, we are focusing on our own chemistry and getting a wide variety of basic legal knowledge covered in our episodes that we will be able to refer back to as we created related episodes in the future.

Our process is a lot of stop and start. We review cases and statutes and the Constitution as is necessary. Before we start discussing a case on the podcast we read through it to make sure we get the right points. We also try and post show notes on our website with the citations to the cases we discuss. Sometimes we don't get to the show notes immediately upon release because writing out all of the case citations takes time, but they get up there!


►How do you market your show?

We primarily use Facebook and instagram though we have also posted on Reddit and spread out podcasts with advertising at our University and through word-of-mouth. We have professors who have taken an interest, and the school seems to enjoy the work we are putting into our episodes.

Social media is super useful. Once school is over, we will probably push more on social media. We have a person who is dedicated to social media who is graduating in just about a month. She will be able to dedicate more time to marketing our show once finals are over.


►What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?

All you have to do is look online. Reddit has some really helpful users. Youtube has some helpful editing videos. There are bound to be other people you know that have done sound editing so reach out through your social networks and people are generous and willing to help. Don't be shy!

The things that were most difficult were determining where we wanted to host our podcast, and we are really glad we settled on Squarespace. It's an awesome hosting site. There are also lots of helpful resources that can condense or even your sound online for free. You'll just have to do a little bit of legwork. We believe the best way to learn this stuff is to be thrown into the deep end. Everyone has different preferences. For example, some people much prefer Audacity to Garageband. Some people strongly prefer consdenser microphones to dynamic ones. It just depends on what makes you feel most comfortable. We recommend doing some research before publishing your podcast though. Take some time to get the overhead figured out before you begin producing your first publishable content.


►Where can we learn more about you & your podcasts?

You can head to notsuspiciousmedia.com to see all of our podcasts and blogs, including See id. You can also check out our podcasts on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Overcast, and Playapod. You can contact us at either [email protected] or [email protected]. We do have a patreon, but we'd prefer you listen to several episodes before deciding whether you want to support our work. Let us earn your support!

Updated: 10 months ago