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Veena Tripathi of the University of Minnesota Law School interviews Professor William McGeveran. (Submitted photo)
Veena Tripathi of the University of Minnesota Law School interviews Professor William McGeveran. (Submitted photo)

U of M podcast advises ‘trust the experts’

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the surname of law student Veena Tripathi, the online editor of the Minnesota Law Review.

The Minnesota Law Review, age 102, recently took a large step into the world of digital communication with the launch of its first podcast, “Experto Crede.”

The podcast is the brainchild of third-year University of Minnesota Law School student Veena Tripathi, MLR’s online editor, who also was the host of all three podcasts that have been completed to date.

The three programs, each recorded in March, featured Tripathi interviewing article authors from two editions of the law review: U of M Law professor and associate dean for academic affairs William McGeveran and Rutgers Law School professors Rose Cuison-Villazor and David Noll. (The podcasts are available with the story at minnlawyer.com.)

Tripathi, who will be joining the Minneapolis office of Fish & Richardson as an IP litigator after graduation this spring, said her goal in creating the podcast was to make legal scholarship more accessible.

“I think one of the great things about a podcast is that it requires very little legwork from the listener,” she says. “You can just listen to it on your commute. If you’re someone who’s interested in learning more about a specific area of law or an emerging area of law, it’s a really easy way to take 30 minutes out of your day to learn about it.”

Tripathi, a self-described podcast fan, says that she advocated the creation of a podcast in her application to be the lead online editor. “I listen to a lot of podcasts, and legal podcasts are increasingly popular,” she says. “So when I had the opportunity to become the lead online editor at the Law Review, it was something that I wanted to start.”

When her fellow Law Review editors agreed, it was simply a matter of enlisting U of M Law senior communications technician Randy Barnett to assist in ironing out the technical issues.

According to Tripathi, several student law reviews have started doing podcasts — she considers the University Chicago Law Review’s “Briefly” and UCLA Law Review’s “Dialectic” to be among the best — and her intention was to follow suit at the U of M.

The formula calls for interviews with authors or other legal scholars or professionals to talk about subjects that have been addressed in the review. The very first “Experto Crede” podcast featured McGeveran, author of an article, “The Duty of Data Security,” who told Tripathi that his purpose in writing it was to provide clarity to a confusing subject.

“I absolutely want to tell everybody to relax and not to panic about the idea that data security is too big and too fast moving and we can’t get our arms around it,” he said.

Tripathi points out that McGeveran’s article was also the inspiration for the name, “Experto Crede,” because one of its themes was a contention that in a new and emerging field like data privacy law, one needs to trust the experts.

Tripathi said the value of the podcast is letting authors “not only speak about what their piece is, but also their intentions behind getting the piece published, or their research process, or areas for future scholarship that they might not address within the substance of the article.”

Two weeks after the three podcasts were posted on Soundcloud, they recorded more than 200 listens (they are also available on Stitcher, iTunes, Spotify, and elsewhere), which Tripathi considers a strong number.

“I’m happy that it’s gaining a following,” she says. “I know that all my classmates and all my friends in the legal community listen to podcasts all the time. There are a lot of different formats, so I’m interested in seeing how the podcast continues to develop.”

Her successor, come fall, as lead online editor at Minnesota Law Review is Karthik Raman, who has pledged to continue the podcast.

“I am excited that Veena jump-started this ambitious project, and I am looking forward to continuing her efforts next year,” he says. “Our hope is that these podcast discussions will allow us to gain unprecedented insight into the goals and thought processes of our authors, and create a dialogue that will push our legal scholarship to the next level.”

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