‘I am first and foremost a lawyer — my media appearances are just an added bonus’
Employment lawyer Kevin Poulter sits down with Legal Cheek to discuss social media, Alan Titchmarsh and his latest podcast project
“I will always encourage law students and junior lawyers to get on social media,” says employment lawyer Kevin Poulter. “It’s where legal news is often broken now. Take judgments for example: you no longer have to wait weeks on end for them to appear online through the official channels. Within a few clicks you can usually find what you’re after on Twitter.”
Poulter, a partner at private client outfit Child & Child, is well positioned to speak on the benefits of being online savvy.
“Several years ago, I was asked by a firm I was working for at the time to set up and run its Twitter account,” he tells Legal Cheek. “I was effectively asked to become the voice of the firm at a time when the legal profession was still very wary of social media. My interest really went from there.”
Fast forward to today and Poulter boasts a substantial online following, has secured a highly-coveted Twitter blue tick, and can often be found on TV in his capacity as a legal commentator and social media expert. Appearances to date include BBC News and ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show, where he was a legal expert.
On juggling his on and off-screen commitments, Poulter says:
“Take The Alan Tichmarsh Show for example. As their resident legal expert, I was lucky enough to have my own dressing room, which I effectively used as an office. I had my laptop, phone and access to good WiFi. The only time where I wasn’t able to work was for the hour or so when I was filming. But at least I got to sit between Joan Collins and Leo Sayer while pouring Nicholas Parsons a cup of tea!”
Poulter is in the process of adding another media string to his bow: this time teaming up with Thomson Reuters to launch a new series of podcasts.
In The Hearing — with Kevin Poulter, the Yorkshire-born lawyer sits down and chews the fat with some of the country’s more interesting legal personalities. Poulter explains:
“Our approach is more conversational. It’s not a straightforward interview with pre-set questions. We try to make the guests feel as relaxed as possible, so we actually go to their chambers, office or their home. Naturally, some of the conversations are more light-hearted than others, it really comes down to the topic being discussed.”
Guests include former City of London Lord Mayor and CMS partner Fiona Woolf, ex-Court of Appeal judge and 4 New Square barrister Sir Rupert Jackson, transgender barrister and Old Square Chambers tenant Robin White, and Joseph Raczynski, a legal technologist and futurist at Thomson Reuters Legal. If that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, Poulter says several other “special guests” are being lined up as we speak.
The podcasts — which are roughly 30 minutes in length and available on iTunes, SoundCloud and Spotify — are “perfect for lawyers and law students to dip in and out of”, says Poulter, “whether it’s on your commute to the office or during a lunch break”.
Poulter isn’t a novice when it comes to podcasts. With a smile on his face he tells us: “There’s a nice circularity to all this. Many years ago, I used to host a podcast series called Round My Kitchen Table with Legal Cheek publisher Alex Aldridge. We would discuss the week’s big legal events around Alex’s kitchen table, often over a glass of wine.”
So, with all that said, has Poulter ever considered ditching the law to pursue a career in the limelight? Quite the opposite. There have been times he’s had to say no to media appearances, Poulter concedes, because of client commitments. He says:
“It’s always been clear to me that the reason I am invited to these things is because I am first and foremost a lawyer. People do ask, ‘Oh why don’t you do the media stuff full time?’, but that’s not my passion. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer and it’s important for me to keep that line between doing the job I love and everything else which is supportive of that.”
You can download The Hearing — with Kevin Poulter for free via iTunes, SoundCloud and Spotify
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