Originally published on Missouri Lawyers Media. Attorneys for The Simon Law Firm in St. Louis were looking for novel ways to market the firm when they settled on a new-to-them medium: the podcast.
While podcasting itself is not new, increasing numbers of law firms are turning to it as a means to highlight their expertise, dispense practical tips on practicing law and share their work with the public.
In the past year alone, The Simon Law Firm has created three different podcasts, each with a unique focus and format. Its newest podcast — “Results Don’t Lie,” which launched March 30th — represents a fresh approach to the genre.
It features attorneys Johnny Simon and Tim Cronin, who through the course of five to six episodes in a season tell the story of one of their high-profile civil cases from start to finish. Cronin said the pair chose to start the series with Koon v. Walden because it was a highly publicized case with immediate impact.
In that case, the two attorneys represented plaintiff Brian Koon, who sued his doctor, Henry Walden, and Walden’s employer, Saint Louis University, in St. Louis Circuit Court in 2014, alleging that Walden overprescribed him opioids.
The case resulted in a $17.6 million jury verdict against SLU and Walden in 2016. The Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District upheld the verdict.
Cronin said the case had a direct effect on setting the standard for punitive damages in medical malpractice cases, as well as a wider impact in terms of combatting the opioid epidemic.
“That verdict started to put pressure, more than anything else had, on the actual doctors who were prescribing the pills,” he said.
When Cronin and Simon decided to produce their own podcast, their firm already had launched two others with the help of a marketing and production company.
In April 2020, firm founder John Simon and St. Louis attorney Erich Vieth debuted “The Jury is Out,” which focuses on trial practice. Two months later, women attorneys at the firm launched “Heels in the Courtroom,” which highlights skills women attorneys need to be successful in their practices.
Cronin said he and Johnny Simon began the production process for “Results Don’t Lie” by sitting down and discussing the case with a representative of the marketing and production company. The company then put the story together in a narrative, serialized format. Cronin said he believes they’ve taken a new approach to lawyer podcasts in “Results Don’t Lie.”
“I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but I haven’t heard of one about civil cases like this,” he said, adding that he and Simon tried to treat the civil case in the same vein as a true-crime story.
As of press time, the firm had released four of the season’s five episodes. The podcast, like all of the firm’s podcasts, is found on the firm’s website and through other popular podcast apps.
‘A powerful way to reach people’
Already, the firm has realized the potential reach of podcasts.
Amy Collignon Gunn, who helped to lead the firm’s effort to incorporate podcasts, plays a key role in “Heels in the Courtroom.” She said that women-centric podcast, which totals 20 episodes, has been downloaded about 10,000 times.
The podcast also has drawn positive feedback from listeners, Gunn said, adding that she and its other participants are gratified to learn that listeners may have been helped by their advice and perspectives.
“I’ve learned that this is a very powerful way to reach people and advocate for our causes,” she said.
“Heels in the Courtroom” is unique in that most podcasts focused on women attorneys are set up in an interview format, Gunn said. In contrast, it offers a conversational format, with the firm’s attorneys discussing their experiences.
The podcast cycles between episodes focused on hard and soft skills, Gunn said.
Other law firms that are considering podcasts should do their homework first to determine what they can bring to the space that is unique, she said. It’s also worth considering why it would be a good idea for the firm, and whether the firm can maintain the effort, she said.
“Technically, I think anybody can do this, but before you do this, you have to have the commitment to do it consistently and you have to do something you can keep fresh,” she said.