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October 8, 2018 | by  | in Podcasts |
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Interview With the Asian Law Students’ Association

Nathan Tse is a fourth year law student who is the current president of the Asian Law Student’s Association. This year ALSA launched a student-run podcast.
For those not in the know, what is ALSA? Who are you guys and what do you do?
The Asian Law Students’ Association (ALSA) is a law faculty student representative group with the aim of providing a friendly and inclusive support network for students of a shared cultural background. The fact is that the legal profession is a historically white, male institution — meaning that not only is law school an intimidating environment, but there are very few networks for minority groups to use. We’ve been around since 2014, when we were first registered as a club at VUW and are developing new initiatives each year. Currently we host a range of social events, educational workshops, career and speaker events.
How did the ALSA podcast start, what sparked the idea?
Over the summer I was brainstorming about things ALSA could introduce next year. I had been really keen on ALSA producing content to raise awareness about the group. Originally I thought this would involve something like ALSA members writing opinion pieces about racial identity or something similar. At a similar time my sister and her boyfriend had just started producing their own podcast , The Tony Club — a podcast reviewing past winners of the Tony Awards. Something clicked and I realised there was no VUW law school podcast and this could be something ALSA could introduce this year. I posed the idea to the rest of the incoming ALSA executive and no one was totally against it, so we went online, bought a Blue Yeti microphone and the rest is history!
Could you give a run-down of the podcast content?
The ALSA podcast, albeit produced by ALSA, is targeted at ALL law students — whether part of ALSA or not. Although we may tackle issues to do with race and identity — the podcast should be relevant for most law students at VUW law school.

We have four different podcast series:
Prima Facie
Prima Facie is a (roughly) 5-min podcast that summarises upcoming law school events and local political and legal news. The podcast is released weekly, with an episode coming out every Monday.
LAWS One-to-One
LAWS One-to-One is ALSA’s interview series, where an ALSA member interviews someone who VUW law students would be interested in hearing from. The podcast aims to be around 15 – 30mins. Interviewees include Golriz Ghahraman, Green Party MP and Māmari Stephens, Senior Lecturer at VUW Law School.
Lex Talk About It
Lex Talk About It is ALSA’s discussion panel series. The purpose of this podcast is to record interesting discussions around pertinent issues that law students may be interested in. For instance we have produced a Women In Law discussion panel featuring female leaders from Ngā Rangahautira, the Pasifika Law Students’ Society, VUWFLS (Feminist Law Society) and VUWLSS.

The Respondent

The Respondent is a longer (40-60min) well-researched, investigative podcast where ALSA members research and present findings on a broader topic to do with law school or the legal profession.
What has been the most rewarding part of creating the podcast?
The most rewarding part of creating the podcast is seeing (hearing) the final product up on SoundCloud! I am extremely proud of the ALSA executive to have put 22 episodes of Prima Facie out this year — one for each week of teaching. The interviews have been very popular and I am very thankful that we have had the talented Jack Liang as our go-to interviewer for our LAWS One-to-One series. Hearing positive feedback from those who have listened to the interviews and having the likes of Golriz Ghahraman share our podcast on her FB page was a very rewarding experience.
What do you think is unique/ important about the ALSA perspective?
Although the podcast is targeted to all law students, ALSA has the luxury of shaping the narratives that are told. We will often highlight issues to do with immigration, race, and representation in our episodes of Prima Facie. Likewise the interviews taken as a part of LAWS One-to-One have (so far) always involved questions about race or identity. I think it is necessary to expose all law students to these sorts of issues, whether from a minority group or not. The more discourse there is around the experiences of people from different ethnicities and backgrounds, the more understanding and empathetic people will become.
What has been the most challenging part of the process?
Running four different podcast series has been challenging to fit in around our own study schedules. It has been particularly difficult to get the research and interviews done for our longer podcast series, The Respondent, which itself has required a team of 9 people. We have addressed this issue directly by creating a new Podcast Manager role to our ALSA executive. Maintaining a strong listener-base has been difficult for Prima Facie, as the novelty of the podcast has worn off over time. However we have a number of loyal listeners that still tune in every week!

What do you think sets podcasts apart as a medium?
Podcasts are great because they can be interesting and informative, yet not onerous in that you do not have to dedicate all your focus to the podcast when listening to it. You can easily listen to a podcast on your bus ride to uni without dedicating any more time out of your day. Podcasts are also awesome because anyone with a microphone and a laptop can make one!
Are there any exciting ALSA podcast episodes in the works that you’d like to shout out? (or are there any previous episodes that you’d recommend in particular)?
Currently a group of ALSA members are working on a new episode of The Respondent, titled “Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession”. This will be a really interesting investigative piece, and has involved interviewing a partner at Chapman Tripp, a solicitor at tech law firm Simmonds Stewart, a senior AI and the law professor at Auckland University and the Dean of VUW Law School Mark Hickford.
Any general advice about starting a podcast from the ALSA podcast team?
Find a team of people who are committed and passionate about the cause and everything will flow from there!
The ALSA podcast can be found on iTunes and SoundCloud (“Vuw Alsa”). To find out more about ALSA or get involved, head to their Facebook page, “VUW ALSA 2018”.

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