The Hearing

The Hearing – A legal podcast from Thomson Reuters provides unprecedented access to the most interesting people and topics in and around the legal profession. Hosted by lawyer Kevin Poulter, The Hearing welcomes famous, familiar and unsung personalities to sit down and discuss the events and stories that have shaped their lives and careers.

Episode 21 - Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP

The Hearing is back. And it's back with a great big Brexit bang.

Amongst the din and clatter of the chaos that has encapsulated the country, several key figures have emerged. Dominic Grieve QC is one of them. Persona non-grata for most of his own party; a hero to millions of petition-signing Remainers. This is what The Hearing does best.

Join Kevin and Dominic as they put the world to right – or wrong, depending on your point of view. Expect verbose opinions on everything from tweeting, David Cameron and the Murdochs, and of course the 'B' word.

(This episode was recorded before the recent vote of no confidence from Dominic's local party, and the associated scandal revealed by The Guardian.)

Episode 20 - Dave Rowntree

It's 1994 and a bespectacled pre-pubescent Yorkshire lad unpeels the wrapping from the new CD by Blur. He carefully places it in his mini-HiFi and presses play. PARKLIFE! Giddy with excitement, he picks up a couple of biros and tries to keep pace with the beat on his yellow legal notepad.

Fast forward 25 years and that same lad, our Kevin, is sitting across the table from the man who cracks out the beat – Dave Rowntree, the drummer from Blur. Yes, you read that right – Dave Rowntree, the drummer from Blur! He's a bona fide rockstar and a global icon. He's also a qualified lawyer and a local councillor.

Forgive us if we go weak at the knees, whoop wildly and mosh in our Doc Martens. What a closer for series 2! Pop in your headphones, press play and listen in. It doesn't get better than this. WOO HOO.

Episode 19 - Priscilla Coleman

Cannibals. Terrorists. Serial killers. Movie stars. Megastars. Musicians. Meet the person who's been in court with them all. This episode's guest is courtroom artist Priscilla Coleman. She's the public's eyes in court, and she does it all from memory.

Say 'howdy' to the Texan who spends more time at the Old Bailey than hardened criminals. Court can be weird and wonderful, and Priscilla's sketches capture it all. Listen in as she chats to our Kevin, while simultaneously drawing the scene.

Episode 18 - Catherine Mayer & Dr Ann Olivarius

Two giants of the feminist movement, one chatterbox host, and just 30 minutes to cover a lot of ground. Dear listeners, we're sorry. This week, time is not our friend.

Institutionalised discrimination, media giants, failing global icons, Trump, and the gender pay gap are just a few of the small (yeah right) topics that Kevin, Catherine Mayer and Ann Olivarius cram in. It's almost too much for one episode to cope with. Do you want more from these two guests? #metoo

Episode 17 - Millicent Grant

In the movie "When Harry met Sally", there's that famous scene in the coffee shop. "When Kevin met Millie" is definitely a less racy affair. But it's not one that holds back on the positive vibes.

Set backstage at the Women in Law conference (where she was a keynote speaker) Millicent Grant sits across the coffee shop table from our Kevin to talk about the power of saying "yes", and how her positivity and tenacity has got her to the top. Not by the conventional route. Or the route that comes with money, privilege and good grades. Millie's route was inspired by a photo of her uncle in his barrister's cloak and wig. First it took her to secretarial college, then on to becoming a Legal Executive, and eventually to becoming the first female and first black president of CILEx.

Now it's your turn to bang the table and whoop with delight. Listen in today!

Episode 16 - S Chelvan

Not all heroes wear capes. Some of them wear gowns. Few guests on The Hearing could legitimately claim to be a lifesaver. But in episode 16, Kevin meets a man who is precisely that.

S Chelvan stands as a reminder of why those who work in the law got into it in the first place. Uphold justice. Protect the innocent. Change lives.

Personal, thought-provoking, honest and blunt, Chelvan takes Kevin through everything from his Sri Lankan roots and his homosexuality through to his activism and trouble-making, and how that makes you one of the UK's leading human rights and discrimination barristers.

But what does the S stand for? Superhero perhaps.

Episode 15 - Barry Matthews

'Kids from council estates don't go to university and don't become lawyers.'  When Barry Matthews sat down with his careers adviser at 17 and said he wanted to study law, that's exactly the response he got.  Now ITV's top lawyer, Barry is determined to kill off this stereotype.  Barry's modest beginnings have been the driving force behind the Social Mobility Business Partnership.  SMBP has provided work insight, skills training and coaching to hundreds of under-privileged students throughout nine cities, promoting social mobility in the legal and accountancy professions.  As well as discussing corporate social responsibility, Barry chats to Kevin about nights out with the Cheeky Girls, the power of a free beer and the ethics of modern day television.

Episode 14 - David Kerr

The last 10 years have been phenomenal for Bird & Bird – with a keen and fruitful programme of global expansion. And this is in no small part to the firm's hard-working CEO, David Kerr.

Kevin sits down with David to discuss his 22 years at the helm. Bird & Bird may have a history dating back to 1846, but it has innovation at its core. How does David feel about getting into bed with China? And just how important is Silicon Valley? This episode sees us on the top floor of Bird & Bird's new Fetter Lane offices, pondering life in charge.

Episode 13 - Miriam González Durántez

Michelle. Melania. Herr Merkel. If (big if) there was a "Political First Partners" WhatsApp group, they'd be there. And until October 2018, so would Miriam. But her husband has gone to Facebook to be their new Head of Global Affairs and Communications and she has (metaphorically) left the group.

This week, Kevin says a great big "hola" to Miriam González Durántez. Not Mrs Clegg. By day she's an international trade rights lawyer. By night she's chief championeer of young girls' rights through her brainchild inspiringgirls.org.

Brexit, Henderson's Relish, cooking blogs, and a future where Nick could join the aforementioned mythical WhatsApp group – this episode has got it all. As a Yorkshireman would say, "de nada".

Episode 12 – Charlotte Proudman

Before the #MeToo movement, publicly speaking out against sexual harassment was a much riskier exercise. Calling out behaviour could find you isolated and even alienated in certain industries, both professionally and personally. Despite these risks, that's exactly what our latest guest did – challenging a senior solicitor over a now infamous message he sent via LinkedIn.

In episode 12 of The Hearing, barrister and self-proclaimed feminist Charlotte Proudman sits down with Kevin to speak about how she dealt with her face being splashed across the front pages, being trolled by keyboard warriors and even being labelled a 'feminazi'. Charlotte and Kevin also cover the feminist movement, gender parity, women's only events, her 'inspiration' Catharine MacKinnon, and the difficult subject of disclosure around rape cases.

Episode 11 – Jonathan Goldberg QC

He's a controversial, no holds barred, opinionated, orator who defends the guilty and loves a good cup of Yorkshire tea. No, we're not talking about Kevin.

In The Hearing's series 2 opener, Jonathan Goldberg QC invites us into a world of colourful characters and rogues. Not one to be backward about coming forward, Jonathan lets rip on the state of the "groaning and creaking criminal justice system", the incompetence of solicitors, and the lavish and unnecessary spending on champagne and lunches at the Bar.

With more stories than a skyscraper, Jonathan rattles through everything from Hillsborough, Royal Marine A and defending "the charming" Charlie Kray. It's time to meet the man who takes on the task of defending the guilty. "I'm just a mouthpiece. I'm not the judge and jury, I'm the advocate." He's certainly no wallflower.

Get your ears around this today.

As you might expect, this episode contains language that some may find inappropriate.

Episode 10 – Karen Jackson

Karen Jackson is an inspirational lover of problem-solving, passionate for French and a self-styled protector of the underdog. In this episode Kevin meets the founder of didlaw, one of the UK's leading disability discrimination practices.

A former City trader, Karen talks candidly about the roundabout route she took into law and how a heart transplant helped guide her to a new path – setting up her own practice that's focused on challenging mental health, disability and illness discrimination.

Episode 09 – Dean Strang

Fans of the hugely popular Netflix documentary Making a Murderer will know this week's guest. Dean Strang was one of the defence lawyers for Steven Avery. Dean was an eloquent voice of reason throughout the series, which led to him being labelled an international sex symbol.

A modest Dean tells Kevin how he first got involved in the Avery case, and how he's dealt with the wave of media and public attention ever since. They also discuss Dean's views on the US criminal justice system, his cartoonist aspirations, and whether Dean should move to the UK to become a judge.

Episode 08 – Ayesha Vardag

The 'Diva of Divorce', Ayesha Vardag, sits down with Kevin in the luxurious Vardags offices in St. Paul's, London. They discuss Georgian mahogany, her high net-worth clientele and the Var-Bot – Ayesha's personal office robot that'll be familiar to fans of The Good Wife.

During her divorce, Ayesha had an Erin Brockovich-esque transition from commercial to family law, which ultimately led to her being offered a job by the lawyer who managed her case. This episode looks at the impact Ayesha's cases and campaigning have had on family law reform, and it offers an exciting behind-the-scenes look at one of the UK's fastest growing law firms.

Episode 07 - Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clark

In this episode, Tory MP Ken Clarke reveals why he has occasionally dressed up in women’s underwear. The former Lord Chancellor and current Father of the House of Commons also tells Kevin what he thinks of his new-found fans – drawn by his outspoken views on Brexit.

This episode won't disappoint.  The pair also discuss: pressure to modify Ken's Nottinghamshire accent; attending Rushcliffe beauty parades for column inches; death threats; selfies; and Trump (the president, not the inflatable baby).

Episode 06 - Yasmin Sheikh

In this episode Kevin is joined by Yasmin Sheikh. Yasmin is the founder of Diverse Matters, vice-chair of the Law Society’s Lawyers with Disabilities Division, consultant, coach, actress, comedian and TEDx speaker. 

During their conversation, Yasmin talks about her experience of being thrown into the world of disability overnight and the daily challenges she faces. Yasmin also discusses the impactful work she's doing with law firms, advising about disability related issues in an effort to improve communication, visibility and opportunities.


Episode 05 - Sir Rupert Jackson

In this episode Kevin is joined by Sir Rupert Jackson, Barrister, Lord Justice of Appeal and legal reformer.

As well as his infamous reform of civil litigation costs, Rupert has authored some of the industry's leading texts during his 50 year career. Now, back at the bar, he talks through the fresh challenges facing lawyers and discusses his new role as a Justice in the AIFC Court and International Arbitration Centre in Kazakhstan.

Episode 04 – Robin White

In this episode Kevin is joined by barrister Robin White.  Robin was the first barrister to transition from male to female while in practice at the employment and discrimination bar.  They chat about Robin's early life and career, and how dealing with personal discrimination in her late twenties became a catalyst for a career change into law. 

Now specialising in transgender rights, Robin offers a candid insight into her experience.  She discusses the current issues that surround gender-transformation, as well as general workplace and social discrimination in Britain today.

Episode 03 - Lord Michael Michael Howard of Lympne

In this episode Kevin is joined by Lord Michael Howard of Lympe. Although best known for his time as a Government Minister and as a former leader of the Tories, Michael’s life before Westminster involved a distinguished career at the Bar. As a vocal supporter of the 'Leave Means Leave' campaign, Michael's views on Brexit are crystal-clear but we also hear he has some personal regret over one of his most controversial ministerial decisions.

Episode 02 - Joe Raczynski

In this episode Kevin is joined by 'futurist' Joe Raczynski (@joerazz). You'll hear Joe explain what his job actually is and why we should all pay attention to cyber security. As an expert in legal technology and AI, we also explore the rise of blockchain and crypto currencies, the challenges for driverless cars and the future of the robot lawyer.

Episode 01 – Dame Fiona Woolf

In the inaugural episode of The Hearing – a legal podcast from Thomson Reuters, Kevin is joined by Dame Fiona Woolf. During their conversation they reflect on Fiona’s fascinating career, including her time as president of the Law Society, and as Lord Mayor of London. Kevin and Fiona also chat about Fiona’s ongoing work in promoting diversity and inclusion with the Power of Diversity programme. Listen out for Dame Fiona’s incredible anecdote on how Carrie Morrison became the first female to be put on the roll.

About Us

For over 200 years Thomson Reuters has been advancing the art and science of law. Whether through the most up-to-date legal content, driving innovative legal technology, or ground-breaking thought leadership, Thomson Reuters provides legal professionals across the world with the confidence to act. Find out more at legal-solutions.co.uk.


Listen to The Hearing

About Kevin

The Hearing podcast is hosted by British lawyer Kevin Poulter (@kevinpoulter). Kevin is a partner in the London office of national law firm Freeths, advising corporate and employee clients on a broad range of employment matters. Kevin regularly appears in the press and broadcast media and is a regular feature on a number of television and radio shows.