A couple months ago, I had a great conversation with Kevin Mitchell of ModioLegal about his product and its “reading the news” concept. He and I talked about the different methods of delivering information and current content to lawyers and we both agreed that we thought the methods of print distribution, email, or RSS feeds allow for massive amounts of information to be disseminated, but that there should be better ways of presenting complex information in a way that is more convenient to access. Kevin’s idea was to produce a way of delivering the information in audio format and providing the listener with a way to consume the content during periods of time where hearing the information is easier than reading the information.

I’ve always been one for finding new ways of getting information out to the consumer. The converting text to audio has been something I’ve considered for a long time, but there are obvious issues with converting text to audio, and having it make sense.
Some of you may immediately think of a Siri-like voice reading the material to you, but that’s not what Mitchell is doing with this product. As most of you have realized, mechanical voices, no matter how human sounding, just cannot present the information in a way that helps the listener easily digest and understand the nuances of the information being presented. It really takes a person with an ability to read the material in their heads first, and present it in a way that assists the listener absorb the information. For a situation like this, a law student is one of the best candidates for the job.
The idea is this:
  • License quality current awareness content that is relevant to the legal industry
  • Pay law students for their time to produce audio narrations of the content,
  • Deliver the audio content through a high-quality, proprietary platform that can be played back on multiple devices ranging from car audio systems, mobile or home devices during multi-tasking activities such as commuting or exercising
  • Give the law students exposure by having them introduce themselves to the audience and provide access to their email address and LinkedIn profile
  • Distribute the recordings quickly so that the information is still current

As someone who used law students to help create the content at the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s online research tool, I thought it was a great idea to leverage the talent that is available and create a situation where the student, the listener, the content licensor and the company benefit. After listening to some of the content, I found it to be very easy to listen to, and easy to understand.

ModioLegal is just getting started, so the content is very limited. Right now the legal content is the Audio Edition of ABI Journal, which costs $9.95 a month and comes with a free 1-month trial. I think there is a bit of a “chicken and the egg” issue with a project like this where users of the product will want more content, and content providers would like for there to be more listeners before licensing more content. I imagine that is always an issue when it comes to presenting content in a novel way.
Since ModioLegal is a subscription service, I asked if there could be a way for people to demo some of the content without having to sign up for anything or be obligated in any way. Kevin got me a demo login and said that I could post it here and allow the readers of the blog some access to the site. Again, I found it to be very easy to listen and understand the content, so go check it out, perhaps on your smartphone, and see if this type of information dissemination is something you’d like to see more of on the market.
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