Purely Dicta loves celebrating awesome people in our MLS community. So, when we heard Neeharika Palachanda and Paige Carter were creating an awesome podcast that helps you learn more about the career paths open to you after your law degree, we couldn’t wait to learn more.
Neeharika and Paige are both second-year JD students, and Purely Dicta sat down with them to learn more about how they met, their creative process and why you should start listening to Behind the Grind.
Let’s start by getting to know you – who are Neeharika and Paige, and what are some of your non-law interests?
Well, we’re both second-year law students and we’re the Co-hosts and Founders of Behind the Grind podcast.
Neeharika: I would say my main non-law interest is keeping up to date with everything Apple has to offer. If they make it, you can bet I have it. Oh, and single-handedly holding up the Australian economy with my online shopping addiction.
Paige: This probably isn’t a surprise, but I am always listening to podcasts and then proceeding to read, listen or watch all of the podcast’s recommendations.
So tell us, what is Behind the Grind and how did you come up with the idea?
Paige: The cringey line of ‘the friends you make in LMR are for life’ turned out to be pretty true for us and we quickly bonded over all things not related to the law.
Neeharika: I won her over with the snacks I always brought to class but if we hadn’t met through LMR, we probably would have met at Shopaholics Anonymous.
We came up with the idea of Behind the Grind because we know how daunting and intimidating it is to ‘network’ your way through law school.
We noticed a number of barriers to accessing information about firms based on your university, work and life schedules as well as firm and university affiliations. Not to mention having to work up the courage to approach legal professionals at face-to-face events.
So basically, the podcast is a fun and informal chat, helping you gain insight into the different ways that you can use the skills and knowledge gained from your legal degrees in both the legal industry AND non-legal roles. We speak to engaging industry professionals and you get to be a fly on the wall, hearing all their insights into their careers.
The podcast hopes to make your life a little easier by providing you access to this crucial information on the go and on demand. Importantly, our opening questions give you fodder to use if you do get an opportunity to meet the people we interview, or if you reach out to them on LinkedIn.
What made you land on a podcast format, and how has it been diving into this new experience?
Paige: Well, we thought a podcast is a great format to learn on the go because, 1, who doesn’t love a podcast and 2, like most law students, we feel like we always need to be doing something more.
But in all seriousness, we know how busy law students are, and a podcast means that students can listen when they want, where they want and can return to the information as many times as they want before applications or before an interview.
Neeharika: It’s been a crazy time, starting a passion project in the middle of a pandemic! It’s definitely not what we imagined the podcast would be like when we first started thinking about it over a year ago. But to be able to help students find their dream workplaces and identify unconventional career paths has been one of the most rewarding parts of the experience.
What’s been the most challenging part about getting this new initiative of the ground, particularly amongst all your other commitments?
Neeharika: Um, all of it!
Paige: The first challenge was probably the biggest. Putting the first episode out there felt like an exciting yet terrifying idea.
We had a fear that the podcast would be badly received, or no one would like it and then we would feel like we had wasted all this time and energy on a passion project that only we were passionate about.
Posting the first social media post was terrifying but as you can tell I am well and truly over this, and I constantly post about the podcast.
Neeharika: I mean, balancing the running of an entire podcast between the two of us and our work and university commitments has and will always be a bit of struggle. Things pop up for the podcast every day and we just have to deal with it while we’re working or in class. For me particularly, it was the difficulty of getting over the fact that we wouldn’t be able to record in person even though that’s what we had initially envisioned. Also, WOW, editing a podcast and hearing your recorded voice over and over has NOT been fun.
What’s your creative process like, and has that been impacted by the fact you can’t really be in the same room as each other?
Neeharika: Our creative process has been really collaborative with the people who have come on to be interviewed. We’ve planned our questions so that we get the information our listeners want, and so firms get to speak about what’s important to them.
Paige: I definitely agree – it’s collaborative, but each of us also make sure the ideas are grounded in reality. Occasionally (most the time), we both get a little too excited suggesting ideas and the other one has to bring the idea back into the realm of reality and bring in a different perspective that makes the idea achievable.
Neeharika: I’m also CONSTANTLY apologising for my really bad internet connection. #covidproblems.
Can you share a highlight from your experience so far?
Neeharika: For me, it’s probably been having students in younger cohorts really get behind the podcast. Oh and being featured on Gilbert+Tobin’s instagram was mind blowing for us!
Now that I’m thinking about it, there have been lots of highlights, but one that I’ll always remember is having a student say that she wasn’t sure about applying at a firm, and once she listened to our podcast, she felt like it’d be a great fit and was really excited to apply.
Paige: A very recent highlight, would be that a firm from Sydney emailed to talk about coming onto the podcast. This was the first time a firm had approached us about the podcast, which was very exciting and a nice change from our current approach where Neeharika and I email as many people as we can find email addresses for!
What’s next for Behind the Grind? Where do you plan on taking your audience over the next few months?
Well, once our Clerkship Season wraps up in October, we’ll be going into our Private Practice season. We’re really excited about it because we’ve already got 8 boutique/mid-tier firms lined up to speak about the really niche work they do. So, look out for an episode on Food & Beverage Law!
In 2021, we’re hoping for a Partner spin-off season, interviews with In-House Counsels at top companies and even more!
Make sure to let us know if you have any firms or areas of law that you’d like to hear about, and we’ll do the hard work for you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, what should people do so that they keep up to date with everything Behind the Grind does? (how can they listen etc.)
And to listen go to https://linktr.ee/behindthegrindpod, or check out our most recent episodes below!
BOARDROOM CHATS: Alan Peckham (CAO at Herbert Smith Freehills) – Behind the Grind Podcast (AUS)
Thanks for having us, PD!