Earning CLE credits if often at the bottom of lawyer's to do list, somewhere below 'get dry cleaning done.' Part of the problem is lack of time but there's also the lack of interesting and informative opportunities.
Or is there?
It's no secret that there are a lot of substandard CLE courses out there. Many attorneys rely on the free CLE courses and unfortunately you often get what you pay for. But are the paid courses worth the price?
There's no getting out of CLE requirements so if you're spending the time it may be worth using it productively.
There are some great CLE courses out there but they cost money. The reason should be obvious: great presentations require time and research. CLE presenters are often attorneys which means the time they spend preparing for presentation is time taken away from their cases.
When you pay for a CLE class, you should be getting more information, more expertise, and more practical skills. That's what Carolyn Elefant from MyShingle puts into her CLE courses and she's probably not alone.
It doesn't mean all paid CLE courses are worthwhile; you still have to be a smart shopper.
Just like choosing law school classes, the best CLE will be taught by people with good reviews. Find out how long the presenter has been doing CLE and see if people you trust and respect have gone to their courses.
That doesn't mean all your CLE credits need to be so informative and therefore expensive. Local bar association sections often do events throughout the year that give CLE credit and may be worth attending.
Even if the CLE talk isn't useful the networking is and the events are often free for members or at least relatively low cost.
For filling up the hours at the last minute, paid CLE may not be the way to go. But if you're looking for useful information to add to your practice, paid CLE courses can provide that for you and help you meet the continuing education requirements.
- Why Great CLE Costs Good Money (FindLaw's Strategist)
- New and Improved: A Better Way to Earn an Ethics CLE (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Local Lawyers Make Good: 2010 Pro Bono Publico Awards (FindLaw's Strategist)