Law Firm Department Resources: Continuing Legal Education
Some large law firms have dedicated CLE staff and departments, but many firms fold their CLE personnel into other departments like Marketing, Professional Development, and yes, the Library.
CLE professionals in law firms handle a range of tasks that include tracking attorneys compliance with mandatory requirements, getting the firm CLE accredited, plan courses, and run conferences.
Here is a breakdown of resources for law firm CLE professionals.
Traditional association membership drives offline networking and collaborating. Many associations have been around for a long time. Primary benefits are usually the annual and semi-annual meetings and vibrant local chapters where networking and relationship-building really shine. Associations also offer the opportunity to give and receive mentoring, professional development and information about available jobs.
Associations – There is only one option for CLE professionals and it’s a good one – The Association for Continuing Legal Education. If you join, spring for the annual and/or semi-annual meetings. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s where the real value lies. Without going to meetings, you’ll wonder, like I did for years, “what’s the use of this association?” You’ll quickly find out, at the meetings where great friendships are formed, strategic networking accomplished and speaking gigs earned.
Join a committee, ask and answer questions on the various listservs and check out the jobs boards for opportunities.
The relationships formed at association meetings can be nurtured on the social channels (and vice versa.) Then when you meet up at the next meeting you’ll seem like old friends. Trust me, I’m talking from experience here.
Blogs – When I started a CLE venture (now shuttered) and started a CLE blog, there were a few others blogs, including the insightful Gina’s CLE Blog. Unfortunately, the few blogs dedicated solely to CLE issues have become inactive. But other legal blogs have taken up the slack. Check out Lawyerist (CLE posts), Jordan Furlong’s Law21 (CLE posts) and right here on Legal Productivity (CLE posts). Some bar associations and CLE providers have blogs but they’re generally used to promote their own programs.
Social Networks – CLE professionals, providers and bar associations have taken to the social channels. it’s a great place to meet and engage others who share your expertise and concerns.
Not sure where to find CLE professionals to follow on Twitter? Check out the CLE Twitter list I started and Mark Rosch’s list of bar associations and ACLEA members.
Participate in LinkedIn groups like Continuing Legal Education Speakers. A search for continuing legal education groups on LinkedIn got over 80 hits. Don’t join them all, choose the ones that are active and relevant.
The Official MCLE Guide – If you need to keep up on CLE rules and regs, check out this useful guide from the folks at CLEreg. I didn’t include CLEreg as an association for CLE professionals since it’s a closed organization for CLE regulators only and if you’re a CLE regulator, you already know about it.
Reqwired Resources – A great free resource from the folks at WestLegalEd providing comprehensive state-by-state overviews of CLE rules.
Communities – online and offline – are only as useful and vibrant as their members so get involved, write a guest post (or start your own blog), speak at a conference, and engage on the social channels. Or, start your own LinkedIn group, CLE blog, Facebook page or Google Plus Hangout.
This list of resources is by no means comprehensive. Please use the comment section below to weigh in with additional tips that you’ve found useful in your day-to-day experience as a law firm CLE professional.
Next up: The Law Library