I fantasize about cheap CLEs because I like to learn new things without regard for details like requirements or expense. I have a few areas of life where there is little to no constraint, and one of those is books. If I want a book, I get it. Today, I add CLEs to that very short list. Now, for a whole year, I can get whatever CLE I want, as long as it is on West Legal Ed! I am ridiculously excited.
CLE stands for “Continuing Legal Education,” and up to a year ago, I had to take courses that other people thought I should take. I am licensed in four states, and those states put me through the beginner lawyer requirements each time I got a new license. The state bars often call these newbie courses “Bridge the Gap.” They bring in some harmless curmudgeon to talk about employment law, some thirtyish white guy to discuss obscure ethics issues, and some AA member to tell us we will probably drink too much. The only thrill from my annual CLE compliance run was the TAF conference, where I could listen to and talk about nerdy qui tam topics for two days straight.
New York, after the newly admitted attorney has a few years of experience, requires counsel to take courses in three areas – ethics, skills, and law practice management (LPM). I always have tons of skills credits, and smart CLE marketers combine skills with ethics because they know almost every attorney needs ethics, but LPM? LPM credits are not required by a lot of states, and when you find them, they are distressingly cookie cutter. How many LPM credits can a boutique firm practitioner take without falling over from boredom? You get an hour of malpractice training, which counts for LPM credit, plus you get a discount on your malpractice insurance. Sure, sign me up for that, but afterwards???? I don’t want to run a larger firm, and I don’t care about the problems of larger firms. Predictive coding for cases??? Management by objectives?? Been there, done that, a long, long time ago. Hey, State of New York! Let me do my nerdy, geeky skills stuff, and let me alone.
No go. State of New York wants its LPM quotient met, and by goodness, I will comply. I needed something marginally interesting, in a convenient format. Fortunately, I finally comply for audio downloads, so I checked into Westlegaled.com, and they have bunches of technology and marketing oriented programs that qualify for LPM credit. Cool. I buy seven hours of these. Then, Westlegaled contacts me and asks if I want to buy an annual subscription. I say, well, too late; I just bought all this crap. They say, “Hey, no problem. We will return those purchases, and give you the deal, and let you buy those programs or whatever on the subscription.” I am sold! I think it worked out to 188.00 difference, and I can now take whatever CLEs I want for an entire year for less than $200.00! If you pay for CLEs, you know that’s a steal.
I still have to take the LPMs, but I can tolerate them if they are technology and management focused. I listened to my first one about setting up a niche practice, and it was painless, even interesting. I will get through my LPM requirements, and then I will start banking credits for future years. I predict I will be in CLE heaven – doing skills credits, and only skills credits – in exactly one year. Sigh…. Paradise…..