Continuing legal education programs are bad news. I can think of scores of lousy CLE seminars. But I can only think of a few that were worthwhile, for example a legal writing seminar several years ago taught by Judge Mark Painter.
A sack of potatoes. Second, there’s the content. By nature, lawyers are verbose. Why say something in 5 words when you can use 20? Attend any program, whether it’s an hour or 6 hours, there’s always too much material to cover in the time given. 20 lbs of potatoes don’t fit in a 5 lb sack. Concision? Hah! I’ve never attended a live CLE program where the time allocated matched the content provided. The disorganized presenters either race through the last sections or simply punt, announcing, “Read the rest of that stuff on your own.”
Attenuated and tangential value.
And then the other problem with the content is that it’s generally of little direct value. Attend a workshop on trial preparation or evidence and you’ll get a canned generic presentation taught by a national presenter and completely unrelated to your local jurisdiction. Take a class on probate administration, for example, and expect ‘Death by PowerPoint,’ courtesy of a Toastmasters-dropout. He or she will drone on mind-numbingly reading copy-dense slides that track with the local probate statute.
A prescription for improvement.