Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘CLE’

If a petition submitted last year by Nevada’s Board of Governors is approved by the state supreme court, it’s going to cost lawyers a wee bit more money to practice in Nevada. Currently, Nevada lawyers are obligated to complete 12 hours of annual continuing legal education to keep their licenses. But if the state bar’s governing board has its way, a 13th hour will be tacked on to the annual requirement.

At an average cost of $40 per credit hour, this means that the 5th highest cost to practice mandatory bar in the U.S. will just be that much more expensive. Nevada will top out at just over $1,000 per year between mandatory annual fees of $490 and soon, 13 hours of mandatory continuing legal education.

The original petition asked that of the current 12 required hours of continuing legal education, 1 CLE credit be mandated in the area of “substance abuse, addictive disorders and/or mental health issues that impair professional competence.” Somewhere along the way, however, there was an increase in the total hours required. It became a petition that increases annual mandatory hours from 12 to 13 with the new required hour in the aforementioned areas.

Petition ADKT 0478 was filed with the Nevada Supreme Court in January 2016 with oral argument last June. Unfortunately, the chance to either complain or to applaud has come and gone. It’s only a matter of time now for the Court to issue its Order for ‘lucky’ No. 13. To quote Hank Jr., “It’s all over but the crying.”

Gobsmacked.

I really must crawl out from under my desert boulder. How did this newest imposition, this latest cost to practice burden slip past? The gobsmacking news came by way of the Nevada Bar’s “Message From The President” in the April 2017 Nevada Lawyer magazine.

I rarely read the dull bar magazine except for checking the Bar Counsel Report each month to see if anyone I know has been pierced by the sword of lawyer discipline. For some reason, I read Nevada Bar President Bryan Scott’s presidential epistle in April where he briefly mentioned the mandatory bar bureaucracy’s latest ‘feel-good’ do-something impediment. Scott also helpfully offered that “Supplementing this petition, the state bar has enhanced its curriculum to ensure attorneys have access to quality CLE programs related to these important topics.” Well, that’s no surprise. CLE is big business for state bars.

To be fair, in reply to my ‘ how dare you’ email query, Scott said, “We did not do this as a money-making venture. In fact, should the Court issue an order, we expect to offer a CLE on this topic at no charge.” Let’s see how long that lasts.

No proof CLE does anything.

I won’t paraphrase Roger “Verbal” Kint but the greatest trick ever pulled was convincing the legal establishment that forcing lawyers to take continuing legal education classes would make them more competent, more ethical, more professional or in the latest wrinkle in Nevada — more sober. The fact is there’s never been empirical proof that CLE delivers more competency, ethics, professionalism — or sobriety. As a matter of fact, there isn’t even the most rudimentary form of subject matter assessment since CLE participants are never tested to see what they have learned. The testing demands are greater getting a speeding ticket dismissed via a defensive driving course.

As for tutoring the trait of improved sobriety, the petition does a terrible job of explaining why a mandatory CLE in abuse, addiction and mental health issues is necessary. To be fair, there’s a talking point Scott sent that mentions studies from the 80’s that “have shown a connection between the legal profession and higher rates of mental health issues and related addictive disorders.” The same reference adds that “In February of this year, a more definitive study was released showing attorneys display addiction levels of dependent drinking at 20.6 percent as compared to 11.8 percent of a generally highly educated workforce.”

If that’s true, the rest of the population is in even worse shape. Should the Nanny State start requiring everybody take a class in sobriety? According to a Newsweek report, 30 percent of Americans have had an alcohol-use disorder. Citing a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, the article states: “America has a drinking problem, and it’s getting worse. A new study shows that 32 million Americans, nearly one in seven adults, have struggled with a serious alcohol problem in the last year alone. It gets worse if you look at numbers across people’s entire lives: In that case, nearly one-third have suffered an “alcohol-use disorder.”

https://cdn.someecards.com/someecards/usercards/630ae40facf324702bf98d936c73f348eb.pngBut even if you take at face value that lawyers are worse on substance abuse/mental health than the rest of the population, where’s the proof a one-hour class does anything to fix the problem? Then again, if there’s one thing lawyers are good at is reaching their conclusions.

So appropriately, under “Conclusion,” the petition jumps to the conclusion that because the board of governors’ purposes include “upholding the honor, integrity, professionalism and dignity of the profession of law and the enhancement of the professional competence and ethical conduct of members of the bar . . . mandatory education in abuse, addiction and mental health is necessary.” And it’s also “essential to public protection.”

More lawyer shape-shifting in the offing.

In September last year, the Florida Supreme Court approved a rule amendment granting Florida the dubious distinction of being first to require lawyers to take at least three hours of CLE in an approved technology program as part of the 33 total hours of CLE that Florida lawyers are forced to take over a three-year period. More than half the states have adopted the duty of technology competence for lawyers. It’s only a matter of time before other jurisdictions follow Florida and start demanding mandatory CLE in technology courses, too.

The ABA is the organization we have to ‘thank’ for these new recommended mandates, including mandatory substance abuse CLE. And it now has one more recommended lawyer transformation encumbrance in the works. Be on the look out for mandatory diversity continuing legal education.

Not satisfied with approving a new diversity policy for itself directing its ABA CLE program panelists be diverse, last June the ABA passed Resolution 107.  It asks “licensing and regulatory authorities that require MCLE to make diversity and inclusion programs a separate credit, but without increasing the total number of hours required.”

_________________________________________________________
Photo credit: “Surprise,” by Erik Cleves Kristensen at Flickr Creative Commons attribution license; “the view from below” by David Long at Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.

Read Full Post »

(1) there’s no empirical support that mandatory continuing legal education enhances lawyer competency or professionalism and;

(2) the state bar has a financial interest in CLE marketing.

Read Full Post »

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/70/Wooden_hourglass_3.jpg/300px-Wooden_hourglass_3.jpg

Image, Wikimedia Common

So here it’s almost year-end with so much to update and so little time, including that the Arizona State Bar’s ‘pay to play’ CLE precertification scheme was unexpectedly voted down by an otherwise management-submissive board of governors.

Conveniently overlooking that it started the commotion in the first place but acting now as though members suddenly mattered, here’s the Bar’s self-serving announcement, “After hearing comments from members and CLE providers, the Board of Governors has voted unanimously not to create a process for precertifying CLE providers.”

“Fanciful benefits” of CLE

But in place of other updates and since there’s a few more days before the last day of the year, let me instead here applaud colleague James C. Mitchell’s boldly trenchant move to petition to amend Arizona Supreme Court Rule 45. This is the rule that sets out the Court’s mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) requirements.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/80/The_Goose_That_Laid_the_Golden_Eggs_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19994.jpg/165px-The_Goose_That_Laid_the_Golden_Eggs_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19994.jpg

Arizona lawyer Mitchell petitioned the state supreme court last month to require an acknowledgement on all continuing legal education advertising, to wit,“that the value of mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) is unproven and that the State Bar of Arizona has a financial interest in CLE marketing.” The acknowledgement would read as follows:

______________________________________________________________________

Rule 45. Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
(a) through (k) [No changes]

“(l) Advertising. Any advertisement for a continuing legal education program, product or service offered by or in conjunction with the State Bar of Arizona shall contain the following disclaimer:

“The State Bar of Arizona makes no representation that this program, product or service will improve any attorney’s competence or protect the public. No evidence proves that mandatory continuing legal education provides such benefits. The State Bar seeks revenue from CLE programs, products and services.

The disclaimer shall appear conspicuously in capital letters in black type at least half the point size of the largest type in the advertisement, but in no event smaller than 12-point type.”

______________________________________________________________________

As he writes in his petition, “The statement would align claims for mandated CLE with available evidence of its value, acknowledging that CLE as practiced has little or no verifiable impact on attorney competence or public protection.

“This amendment is needed to create transparency in a significant program of law practice regulation. It would protect the public and lawyers themselves from deception by unproven claims of value in a mandated scheme of so-called continuing legal education, and protect the State Bar from potentially making or embracing false claims of value in products and services that it provides for money.”

Asking for “honest disclosure.”

Of course, the Court will never approve this petition and will most likely deny it without explanation. Still, kudos to Mr. Mitchell for daring so eloquently and so wittily to expose what most of us already knew, MCLE is bare of verifiable, substantiated argument.

Calling for truth-in-advertising and referring to the Bar’s claims about CLE content quality as “hyperbole,” he adds, “. . . until that joyous day when MCLE joins Smell-O-Vision films and Michael Dukasis’s tank in Terrible Idea Heaven, Petitioner simply urges this Court to order a policy of honest disclosure in advertising.

“None of the Bar’s hyperbole likely violates the prohibitions on false and misleading commercial speech in ARIZ. REV. STAT. § 44-1481(A)(1) (fraud-in advertising statute bars omission of material facts) or our own ER 7.1 (material omission prohibited in communication concerning a lawyer’s services). But should our State Bar really slither through the same loopholes that permit overselling automotive clunkers? Should our State Bar, when advertising, omit material facts in a way that no ethical advertising lawyer may? Should the State Bar claim a right to withhold essential information about CLE’s worth, namely the fact that none has been proven? Petitioner respectfully suggests that it should not. We’re lawyers. We should do better. We should get out front with the truth.”

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Hands-Clapping.jpg/312px-Hands-Clapping.jpgTo which I cheer, “Bravo, bravo, bravo!”

Read the entire petition here.

_______________________________________________________________________

Photos: From The Æsop for Children, by Æsop, illustrated by Milo Winter at Wikimedia Commons, public domain;La publicite en France par Emile Mermet, advertising poster, ca. 1880 by trialsanderrors at Flickr Creative Commons attribution;hands clapping, Wikimedia Commons.

Read Full Post »

File:Falafel.JPG“What the falafel?” I rhetorically asked after two colleagues separately emailed me the past day about the State Bar of Arizona’s new CLE Institute Training Program.

Ahead of the Arizona Bar’s likely imminent approval of a new CLE provider precertification system that passes on more costs on lawyers, comes the same “friendly state bar’s” new “voluntary faculty development program.” Participants sign up for $50 apiece to attend a CLE Institute to become a “State Bar Certified CLE Presenter.” Wow!

Apparently someone had a brain infarction that Arizona lawyers were clamoring for such a credential! If I’d only known. Just tell me, though, when “voluntary” becomes “mandatory.” Meantime, my right-hand wearies from one-handed clapping.

Hushpuppies 5stack.jpgAccording to the Bar’s promotional flyer, attendees take part in a day-long “training session” in full business professional dress. They view pre-recorded video lectures and create a 10-minute video presentation for analytical discussion. On completion, they’re required to chair or take part in a SBA CLE program within 12 months of graduation.

On second thought, skip the falafel and pass me a hushpuppy! In truth, I never acquired a taste for either although I have friends who’ll drive miles for a good falafel sandwich. Don’t know about the hushpuppy. As for me — hand me a gyro.

But enough about food, frivolity and the foolhardy. So just before the Arizona Bar makes it more difficult for third-party providers to market and sell CLE, here’s more FREE CLE.

PLEASE NOTE: The in-person Phoenix, AZ CLE program worth “up to 7.0 CLE hours, including 1.0 Ethics and 1.5 Domestic Violence Plus BONUS .5 credit during lunch hour” is not technically FREE — but requires a $65 payment for materials, lunch, snacks and refreshments. All the same, quite the deal!

The usual disclaimers about content quality, jurisdictional acceptability and continued availability apply.

________________________________________________________________________________________

LexisNexis® presents a Complimentary CLE-eligible* Webinar: Finding Shelter After the Storm: Survival Following Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Floods and Fires

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
2:00 – 3:35pm ET (11am PT)
95 minutes
1.5 CLE Credits

_____________________________________________________

Is Your Legal Hold Process “Reasonable” Under the Updated FRCP?

Presented by Exterro as part of its E-Discovery Masters Series

Webcast: October 1, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (10:00 a.m. Pacific)
Space is limited. Register Now!
CLE-Accredited Webcast but separate registration is required on www.nacle.com/exterro to receive CLE credit.

____________________________________________________________________

Keeping Legal Minds Intact: Mitigating Compassion Fatigue Among Legal Professionals

American Bar Association

Wednesday, October 22nd at 12:00pm-1:30pm CST

1.50 General CLE Credit Hours, FREE

http://shop.americanbar.org/ebus/ABAEventsCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?productId=135023765

____________________________________________________________________

How the Separation of Powers Informs the Executive Duty to Defend the Law  

Case Western University Law School

OCT 2, 2014
4:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.

1 hour of in-person CLE credit available, pending approval

________________________________________________________________________________________

Volunteer Atty & Child Advocacy seminar

Defenders of Children and Arizona Summit Law School

LIVE IN-PERSON CLE PROGRAM

‘KEEPING IT REAL’ Educational Seminar
Seating is Limited.
RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2014
8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

AZ SUMMIT LAW SCHOOL
1 N.Central Ave. (at Washington)
PHOENIX, AZ 85004

$65 Early Bird received during September ensures the full day’s amenities, materials and lunch.

Educational credits available for lawyers and mental health providers with an interest in Family and Juvenile Court.

REGISTER AT:
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e9tab5l6c4f4fe81&oseq=&c=&ch=
________________________________________________________________________________________

Photo Credits: Falafel, at Wikimedia Commons by Jerem at fr.wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License; Hushpuppies 5 stack, Uploaded by CrazyLegsKC, Wikimedia Commons under Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

.

Read Full Post »

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d1/Avarice.jpg/321px-Avarice.jpg“When somebody says it’s not about the money — it’s about the money.” – H.L. Mencken

This Friday, the State Bar of Arizona considers whether or not to ask the state supreme court to approve a precertification system for organizations offering continuing legal education (CLE) in Arizona.

Those favoring a first-ever pay-to-play arrangement wherein CLE providers have to pay a fee to be Bar-accredited to sell credit-eligible courses in Arizona are making like it’s all good. They’re saying it’s about insuring program quality and attorney competency; enhancing member services; and advancing the Bar’s mission to protect the public — from its lawyers.

But recalling Mencken and as every lawyer who’s ever heard clients sayit’s not about the money’ knows — the proposed change is about the money. And we’re talking about a lot — well into the 7 figures of gross revenue, at least here in Arizona. For mandatory and voluntary bars across the country, continuing legal education is a cash cow business.

And thanks to the Arizona Bar’s latest proposal to require provider precertification, it means to keep its cash-generating bovine healthy by:

► Generating more money via another CLE revenue stream and by;

► Protecting its $2M+ annual CLE revenue turf from increased competition from third-party CLE providers.

How high the annual or course-by-course certification fees will be is anybody’s guess. However, the Bar subcommittee recommending the changes noted that other state bars have annual fees ranging “from $100-$500.”  Unfortunately, the subcommittee neglected to similarly emphasize that the mandatory continuing legal education jurisdictions of Nevada, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, and New York have CLE certification guidelines but without fee generating mechanisms. See http://www.barancle.com/mcle/course-application-requirements/

Those aforementioned states, which include both mandatory and voluntary bars, only require lawyers to comply with MCLE — but do not impose accreditation fees on providers. See https://www.reqwiredlegal.com/reqwired/resources/ and http://www.barancle.com/mcle/mcle-requirement/ And why not mention that the jurisdictions of Michigan, South Dakota, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Massachusetts have no MCLE requirements at all?

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3d/Limbo1.JPG/1024px-Limbo1.JPGTo be fair, there’s talk here of possible exemptions for non-profits and local organizations that do not charge dues and seminar registration fees, which must mean that unlike the non-profit Arizona Bar — such organizations have to undertake CLE strictly as a labor of love.

Sarcasm aside, it presumably means law firms with free in-house employee CLE would get a pass. Yet undetermined, though, is whether state agencies or state-funded organizations would be charged fees or reduced fees and whether or not Arizona lawyers would be charged to get credit approval for non-Bar accredited third-party CLE.

Another under-publicized Bar vote.

Politicians 19But for a belated blast email asking for member comments 9 days before the vote, Arizona’s lawyers might not have heard of the significant changes planned. That said, since lawyers are often too busy to pay attention to every email in a glutted inbox, I suspect very few of Arizona’s 17,300 active members will have heard of the proposal. They’ll find out only after the proverbial die’s been cast.

Seems the Bar learned nothing from the brouhaha it stirred when it tried last December 2013 to pass a 22% lawyer licensing fee increase when they thought no one was looking. Because of lawyer objections concerning insufficient due process and lack of transparency, the Bar had to table that vote. Unfortunately, despite subsequent revelations of bureaucratic bloat and budgetary waste, the Bar eventually eked out a 12-11 vote to hike Arizona lawyer dues albeit by ‘only’ 13% instead of 22%.

So no surprise to jaded Bar members about this latest under-publicized move by the ‘friendly state bar.’ Stoically resigned Arizona lawyers already know that despite an almost $15M annual budget; a just-passed dues increase; and a projected nearly $4M surplus by 2019, Bar leadership has sufficient brass to ask members to sustain one more financial burden on their practices. The imposition of new cost-of-business fees on third-party CLE providers will be passed on to participants.

The emperor has no clothes.

The irony of all of this is that from the first imposition of mandatory continuing legal education, lawyers have questioned the faulty assumptions and false conclusions underpinning it.

Indeed, as prominent Nevada family law attorney Marshal Willick writes in his brilliant post All studies known to date show no benefit whatsoever to imposition of mandatory CLE programs in terms of lawyer competency.  What we have is a time-and-money-consuming bureaucracy that falsely portrays itself as providing a service important to the public, but actually does not make lawyers any better, or provide the public any useful information; in short, it does no actual good.

Man with American money uid 1“Why would the organized Bar – formed for the stated purpose of serving the Bar and public – demonstrate such gross incapacity to see that the emperor has no clothes? Because, even beyond the PR value of the appearance of doing something valuable, there’s money to be made.”

And for additional perspectives concerning the absence of studies that mandatory CLE verifiably improves the quality of legal services or ensures the competency of lawyers, also see, e.g., “The MCLE Question No One Wants to Ask” at http://www.law21.ca/2013/04/the-mcle-question-no-one-wants-to-ask/ and “Colossal Cave-in: Why Reform of MCLE Was DOA” at https://www.myazbar.org/AZAttorney/PDF_Articles/AZAT0201-MCLE.pdf  and “Revisiting MCLE: Is Compulsory Passive Learning Building Better Lawyers?” at http://bit.ly/1uRNLDq R

Irksomely, however, mandatory CLE will continue to exist because state bars make a lot of money from it.

Bureaucrats.PNG

“You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”Thomas Sowell

The creation of yet another bureaucratic department at the Bar staffed with either more clerical or legal staff to vet CLE programs is a fiscal step in the wrong direction.

Among similarly-sized state bars, the Arizona Bar already has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest lawyer licensing fees; one of the largest annual budgets; and one of the biggest administrative staffs and exceptionally well-paid executive cadre in the country.

Instead of looking at fiscal discipline and cost-controls, this latest initiative virtually assures more member dues increases to satisfy the ongoing demands of the new bureaucracy created to qualify, certify, track and audit CLE providers in the future.

Whether there’s enough fiscal good sense left among the Bar’s Board of Governors to stop the proposal remains to be seen.

But when you’re talking Bar bovine bankrolling protection — don’t bet on it.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Photo Credits: Deadly sins, Avarice, by Jesus Solana at Flickr Creative Commons-requiring attribution http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasotraspaso/6953271968/; The Emperor’s Clothes by Vilhelm Pedersen at Wikipedia Commons, public domain; Revenue by Simon Cunningham at Flickr via Creative Commons license requiring attribution; Limbo Dancer by Mariegriffiths at Wikipedia Commons under the GNU Free Documentation License; Imag0361, by Bruce Biles at Flickr via Creative Commons license requiring attribution; Money, by Philip Taylor at Flickr via Creative Commons license requiring attribution; Bureaucrats, by Raafael at Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license; Cash cow, adopted from watchingfrogsboil at Flickr, Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Read Full Post »

Man with American money uid 1I once asked, “Who’s making money from MCLE?” but, of course, I already knew the answer — mostly, it’s your friendly state bar. For many state bars, including Arizona’s, continuing legal education (CLE) is a cash cow.

For instance, according to its most recent Annual Report, the Arizona Bar grossed $2,151,368 in revenue from continuing legal education, which after cost-allocating its miscellaneous staff, meals and facilities’ expenses, amounted to $733,208 buckaroo bucks of CLE revenue.

Any wonder, then, that when the AZ Bar does serve up a free webinar — like the upcoming February 12, 2013, “It Just Makes Cents: Ethical Fee Agreements,” — there’s no CLE credit given?

Mucho dinero.

business,cash registers,dollar signs,people,retails,sales,symbols,accountants,clerks,banks,occupation

Or take the “ShowMe” folks at the Missouri State Bar. According to the Missouri Bar Annual Report 2011/2012, of the total $3,797,902 in non-enrollment fee receipts, CLE contributed a robust 75% or $2,848,426 of the total.* [But see the asked-for clarification below from the folks at the Missouri Bar]. And in Washington State, WSBA-CLE’s fund balance as of September 30, 2011 was a cool $1,351,465.

Indeed, so lucrative is the CLE revenue stream that some bars go out of their way to protect their turfs and to disincentivize lawyer attendance at non-bar sponsored programs.

In Arizona, for example, irrespective of the writing, editing and research hours that may actually be expended, the bar arbitrarily limits CLE to only 2 credit hours “for each 3,000 words of original material written.”

And in Arkansas and Oklahoma, audio-only live webcasts are not approved for credit. Meanwhile, Indiana imposes a 6 credit limit per year on distance education courses while the Alabama State Bar not only limits lawyers to 6 hours of online participatory CLE but also charges its lawyers a $25 processing fee just to apply for CLE course credit.

File:Toe tag.jpgBut live is better.

Other state bars also limit the number of online courses that can be taken for credit, “claiming live CLE is better.”

In November 2011, the Virginia Bar began requiring “a minimum hourly requirement for courses which provide simultaneous, live interactivity,”  or said another way, active Virginia lawyers are now required “to attend a minimum of four (4.0) credit hours of live interactive programming.”

animals,businesses,cartoons,cash cows,metaphors

Blogging about the Virginia Bar’s new requirement at Civilian’s Guide to Lawyers (the Blog), lawyer John Toothman posted, “If it weren’t for mandatory CLE, most bars would be broke.  So the Virginia Bar has hatched some excuses to leverage its control over lawyers and CLE in a vain attempt to save its live conference cash cow.”

Not milked dry.

photoVirginia notwithstanding, the good news is that most lawyers can still get CLE credit for online programs. Better yet, they can still get CLE credit for FREE — instead of getting milked dry by expensive live, video or webcast programs of inconsistent quality. And the reason any of this matters is that when lawyers — especially new ones, are so hard pressed to pay back exorbitant student loans they’re the last ones to afford hundreds of dollars a year in CLE fees on top of hundreds of dollars in annual bar dues.

Below is the latest round-up of FREE ONLINE CLE. The usual caveats about content quality, continued availability and jurisdictional approval apply.

____________________________________________________________________

Practising Law Institute

PLI: Seminars – Update on CA Penal Code 1170.9 for Veterans ..

February 12, 2013
Item# 46519
Format:  Webcast

Free
Pre-Register

(1) Hour CLE Credit

“Learn about the restorative relief now available to veterans under subdivision (h) of the California Penal Code 1170.9, effective as of January 1, 2013!”

Representing the Pro Bono Client: Effective Written Advocacy

March 7, 2013
Item# 43292
Format:  Webcast

Free
Pre-Register

(1) Hour CLE Credit

“This program will teach new attorneys and seasoned professionals effective writing techniques to assist pro bono clients with a variety of legal issues.  Learn the tools to draft concise complaints, declarations and briefs to help your pro bono clients assert their legal rights and win their cases!”

________________________________________________________________

Clifford Law Offices

2013 Webinar: “Ethics of Witness Preparation for Deposition and Trial” – February 21, 2013

(2) hours CLE Professional Responsibility Credit

Illinois Commission on Professionalism

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

_______________________________________________________________

X1 Discovery

RECORDED WEBINAR

Social Media Ethics: Attorneys’ Affirmative Duty to Address Social Media Evidence (60 min) 1 hour CLE webinar.

http://www.x1discovery.com/video_webinar_duty_to_address_request.html

X1 Social Discovery Webinar with LexisNexis

______________________________________________________________

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Food Labeling: What You Can Say, What You Must Say, and How to Defend It

(A Steptoe-Sponsored Event)
Complimentary webinar on food labeling, February 21, 2013

CLE credit pending: AZ, CA, IL, NY, and VA.

Click here to register

___________________________________________________________________

Lexis Nexis

Whistleblower Update 2013

Complimentary accredited CLE webinar: February 13, 2013

Whistleblower webinar | HB Litigation Conferences

Register Now!

______________________________________________________________

* Missouri Bar Media Relations Director Farrah Fite has asked I add the following clarification about the Missouri Bar’s CLE receipts cited in this post, which I am happy to oblige here: “While the gross receipts information in our annual report is correct, your post does not account for the department’s expenditures which are outlined in the neighboring graph (http://www.mobar.org/uploadedFiles/Home/Publications/Annual_Report/2011-2012/full.pdf). I would appreciate it if you would update your blog post to reflect the full budget picture which demonstrates the Missouri Bar’s CLE programs are not a “cash cow.” In fact, in 2011 the expenditures outweighed receipts by $219,773.75.”

There’s an old joke that lawyers go to law school because they’re not good at math. But before I was a lawyer, I was a business manager. So here are some facts and my opinionated inferences from the Missouri Bar’s graph data.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the definition of gross receipts is “the total revenue a company or organization receives during its annual accounting period before subtracting any costs or expenses.”

Per the graph of “Missouri Bar Total Disbursements,” i.e., money paid out (expenses) — the Missouri Bar allocated 33% of its total disbursements of $9,250,976 to “Continuing Legal Education” plus an additional 3% of the total disbursements or $277,526 to something else called “Minimum Continuing Legal Education.” But all along, $2,848,426 simply stated gross receipts.
As for expenses, 36% of $9,250,976 comes to $3,330,215 — a whopping expense number which when subtracted from CLE gross receipts of $2,848,426 does indeed suggest the Bar is ‘in the red.’
But as the saying goes, the devil’s in the details — which there’s a paucity of here, particularly when the Missouri Bar shows a scant 9% allocation to “Administration,” most likely, employee overhead.
Moreover, the Missouri Bar scatters disbursements across 17 expense categories. But none even comes close to the 36% allocated to CLE.
However, all I can infer from my own business experience and from virtually every employer cost data point concerning employee compensation, the cost of payroll is the single largest line item on a P & L. Employee compensation can average from an extremely well-run business low of 20% to well over 40%.
With respect to non-profits, one survey summarized by The NonProfit Times, similarly shows that “38 percent of nonprofits’ operating budgets were spent on total cash compensation costs . . . and for most nonprofits, compensation costs comprised at least a third of their operating budget.”
But at the Missouri Bar where 2011 bar enrollment and non-enrollment receipts and fees total $8,511,670 — counterintuitively, CLE and not employee compensation accounts for over a third of total disbursements. And when disbursements of $9,250,876 exceed fees and receipts by $739,206, CLE’s got a lot of water to carry.

Photo Credits:”Toe Tag,” by Dep. Garcia at Wikipedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License; “Neanderthal,” by Hamed Saber, at Flickr via Creative Content-license requiring attribution.

Read Full Post »

Here’s that word we like again, “Free,” as in free continuing legal education. With news today about yet another ticked-off financially struggling law school alum, it’s time to rearrange the stuff collected in the ‘goodie closet’ and share some more free CLE. As for that disgruntled law school graduate, see A Recent Law Grad’s Attempt at Revenge on His Law School.”

But speaking of going to law school, I still don’t get why young people continue to enroll. Maybe it’s because they no longer read newspapers and news magazines or follow the news or pay attention to current events. See, for instance, “Law grads take their job frustrations to court” – Fortune Management.

Or maybe it’s just because of all those stupid television lawyer shows that bear as much resemblance to the real practice of law as a hamster does to a horse or a jalapeño does to a bon-bon.

I mean has anyone been paying attention to the Student Loan Bubble and how U.S. college loan debt now exceeds what Americans owe on their credit cards? It’s like the housing bubble deja vu. See$1 trillion in student loan debt sparks furor.”

As a matter of fact, last month, two clueless buddies proudly told me their daughters were now attending law school. I restrained myself – – – for once. I didn’t have the heart to burst any more bubbles that month – – – not when they’re both astride some humongous student loan bubbles.

So in my ongoing sideline quest to help the penuriously besieged save a few bucks so they can service all those past-due student loans, below find links to more free CLE but with a bent this time toward legal malpractice prevention.

And as always, I make no warranty on content quality, continued availability or whether or not your jurisdiction won’t blow off your attempt to cop a freebie’s worth of mandatory continuing legal education credit.

Intellectual Property Risk Management

One hour of ethics credit for dipping yourself into what’s “acceptable and ethical conduct in patent and trademark prosecution before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), conflicts of interest and potential resultant malpractice charges.”

_____________________________________________________________

Webinar – Attorney Protective

~ Ethical and Early Resolution of Errors – Best Practices for Ohio Attorneys, Webinar on October 27, 2011

~ Intake Procedures – Unleash Your Inner Detective, Webinar on November 10, 2011

______________________________________________________________

Free Online CLE Courses | lexvid.com

Substance Abuse: a Clinical & Ethical Perspective

______________________________________________________________

Malpractice PreventionMicrolaw, Ethics Topics, Data Backup

CYA (Covering Your Assets): One Day Data Backup Will Save Your Law Practice!

(Author: Ross Kodner) (23 page monograph from Oct/Nov. 2005 Law Office Computing)

How NOT to Commit Malpractice With Your Computer

(Presenter: Ross Kodner) (Indiana Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference, June 2006)

Minimizing Malpractice Risks with Practice Management Systems

(Presenter: Ross Kodner) (From LegalTech New York, February 2005)

______________________________________________________________

Legal profession and ethics at U. Akron Joseph G. Miller and William C. Becker Center for Professional Responsibility, Distinguished Lecturer Series on Journalism and the Law featuring Adam Liptak of the “New York Times” on Covering the Roberts Court in the Obama Era: A Reporter’s Reflections.” One hour CLE credit and to access the lecture, go to the  center’s website.

______________________________________________________________

Louisiana Legal Ethics

Ironically, the program’s not free in Louisiana. It’s like smelling and tasting the steak for free but it costing you $$$ to digest.

Or in other words, you can watch the CLE program for free but it’s $49 to obtain MCLE credit. But if you’re in another jurisdiction that doesn’t nick you for CLE credit obtained from another state bar, then you’ve got it made.

Paperless 102: Working with PDFs, CaseMap and Mindmanager.”

______________________________________________________________

Miscellaneous CLE:

Talk about a much-needed albeit law school-sponsored self-serving program (see college loan comments supra):

“CLE: Student Loans: Repayment Options, Collections and Borrower Rights.”

______________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »