In every field, the top performers are typically perpetual learners. They spend their hard-earned money on books, seminars, workshops, classes, and coaches in an effort to learn things that will advance both themselves and those around them. Lifelong learners outperform non-learners in terms of success, well-being, and happiness in the workplace, according to research from the University of Cambridge. That's why completing your Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements is the most practical way to improve your craft while also getting to network and meet new connections in the industry.
State Requirements - In order to practice law, attorneys must keep their license current and up to date. In some states, attorneys are required to complete a set number of hours—typically 12–15 hours—of continuing legal education (CLE) every year or every two years. Additionally, some states also have requirements for specific types of continuing education for lawyers. For example, a state might require at least half the CLE credits to come from live courses with the rest of the credits coming from distance learning programs, such as webinars or online courses. To better help you, Lawline has listed out each state's minimum CLE credits and requirements.
Stay up to date with legal developments - One of our top objectives at The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 is to help other attorneys stay relevant. Regardless of what you might think of CLEs, staying relevant and maintaining competence involves one key element—staying up to date on cutting edge issues in the law. All professions must keep up with the constant changes in the world, legislation, and new issues. Lawyers are no exception. With that being said, the point of CLEs are to help you stay up to date on legal changes that can impact your practice, and to help you grow professionally. As a friendly tip, be sure to choose courses that you’ll find both interesting and useful, rather than simply picking what’s going to give you the most credit.
Increase your network - Attending events that offer CLEs is a great way to increase your network. Most in-person legal events are crafted to emphasize the importance of networking. This could include exchanging business cards at a cocktail reception or comparing case notes during a small group lecture. For example, if the event is on ways to increase your ROI and you're looking for advice, introduce yourself to some of the speakers.The instructors are there to guide and teach what they know in order to help fellow colleagues in the industry. So the next time you attend a CLE event, put a few extra business cards in your pocket and get ready to take advantage of the opportunity to meet and network with industry leading attorneys.
Opportunity for growth - While many lawyers may disagree with the effectiveness of CLEs, there is no disputing the significance of continuing legal education. All lawyers should seize every chance to advance their knowledge and expertise, and attending CLE events is a great method to do so. The goal of these CLE events is to create a forum in which lawyers, judges and legal educators can explore the advancements in law and reflect upon the fundamental premises of lawyer professionalism—competence, civility, integrity, and commitment to the rule of law, to justice. During CLE events you will learn about topics such as ethics, jury selection, criminal defense, and MORE!
By attending these events, you never know what you might learn and be able to implement into your practice so that you can grow your client base and firm.
Destination CLEs - Since most states require attorneys to obtain CLE credits, why not do so while you're on vacation? Bring the whole law firm as a retreat or combine your time with work and with your family vacation. There are many benefits of a change in scenery for the mind and body. Destination CLE events can help with reducing the stress of an office environment while helping expand your knowledge in the legal industry. Plus, it allows you to take well-earned trips to places like Miami or Houston while gaining much-needed CLE credits.
There are some events where you might not receive CLE credits, but we highly recommend you to attend these events anyway. With the practice of law becoming more complex every day, the best way to meet the challenge that complexity brings is to learn something new and unordinary.
So, for your next learning opportunity, consider methods other than the conventional CLE events.
You never know what could come from that improv class.
Here at The National Trial Lawyers, we encourage you all to become lifelong learners. Learning leads to curiosity. Curiosity leads to innovation, and innovation is the key to solving many of the challenges currently facing the legal profession. Let’s redefine continuing legal education and let's redefine what it means to become a successful trial attorney!