I don’t know if this is a common response by local bar associations. If not, it should be. I’m very proud to be an Austinite.
From the Texas Bar Blog:
The Austin Bar Association is offering a free CLE training for attorney volunteers responding to legal questions and providing assistance to all those affected by the wildfires. The training will be Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Austin Bar Association, 816 Congress Ave., Suite 700, Austin.
The cost is free to Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyers Association members. The CLE credit for this training is 2.0 hours MCLE ethics credit.
This training will cover:
- Ethics & Pro Bono Service
- FEMA & Public Benefits
- Home Ownership Issues (title/mortgage, tax & fencing, barn, pens)
- Landlord-Tenant Concerns
- Insurance and Consumer Law Issues
- Pet and Animal Welfare Law
Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas is providing malpractice coverage to lawyers volunteering through the Austin Bar.
To RSVP for this training, please contact Marissa Lara-Arebalo at 512-472-0279, x100 or at Marissa@austinbar.org.
Thank you to all the volunteer attorneys and donors for your support in helping evacuees affected by the Bastrop wildfires.
Spiraling, uncontrolled costs. Crippling personal debt. Long-term joblessness and underemployment. Downward pressure on wages. Hand-wringing. Finger-pointing. Ineffectual half measures to address the crisis.
Sound familiar? But unlike the U.S. sovereign debt, there still are no urgent or comprehensive efforts under way to slow — let alone reverse — the job-killing effects of law school costs. Lots of talk, though.
This week saw another round of disingenuous harumphing when a post by an anonymous “whistleblower” law professor rehashed what’s been manifestly obvious for years: Law schools are revenue-generating machines with no checks or balances from the marketplace or government, and with plenty of self-interested reasons to push their costs ever higher. [Apparently this is an "astonishing" indictment because an anonymous law professor said it.]
Fortunately, this week also saw a refreshing antidote to that impotent hand wringing — a well-reasoned and eminently achievable way to cut the Gordian knot: Build from scratch a no-frills, ABA-accredited, university-based private law school covering all its costs at the $20,000-per-year tuition level.
On The Faculty Lounge blog, Roger Dennis, Dean of the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University, posted a precis for The Class of 1957 College of Law. The thought exercise begins simply:
“The Class of 1957 College of Law will have 500 students. It will not offer any financial aid; one price [$20,000] for all will create $10 million in revenue.”
It then goes on to explain how the school will be structured, staffed and operated within that budget.
Key elements include:
- A full-time faculty of 20, earning $100,000/year, plus benefits.
- No research requirements for faculty, allowing them to teach three courses each per academic term.
- No sabbaticals.
- Professional development focused on teaching only.
- The curriculum will be meat and potatoes (e.g. evidence, commercial law, federal income tax, business organizations, trust and estates, family law and legal drafting).
- Beyond trial advocacy and legal drafting programs, the experiential education program will be based on other simulation courses and well-monitored externships.
No call to arms to actually build and test a model school, though. No discussion of approaching the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help underwrite a pilot.
Alas, while interesting, Dennis’ post is just another abstract academic parlor game (and it has the comment thread to prove it). But it was a refreshing counterpoint to the usual jeremiads — a welcome rhetorical sorbet.
Sometimes the best ideas in legal marketing are hiding in plain sight.
I think that’s the case with MCLE training. Practicing lawyers have to complete it to stay licensed, and judging by their bios, it seems like all of them have given a session at one time or another. So where are the firms that have made speakers bureau services and CLE training a distinguishing characteristic of their brand?
If you’ve already created a CLE presentation, why aren’t you tweaking and publicizing it for use with business and civic audiences? And if you have an inventory of general speakers bureau presentations, why aren’t you tuning them up into accredited CLE content?
CLE maven Tim Baran is one of the most visible and persuasive evangelists for leveraging CLE’s nexus with marketing, and in a Lawyerist post this week he reinforced how developing and presenting CLE content directly benefits the presenter, not just the audience. I was particularly pleased to see that he called out in-house training as an underutilized CLE opportunity, and he helpfully included a link to Law Writing‘s excellent state by state guide to rules for in-house courses.
Here’s an idea starter: MCLE-palooza.
Nothing concentrates the mind on MCLE like the looming fulfillment deadline. And as with filing taxes, every year there is a sizable cohort of procrastinators scrambling to finish — or even start — their MCLE. Seems like some enterprising firm, local bar association or LMA chapter could turn that confluence of supply and demand into a great publicity event.
Imagine a Saturday of back-to-back MCLE sessions. Donate the space, have vendors underwrite the lunch, tie it in with a local charity, get a local TV station to cover it and — Voila! — marketing gold.
One successful example is the Austin Bar Association’s People’s Law School, which offers free informal courses taught by lawyers to the general public on topics like family law, wills and estate planning, criminal law, credit repair and the legal process. Why not an MCLE version for the lawyers themselves?
I’ve been flogging this idea for years now, but so far no takers. I hope this time someone grabs it and runs with it — and gives me credit, of course.