Most states and territories require continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys. Some specific practice areas and specialties also have their own CLE requirements. It can feel overwhelming when you first see the CLE hours required by your state bar. However, with a little preparation you can efficiently meet state CLE requirements while also accumulating new skills and techniques to enhance your estate planning practice. Here’s how:
Know what you need and when
Every state bar’s mandatory CLE (MCLE) requirements are different. On one end of the spectrum, certain states, including Colorado, require 45 credit hours per three-year reporting period. New Hampshire, on the other end, requires 12 hours over a one-year period.
Most state bars also mandate minimum speciality credits. California requires attorneys to achieve four hours of ethics credit, one hour of competence issues credit, and one hour of elimination of bias in the profession credit, per three-year reporting period.
If you are struggling to keep track of CLE requirements while handling everything else on your plate, there are resources to help. The American Bar Association and your state bar make it easy to find out what you need and when. Check out the ABA’s Mandatory CLE section and national map to quickly determine your specific requirements.
Find the best bang for your buck
Prices of CLE courses vary widely depending on the vendors. So does value. It is possible to find CLE providers who offer bundle packages, discounts and even free courses. But, you have to ask yourself whether listening to an hourlong course on “The Basics of Internet Law” is really going to help your estate planning practice.
If you really want to derive value for your time and effort and learn from CLE material, consider a membership program that allows you to customize your curriculum and learn on your own time and terms. Some programs offer in-person seminars in addition to virtual access to webinars and streaming events, so you can meet your MCLE requirements and gain insight and ideas to apply to your practice right away.
A WealthCounsel membership boasts free virtual continuing legal education in addition to its many other benefits. Joining WealthCounsel provides access to:
- Practice development tools
- A comprehensive resource center
- Best-in-class document drafting software
- An experienced network of estate planning attorneys
These added benefits make the price of CLE credits feel more like an investment. A monthly or annual membership is a good way to amortize your costs while spending time on CLE opportunities that actually pique your interest and help grow your practice.
Conferences: Kill two birds with one stone
As a busy attorney, time is always of the essence. Finding the quickest, most efficient way to meet your MCLE requirements can make a huge difference in the day-to-day running of your practice. If you’re looking for a way complete a significant portion of your requirements quickly, consider attending a conference. Panels and seminars at these events are a great way to stay up to date on the latest developments in the legal world and learn something new along the way.
For example, the agenda at WealthCounsel’s upcoming Symposium 2017 in Hollywood, California includes breakout sessions loaded with CLE, interactive workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities with the brightest minds in the industry. Each session corresponds to a specific track (legal marketing, business law, elder law, estate planning). Over three-and-a-half days at Symposium, you can earn up to 18 CLE credit hours.
“Symposium provides the best law practice education in the country,” said Bill Alexander, JD, a WealthCounsel member since 2013. “There’s more bang for your buck at this conference than I have ever seen before.”
That’s not to mention the conference’s keynote speakers: Amy Blankson, co-founder of GoodThink, and Bonner Paddock, senior vice president of community outreach at Young’s Market Co.
Alongside webinars and state forum events, WealthCounsel’s Symposium is a valuable element to our complete CLE offering. A WealthCounsel membership offers access to the CLE credits you need taught by an unparalleled group of educators. Our members often say that the WealthCounsel CLE program has been the best thing to happen to their practice.
Learn more about Symposium and get a jump start on meeting your CLE requirements!