Sunday, July 19, 2009

MCLE - Free, Cheap and Fun!

Free or Low Cost MCLE

If you work as a California paralegal or belong to a requiring legal association, you must undergo and complete mandatory continuing education to maintain your status. This can prove to be costly and inconvenient. Besides, I find myself always taking the same courses and learning the same stuff over again. It's a chore and a bore and its time to make a change.

California's local county public law libraries offer low cost and free MCLE on a variety of subjects. "Pay for" credits average $10 each. The speakers are well-trained and knowledgable. Another free law library MCLE resource are the CEB tapes.

The Practising Law Institute, an online legal education provider offers reasonably priced MCLE courses in a number of topics and in a variety of formats. You must register with your email and business information and once registered, you can attend webcasts, live seminars and recordings to your heart's content. The big bonus is that PLI lists pro bono courses among the regular "pay for" courses. The speakers are excellent and the course materials well developed and some are available for download for future access (knock off a couple hours while flying). Once you register for a session you may return to "bone up" if need be and there is a bookmark function so you may mark portions of dialogue.

Other sources include private legal education providers and paralegal and attorney associations. Local county bar associations offer MCLE courses usually for a nominal fee. The California State Bar offers, among other goodies, MCLE at its annual meeting. The 82nd Meeting is taking place in San Diego on September 10-13. For a mere $275 (prepayment) one can spend Thursday through Sunday earning credits, networking, and enjoying legal discourse at every turn. The exhibitors' hall is worthy of note and a great way to shop and network your own business. And, need I remind you that it all takes place in beautiful San Diego? I highly recommend attending this event. It is truly an amazing experience.

Don't be held hostage to a $500 MCLE weekend conference (not including travel!). Why would one suffer mediocre speakers and hastily thrown together, erroneous syllabus materials when you can bang out the requirement for MCLE at home, the office, the local law library, or in beautiful surroundings while rubbing shoulders with the greatest of legal minds?

The chore is no more!

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