CLE (Continuing Legal Education) answers a BIG question
Curious about what it's like to be The Lawyer representing clients in the office and/or in court? Can't quite fathom what a banking regulator, divorce lawyer or real estate finance practitioner might do all day?
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) provides the answer, and it's free to students. CLE is required in all but a handful of states, and you can find programs for virtually all practices and both Ethics and Law Practice Management live and on the web.
WHO PRESENTS CLE? In addition to commercial providers, some sponsors are international, national, state and local bar associations and their sections; specialty bars (MN Intellectual Property Association, Minnesota Women Lawyers), U of MN Institutes and the U of MN alumni association.
WHERE CAN I FIND CLE? Live CLE can be at a bar association office, in the Law School or at events (dinners with speakers on legal subjects). Some public and private employers provide CLE for their attorneys through in-house training programs Commercial providers, bar associations and law schools also offer CLE webcasts.
WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?
1. To learn about practice from people who are doing the work. Because so much of law school is theoretical, you can use CLE to supplement theory with exposure to practical problems.
2. To explore areas that interest you before you use up three credits or commit to an employer to do work about which you may know virtually nothing. This may be the ultimate 'try before you buy."
3. To prep for your summer or post-JD employment. If you know what you will do in your first job, why not supplement what you have learned in school, in Clinic or in your previous employment? Your employers will be impressed that you have invested your own time in your career.
4. To meet lawyers. If you go to live CLE, you will meet lawyers, who traditionally swarm law students who are smart enough to identify themselves at the doughnut breaks.
CLE is free for law students. Sometimes, if you want to use the materials for the duration of the program, you will be asked to trade you ID for the documents. For commercial providers, call to let the organizers know that you are coming so that they can make sure that you have a seat.