Maximize Your Return on CLE

Maximize Your Return on CLE

For many attorneys, getting your CLE credits is something done every three years, and consists of attending whatever is available in June or July.

For others, they attend with good intentions but quickly find themselves killing the battery on their smart phone before lunch. If you want to actually learn, it can be done.

Make time for sessions you are interested in

Going to a CLE when it fits into your schedule is a recipe for disaster (or boredom). If a seminar is right up your alley, make time for it. You may actually learn something. Even better, you can network with other attorneys who also know things, which will allow you to learn more things.

Even if you can only make it to half the session—do it. Putting in the time and effort now can make a difference in the long run.

Put your phone away

Sit up straight, put your phone away, and listen. If you still cannot focus, then follow along with the materials and take some notes. You are highly unlikely to learn much if you are not paying attention. In addition, do not kid yourself that you will read the binder later. You might look at it later, but if you fail to lay the groundwork during the actual session, you probably will not go back to read it later.

Read the materials again a week later

If you made it through law school, you probably remember that you cannot simply listen and learn. While the concepts are still fresh in your mind (maybe a week or so), take your binder to lunch and look through it. Some stuff will not make sense, but some of the materials will start to stick.


Either you are learning something new, or learning more about something you already know. Either way, many of the other attendees are your best resource. Be sure you take the time to grab some business cards, have lunch, or have a drink afterwards.


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  • Great advice, Randall! Though we can argue the merits of mandatory CLE, it’s here to stay with 45 states on board. Quality, useful CLE seminars exist though they’re much harder to find when frantically trying to fit it in at the last minute, as you to accurately point out.