This is not about trying to get your marketing courses accredited (that’s a rant, er, post for another time). It’s about using continuing legal education (CLE) accreditation as a tool to enhance what you already offer and broaden your potential audience.

If you’re a law firm, solo attorney, or company or entrepreneur catering to the legal profession, you need to establish yourself as an expert in your niche practice or service. How do you do that?  By presenting at conferences and other events, offering seminars, webcasts and teleconferences, blogging and engaging on social media platforms.

It seems as though most recognize this as our overflowing inbox and mailbox can attest, advertising free webinars and low cost (and not-so-low cost) 3-day conferences. How do you separate yourself from the pack? By getting CLE accreditation.

Accreditation offers three immediate advantages

  1. Presumption of quality – the standards and rigorous accreditation process promotes quality assurance
  2. Opportunity for lawyers to satisfy their mandatory CLE requirements –  in today’s budget-tightening times, potential registrants for continuing legal education programs are increasingly inquiring about earning credits
  3. Increase program awareness and attendance – many states list the programs they accredit on their website, often with a link to the Provider’s website

Mandatory CLE rules are often onerous and not terribly progressive making the accreditation process somewhat daunting. But it’s certainly doable. Although 45 states now require lawyers to fulfill a mandatory CLE requirement, the top five states, New York, California, Texas, Florida and Illinois, cover almost 50 percent of the one million plus attorneys in the United States. Start with a couple of states, or all five to get maximum exposure for your presentation. Reciprocity will grant you another few states. Then based on feedback and armed with a new understanding of the rules and administrative requirements, you can reduce or expand accreditation for your next presentation.

Practicing lawyers attend courses to stay on top of their game, with most mandated to do so. They sacrifice billable time. A CLE accredited activity provides an opportunity for lawyers to learn and earn so go ahead and accredit your presentation. Start small and expand. Or for national, multiple day conferences you can choose to start big maxing out at around 30-35 states. Your presentation can now be marketed as CLE accredited to broaden your reach and increase attendance.

(Photo: http://flic.kr/p/8FmAqA)