Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cost of Continuing Legal Education…

Well I have been out of law school for 2 years now and working in a non traditional position at a Bank. Since I do not work for a firm per se, I have to pay for my own continuing legal education. A partner at a firm that I work with, strongly suggested that I take a writing course to keep my skills sharp. He says it is one of the biggest criticisms for attorneys that have been out of the practice of law for some time. The class that he suggested that I take starts in March and costs $595. Ouch!

It was not just a mere suggestion either…it was a strong suggestion, particularly since I am trying to network and find a position and he is assisting. He’s asked me about the course several times and I have to bite the bullet and register. I don’t want to give any impression that I am not willing to put in the work when he is sticking his neck out for me in terms of making connections.

I am troubled that so early in the year, I already have to hit my savings for almost $600. Time to file my tax return...

9 comments:

LD said...

Even though you may have to bite that bullet and take the suggested/ordered CLE, you may be able to find some deals in the future for it.

I have volunteered two hours of time with the local Legal Aid on "talk to a Lawyer Day" and received free CLE.

Plus, the expenses that you do pay out of pocket should be deductible on your taxes. Small comfort, but every penny helps.

Chitown said...

Thanks LD!!!

Aaren said...

Be happy that you have savings with which to pay for the course! I know it hurts to have to use it, but these are the situations it's there for, and having to charge it would impede your paydown of your CC debt. Enjoy the course; I've been trying to convince my boss to let me take one, but so far no luck :-(.

Anonymous said...

being cynical here, is this contact going to give you a job if you go on that course? Or is he on commission if he sells places on that course? No amount of "writing courses" will actually prepare you for having practical lawyering experience. Unless it is compulsory miss it.

Aaren said...

Hmm.

Anon, regardless of if she gets a job from said contact, "practical lawyering experience" depends entirely on what type of law you practice. The ability to write well is going to be important regardless. As an example, my good friend is a corporate securities lawyer who writes memos and briefs all day, can research the hell out of securities law, and spends his days in a library. That's "practical" for him.

I'm a family law attorney, and spend most of my days drafting contracts, motions, and being in court. That's "practical" for me, and on a totally different spectrum. However, my friend needs to know how to write memos for his boss and clients; I need to know how to write memos for the judge. That skill helps us both.

My two cents: keep the course.

Anonymous said...

Aaren - I would think that one can buy a book on "good writing skills for lawyers" "standard letters for lawyers" etc, etc...

I think that one needs to be guarded with professional development courses which are non essential.

Like you I also practice, but one has to be wise to as to whether these "courses" are actually worth the money. Dont get me wrong, good writing skills are ESSENTIAL for lawyers, I am amazed that many experienced lawyers cannot write a good letter. I think that when money is an issue there are ways for developing one's writing skills for free.

Aaren said...

Then I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree, :D. Lawyers are good for that, wouldn't you say?

Chitown said...

Anon -

The contact can't guaranty me a position but he is trying to network on my behalf with his firm and others.

As an African American attorney, the key criticism that we often get is on our writing. Therefore, he is trying to cut that off at the path and make sure I keep my writing skills up to par.

I appreciate the comments Aaren and Anon. =)

Aaren said...

It's funny, I wondered if you were African American. I am too, and it seems I'm the only one in my firm or from other colleagues my age interested in those types of classes. But, I say you network your heart off while you're there. Best of luck.