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Blomquist: Online and on Your Time

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blomquist-kerryLast night after work, I learned a lot about the art and science behind truly effective direct and cross-examination from colleagues Phil Isenbarger and John Kautzman, IndyBar past presidents, 2013 board members and a couple of the best litigators around. I’ve been practicing law for more than 20 years but listening to great trial lawyers talk about their passion and skill in a courtroom is always enlightening, never ever boring, and just plain fun.

And the bonus? I earned this CLE credit while I was in my pajamas, because I was online.

This week, your IndyBar is launching its Online CLE Course offerings after months of planning by both the IndyBar staff and leadership. This expansion of services to our members has been a part of the IndyBar strategic plan for more than three years, so a special nod to past presidents Scott Chinn, Mike Hebenstreit and Chris Hickey for building the bridge we cross this week. Nod also to Julie Armstrong and her staff who confronted an Internet systems learning curve sufficient to land them a guest role on “The Big Bang Theory” (accordingly, please note that for safety reasons, use of terms like Sonic Foundry, Silverlight and Mediasite must be used with caution while in the IndyBar offices. Don’t get them started.).

So now let’s back up and get some facts.

Anytime, anywhere. Bar members can take up to 6 CLE hours of your three year, 36 CLE hour requirement online. To me, that means an hour of CLE while watching kids’ soccer practice, while waiting in an airport or on a summer weekend in the hammock or on vacation.

Education you can trust. Because IndyBar members are presenting, I choose to learn online from people I know and trust in their subject expertise. An ethics seminar from IndyBar member Michael Witte, Executive Secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission? Appeals 101 from the Honorable Cale Bradford from the Indiana Court of Appeals and current IndyBar board member? Those are good investments of my time.

This is affordable CLE. IndyBar Online CLE is $32.50 per credit hour for IndyBar members—that is an incredible bargain by anyone’s measure, and given that non-member rates double, the availability of Online CLE is another tremendous benefit for our members.

It’s easy. The tech requirements for accessing Online CLE could not be any easier. Registration is online and is comparable to the process for regular IndyBar programs. Once you review the programs and select the one you want, check out and complete the purchase; you are emailed a link to the program and you are good to go. Bonus #1: you have 30 days to watch the program so you can purchase a few together. Bonus #2: IndyBar reports the completed CLE to the Commission for you, so when the program is done, you are done.

Privacy. One important but understated benefit of Online CLE is the fact that your choice to learn or refine your knowledge of legal subject matter is private. I have a dear friend and colleague who has chosen to take an online CLE course on estate planning, not because it is his area, but because it is not, and he has elderly parents and needs to know more—ideally without running into a lot of his colleagues. A former law student of mine is seeking knowledge in other areas of the law through online CLE contemplating a direction switch. Still another is learning more about immigration law because of a friend in need.

This is exceptional knowledge that rises far above the “Continuing Legal Education” we are compelled to receive and report. IndyBar Online CLE puts our ability to become better lawyers, and I will argue better people, at our fingertips. Please check out the more than 70 course offerings at http://www.indybar.org/events-education/online-cle/.•

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