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IBA: Section CLE Pilot Program Launched for 2013

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Times are changing in the world of mandatory continuing legal education (CLE). At one time, few providers for continuing legal education existed in the state. Now, a simple Google search for continuing legal education in Indianapolis nets more than 80,000 results.

At the same time, membership dues invoices for associations across the board are increasingly being scrutinized, and the ability to articulate clear member benefits plays a more important role than ever in attracting and retaining members. IndyBar leadership takes the responsibility of communicating a clear value proposition to members seriously and is committed to a constant self-evaluation of the bar’s delivery of benefits and services to members.

Though the IndyBar’s membership remains robust, increasing year after year, and attendance at CLE programming is steady, consideration of these factors recently propelled bar leadership into a discussion on how the bar can continue to deliver unparalleled value to Indianapolis practitioners. Out of this discussion came a pilot program to test the waters of bundling section membership and continuing legal education.

The pilot program, which will be tested in 2013 with four IndyBar sections—the Appellate Practice Section, the Family Law Section, the Government Practice Section and the Real Estate and Land Use Section, will call for a small increase in section dues, which will in turn allow section members to attend all one-hour brownbag programming presented by the section at no cost. The participating sections have committed to presenting a minimum of four one-hour programs in 2013.

Through this pilot program, the IndyBar hopes to help members:

Save money. While section dues will increase by a small amount, members of participating sections will see savings of at least $100 per year versus paying per credit hour for each section program.

Save time. No more pulling out a credit card to pay for individual programs or submitting individual invoices for payment.

Invest their money in what matters. Members can pay one lump sum for their section affiliation, providing identity for their practice area and CLE that is meaningful and relevant.

“This is an effort aimed at enhancing member value, providing more reasons to attend the IndyBar’s popular one-hour CLEs, and increasing the flow of substantive legal information through our sections,” says IndyBar President Scott Chinn. “It is also part of the IndyBar’s multi-phase communications plan to diversify the ways we communicate substantive information to our members.”

By bundling CLE programs with section membership, section leadership will also be empowered to take an active role in achieving section member engagement and involvement. Rather than viewing planning and presentation of CLE programming as an expected function, section leadership will be asked to consider how their programming is serving their members, in addition to considering additional member benefits that could arise out of CLE programming, like resources or articles that relate to a seminar topic.

“Over the past several years, our section has generally made it a point to present six one-hour CLEs on an annual basis. Since one hour CLE is one of the focuses of the pilot project, we thought it was a great way to incorporate what we were already doing with our continued effort to provide more value to our section members,” says Eric Engebretson, current chair of the IndyBar Family Law Section. “We believe that the low cost CLE offered via the pilot program, coupled with the various other events we offer for free to our members throughout the year, make membership in the Family Law Section a great value and benefit to our members.”

Bar leadership recognizes that this change brings with it numerous challenges and opportunities, which resulted in the decision to test the program with just a small portion of the bar in the upcoming year. The results of the pilot program will be closely monitored throughout the year, and careful consideration will be given at the conclusion of the pilot program to determine whether it will be expanded to all IndyBar sections in subsequent years.•

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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