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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.