This afternoon, I am sitting in a room hoping for some new ideas on marketing our CLE programs. I remember when I first came to the MCBA 13 years ago, everything was videotaped with an old camera perched on top of an even older tripod. The tripod was awkwardly positioned in the room, and my biggest fear in those early days is that if it came down on top of someone, we would then have a liability issue.
However, good progress has been made over the years, and for many years now, we have had the camera securely attached to the wall at the back of the room and operated by Louise Spinelli, our CLE Program Manager, from the side of the room.
In those early days, we were also one of the few CLE providers in the city. But now, many of the large and mid-size firms are CLE certified, as are the civil and criminal legal service offices in town. Add to that is the fact that online CLE has been born, and attorneys are able to find CLE wherever they turn, on whatever topic they prefer. They have plenty of options for free, not so free (but cheaper), and for a price.
All that being said, the MCBA continues to be a significant CLE provider in New York State. And from the many surveys we have conducted over the years you have told us that you appreciate the following:
1. The local speakers — you appreciate learning from your local colleauges
2. The location — you appreciate the convenience of The Rubin Center for Education at the Telesca Center for Justice with all of the new technology and furniture making the room more user friendly.
3. The networking opportunity — you appreciate the chance to come to the MCBA to meet your friends and colleagues over a “free lunch” while securing your CLE credit.
In the meantime, CLE is now available 24/7 online, and we are well-positioned to meet that need through our relationships with Thomson Reuters and Peach New Media. Check out the many, many options available to you. And of course, if you still prefer popping a DVD into your TV on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or a CD in your car while you make a long drive, we can accommodate that need as well.
So what is next for CLE and for the MCBA? I think we are in the process of figuring that out. We are interested in working with our local law firms, other key collaborative partners, and other interested groups that want the opportunity to work with the MCBA.
I would like to see us explore other learning modalities. I am a big fan of the “Ted Talk” model, and have enjoyed many Ted lectures since it launched. Not necessarily for CLE, but simply for personal and professional development. We have our ever popular Speakers Forums that everyone always enjoys as well.
What else is out there? How do you like to learn? And how can we help?