• Trial advocacy training materials

    • Legal professional development

Savings Shopper

Working with a shoe string CPD budget? Don’t fret. A booming CPD market, combined with lots of discount opportunities, is making it easier than ever to stay within budget. Here are five suggestions for how to save:

1. Early-bird pricing – These discounts are usually in the range of 10 to 15% off the regular registration fee. Providers use them to reward early registrants so they can have peace of mind about audience size.

2. Group discounts – These discounts are sometimes offered as percentages, but the best buys are the 4 for the price of 3 type deals. Providers use these to expand their audience base and help fill seats. They are often unadvertised.

3. New lawyer/student/paralegal discounts – These discounts can be quite significant – up to hundreds of dollars. The rationale is simple – you’re starting out or you’re support staff, therefore you probably have less funds available so you shouldn’t have to pay as much as established lawyers.

4. Distance discounts – Like the new lawyer discount, these savings can be significant, for example, equal the cost of a flight or few hundred kilometers’ mileage. Again like the new lawyer promo, these discounts are situational. Travel adds to the cost of attending a program, so if the only way you can get there is to increase your cost, the provider tries to level the playing field for you.

5. Member discounts – These are special pricing offered as an exclusive member benefit and usually represent savings in the 10 to 15% range, compared to the non-member rate. Although associations position these as an incentive to become a member, make sure it isn’t your only reason you join an association. The cost of membership may not be worth the program savings.

And my favourite suggestion (other than free CLE which I intend to write more about in future posts), is to call and ask for a discount. Plead your case. It’s the rare provider who won’t say yes. And ignore the private/not-for-profit bunk. Ironically, you’re more likely to be successful with private providers who don’t have to ask 10 other people what to do. Now go get those deals.


The Ultimate CLE Roadshow

Last month I had the pleasure of seeing two of today’s greatest CLE presenters not one but two times. For the third year in a row, Larry Pozner and Roger Dodd brought their larger than life Advanced Cross-Examination Techniques program to Canadian lawyers in three provinces.

At the risk of sounding like a groupie (I’ve heard people ask where to buy t-shirts), every time I see Pozner and Dodd perform I’m blown away by their ability to win over audiences. They are more than professional lecturers, they are first-class entertainers, and they belong, in my humble view, among the likes of Jim McElhaney, and Irving Younger before him.  As Carmine Gallo writes about Steve Jobs in The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, they “transform… the typical, dull, technical, plodding slideshow into a theatrical event.”

How do they do it? Someday, maybe I’ll ask them. I have a sneaking suspicion their answer will be preparation. In the interim, these are my own observations:

  • they make an effort to know and engage with their audience
  • they set audience expectations
  • they are passionate about their topic
  • they don’t just tell, they show
  • they speak without notes
  • they use simple language
  • they share personal stories
  • they are animated
  • they know their presentation cold
  • they don’t leave logistics to chance, and
  • they make people laugh.

All of that, of course, is in addition to the fact that their content is excellent. They did, after all, write the bible on Cross-examination. If you haven’t seen Pozner and Dodd in person yet, I highly recommend it. As the marketing copy says “your only regret will be that you didn’t see them sooner.” You can get information about Canadian dates at www.seminarpartners.ca.

Those Tricky LinkedIn Endorsements

LinkedIn endorsements trouble me.

The first time I received a notice that “X has endorsed you for..” I thought “what the hell is that?”. I actually received two in as many days and it freaked it me out so much that I contacted both people to ask how it happened that they endorsed me. I was mortified to think that they might think that I was asking them to endorse me. One seemed to understand that it was some kind of automatically generated thing that just happened with LinkedIn, however the other person, did, in fact, think it was a request I had sent them. I felt powerless, confused. I even sent LinkedIn an email questioning the practice, in response to which I received some standard, unhelpful reply.

All of that was some time ago now and, although I only rarely actually log-in to LinkedIn these days, it would appear that endorsements, for better or worse, have become common-place. An article last month in the ABA Journal reignited my train wreck-like attraction to the topic by asking “do LinkedIn endorsements violate legal ethics rules?” The article, together with some poll results about whether lawyers hide their endorsements on LinkedIn taught me some things I didn’t know about Linked In and also offered the following closing advice for lawyers: remove endorsements you believe are false or misleading.

Hmmm… one more thing for my summer to do list. And I smell a CLE topic.

Novel (or should I say “graphic novel”?) CLE

As the mother of a die-hard comic book fan, I couldn’t resist a quick post on a fascinating four-part series presented by Thomson West, from Law and the Multiverse.

The online, on-demand CLE series, eligible for credit in many US states and some Canadian provinces, includes:  Whammo! What Superheroes and Comic Books Can Teach Us About Constitutional Law; Kablam! Real-Life Superheroes in the World of Criminal Law; Everyday Ethics from Superhero Attorneys; and Kapow! What Superheroes and Comic Books Can Teach Us About Torts.

Law and the Multiverse is a blog which addresses, in the words of its authors, “the hypothetical legal ramifications of comic book tropes, characters, and powers.” Having spent a lot of time in comic book stores and seen first-hand the commitment of comic book enthusiasts, it’s cool to see lawyers James Daily and Ryan Davidson openly loving the genre and connecting it to their professional passions. Daily and Davidson are also the authors of The Law of Superheroes, a new book inspired by Law and the Multiverse, and published by Gotham Books, a division of Penguin.

But take note – at $175 US per program for the on-demand series, fees are approaching vintage buy back prices. You can often find a coupon or discount code for Law and the Multiverse programs presented by Thomson West, on the Law and the Multiverse site .