As we move toward the end of the year, or as in Texas, the end of a lawyer’s birthday month, there becomes a mad scramble for completing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses. Has CLE become more about checking the box than about enhancing/maintaining a lawyer’s skill? Why is it that CLE credits are based on time, rather than knowledge? Is there a better way? Our guests this week certainly think so.
Ian Nelson, co-founder of Hotshot, a company whose business model is based on short instructional videos, originally without CLE… is now offering CLE credit with some of their packaged videos. This is a crack in the foundation of the traditional CLE model, and one that Sarah Glassmeyer, Legal Tech Curator · Reynen Court Inc. and Margaret Naughton, CLE Manager · McDermott Will & Emery hope continues. Margaret did point out that not all CLE is boring, especially if you can kayak and learn.
Join us for a roundtable discussion on the potential for the next generation of CLE where the focus is more on true education, learning, and skills. Perhaps we can look outside the United States at places like the UK, Canada, Australia, and others where there is more focus on an educational plan than there is on the rigid structure of sitting in a seat and listening to a “sage on the stage” talking for 30 or 60 minutes.
Jessica Gore, 3L at University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law has an attitude of “if nobody else will do it, allow me”… And she proved that by producing a better design for understanding the Federal Rules of Evidence. She joins us, ironically on the same day as her Evidence mid-term, to talk about how she knew she could design a much better rules book than what was on the market. Her method of using Twitter to gather feedback and improve upon the prototype is exactly what we discussed in last week’s episode, so she is definitely our inspiration this week. Check out Jessica’s IP Illustrated tools website as well.
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Marlene Gebauer 0:16
Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer,
Greg Lambert 0:23
And I’m Greg Lambert.
Marlene Gebauer 0:24
We brought back Ian Nelson the co-founder of Hotshot to talk about some changes in MCLE states about the approval of continuing legal education programs. We thought we make it into a somewhat of a roundtable discussion. So we brought along Sarah Glassmeyer from Reynen Court, and Margaret Naughton, CLE Manager and McDermott Will and Emery to bounce some ideas on what CLE should look like, and about some of the major obstacles we struggle with today.
Greg Lambert 0:49
So Marlene, normally, we try to hide all of our technical difficulties that we have in the magic of post editing. But man did I have some serious technical difficulties during this interview. So I am really glad and thankful that you’re ready to step in and take over most of this interview. So thank thanks for covering me on this one.
Marlene Gebauer 1:13
Yeah, no problem. That was that was pretty, pretty terrible. Really
Greg Lambert 1:17
Very frustrating, very frustrating. So we’ll stick around for that. But let’s get to a special presentation of this week’s information inspirations.
Greg Lambert 1:32
So I ran across a really neat Twitter thread last week, and it made me go out and buy this book that and then ask the author of the book to come in. So Jessica Gore is a three l at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. Jessica, you wrote this Federal Rules of Evidence, the 2021 edition. And as you put it, it is designed for lawyers in in 2021, not 1921. So what inspired you, first of all, welcome. And second, what inspired you to write this less than 60-page Rules of Evidence book?
Jessica Gore 2:10
Yeah. Well, first of all, thank you for having me. That was awesome. My first official podcast,
Greg Lambert 2:15
I’m sure it won’t be the last
Jessica Gore 2:16
This is exciting. I know. This is awesome. For starters, I did not write the book of the Federal Rules of Evidence, it’s more of a just a moderately edited version of the Federal Rules, just want to make that clear. But the Why is pretty interesting, before law school, and just so most of you guys know, I’m quite non traditional student, my mid 30s. I have a three year old, I have had several jobs. My bachelor’s is in music technology, I was a game sound designer for video games for a long time. And then I switched to marketing, branding, design, which has always kind of been a really big thread in my life since since high school, really, the and then I went to law school. So obviously trademarks found me. I noticed from day one, I mean, even through the application process, that design is not really a priority for a lot of people in the legal profession. I come from the field where it’s my job to make people look good. And to make information be well read by people, or easily read, you know, the foundations of marketing is, can they tell what you’re selling and like one sentence or one picture or one logo? It’s frustrating, honestly, you know, when you get these books, and you’re like, What are you saying? What are you trying to say here? So that’s the kind of stuff that instantly I noticed, was combative, to my background. And it was I knew there was area for improvement, but I just didn’t know how. You know, the further I went in and got more into design and trademarks, actually took art law and my one and only large official paper and in law school was on fonts, naturally. So that’s kind of why I mean, that’s what inspired me nothing was out there that I wanted, personally as a student.
Greg Lambert 4:01
So what is it about this book then in the way that you’ve set it up, that makes this version of the Federal Rules of Evidence unique and as you say, in tune with how people digest information today?
Jessica Gore 4:15
It’s funny because it’s not even to me it’s not rocket science. But you know, I did you know, you notice I tossed it out there and everybody was like, Oh my gosh, somebody finally did it. You know, it’s just small things, right? It’s just not you know, using a sans serif font, you know, very modern fonts that are easier on the eyes. You know, as law students and lawyers and legal professionals, professors. Were just constantly, constantly looking at dense content. And that was my the one goal because I’m in Evidence this semester. I don’t even know if I’ve made that obvious but yeah, I actually have an evidence midterm due tonight. My professors are listening, I wrote you a book. So it’s so easy to make this better. So modern fonts, spacing of the words is really important. There’s really Small changes you can make and design or decisions in design that you can make that affect how people digest information. But they’re kind of subconscious. Spacing between the paragraphs between the, between the words, text, this in bold, the indentation of the outlines, it sounds very meticulous, but it is. And as designers, we noticed these things. But somebody that’s not familiar with that is just gonna say, Oh, my gosh, this looks so good. This is so much easy to read, but they can’t really articulate why,
Greg Lambert 5:28
Yeah. So how’s the reaction been?
Jessica Gore 5:32
Like I said, I’m here on your podcast. It’s actually been awesome. It’s been really cool. You know, recently, in the beginning of the summer, I launched a kind of a similar ish thing called IP illustrated. And that was also a result of frustration of the lack of just modern legal tools online.
Greg Lambert 5:52
Well, let me ask you this. I found it really interesting. The fact that you know, here you are a law student taking a class that you found something that was frustrating that you knew you could do a better job, and then what was on on the market right now. So you’ve got a platform here, if there are other people listening, and they know they’ve got kind of the same itch that they see something that’s broken, they want to fix it? What’s your advice to tell these law students or lawyers? How to attack that?
Jessica Gore 6:23
Yeah, I love this question, by the way, and I probably wrote the most notes on it. I love giving back. I’ve had some awesome mentors in my life. And I take every opportunity I can to tell people about stuff like this. So the biggest thing is, if you are bothered by something, even if it’s outside the legal industry, if you’re bothered by something, chances are somebody else’s, too. And the easiest way these days is to just ask people, and you know, obviously Twitter is a great platform for that to say, like, Hey, what do you guys need, I’m currently working on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the same format as this because I know that that’s needed even more than this based on based on feedback. And the thing about the internet, I think that’s cool now, too, is that you don’t even have to do a whole project, you can just do like a sample and throw it out there and see if people like it. I think perfectionism holds a lot of people back from trying things. And you don’t have to be perfect. And people understand they get it.
Greg Lambert 7:23
Our guest last week, kind of said the same thing with the especially in the legal field. We don’t like to prototype things, we’d like to put something out perfect. And I think you just you’ve just hit it on the head that then you can put samples out there, you can prototype something. And the reason you do that is so you can get that feedback without investing so much time in something that people really don’t want.
Jessica Gore 7:47
So yeah, exactly
Greg Lambert 7:48
So, way to put it into practice.
Jessica Gore 7:50
So yeah. And then you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. Are you burnout, yeah, just be passionate about what you do. And I think people people feel that they they see that, and they get excited about it.
Greg Lambert 8:01
So I’m pretty sure, Jessica that everyone’s listening to this can feel your passion behind this project as well. So well, I want to I want to thank you for taking a few minutes to talk with us about this. You got the Federal Rules of Evidence 2021 edition. It’s I know I ordered mine on Amazon. I’ll put some links out on the show notes as well. So Jessica Gore, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us.
Jessica Gore 8:26
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Marlene Gebauer 8:29
CLE’s are known for being boring, rigid, and last minute for most participants. We thought we’d bring in three forward thinking colleagues to talk about what they’d like to see in the next generation of CLE courses.
Marlene Gebauer 8:45
We’d like to welcome Margaret Naughton CLE manager from McDermott Will and Emery Sarah Glassmeyer, legal tech curator at Reynen Court Inc. and Ian Nelson, co founder at Hotshot to The Geek in Review. Welcome, everybody.
Ian Nelson 8:57
Thanks. Great to be here.
Greg Lambert 8:59
So we had Ian on the show before but we’re going to be talking with him and the others about some developments there that Ian had at Hotshot. And we thought we’d bring in Sarah and Margaret as well to kind of have this roundtable conversation on CLE in general and what what we really need to be doing going forward in the CLE world. So I guess the first question Ian is, can you tell us a little bit about what hotshot has been doing to kind of morph some of the CLE practices?
Ian Nelson 9:33
Yeah, of course. And just a quick thanks to you all, for being on this podcast and talking about the issue. I think it’s a really interesting and important issue and exciting time to be talking about it. So thank you, everyone for being part of this. So it Hotshot we have had some developments recently in the world of CLE. And it’s been interesting reception we launched CLE a few weeks ago and to explain that I suppose it’s worth just a half step back as to what we’re all about, which is really short, very practical videos on a host of various legal business and tech topics. And when we started Hotshot, really, we were not going after the CLE space, we wanted to make content that was just really designed for learning for associates and students and lawyers, and we didn’t want to be constrained by CLE rules. We want things to be as short as possible, which unfortunately, wasn’t really designed to be CLE. Rules. Yeah.
Greg Lambert 10:32
Succinct and CLE are not in the same category.
Marlene Gebauer 10:37
Margaret Naughton 10:39
Ian Nelson 10:40
No. So over the years, we got to the point where we have about 250 of these short videos now. And the reception has been great. But of course, lawyers need their CLE and law firms have been asking over the years, when can you do CLE? If only you can do CLE? The lawyers love the content, but CLE would be good. Yeah. And we say yes, CLE would be good, but we really can’t, because we want to keep the essence of the videos make them really short. We launched something just a couple weeks ago, where we were able to put together collections of short videos on particular topics that people could watch whenever they want, and once they hit an hour, they’ll get their credit. We really think it’s the best of both worlds. It’s very short videos designed for learning that also now have CLE if you were to watch all the videos in a particular track, so that’s how we’re able to manage the CLE it’s not as though one 10 minute video on its own gives you credit period full stop.
Marlene Gebauer 11:35
Which is too bad but
Margaret Naughton 11:37
That’s very intersting.
Marlene Gebauer 11:38
And I understand Ian that you can kind of mix and match to you don’t have to have an on a specific track. Is that right?
Ian Nelson 11:45
The CLE tracks from Hotshot do cover discrete topics. So it’s attract might be on litigation, or track is on M&A or tracking is on accounting for lawyers. So within a track, things are related. So at this moment in time, it’s not as though to answer your question, you could take one from one video from M&A and one from bankruptcy a month from accounting and make your own hour long. We did organize things. So they’re curated playlists, if you will, that qualify for credit. And we have credit in almost all MCLE states, we’re just waiting on a handful of some states is still a brand new feature.
Marlene Gebauer 12:19
And you’ll customize to for different firms. Is that right?
Ian Nelson 12:23
Yeah, some firms have asked for special learning tracks. So we’ll work with various firms that say, well, we would like to track for first years that cover XYZ in corporate or in litigation, or we want an accounting bootcamp track. So we are doing those custom tracks for firms, some not even with CLE really, there might be summer associate tracks or tracks for law schools out of the world of CLE. So it’s still what’s great about it, it’s still designed for the, to the learning that people need, rather than just for the CLE, the CLE is is an extra side benefit now. So the sort of marketing sort of smart ass marketing line is short videos made for learning not CLE. Now with CLE.
Greg Lambert 13:04
Now with CLE!
Ian Nelson 13:05
That’s how we present it to the market. Yeah.
Marlene Gebauer 13:07
Well, cuz I mean, that’s that’s been a problem, I guess for a long time, I guess with what CLE is that people take it because they have to, not because they’re actually learning anything from it. You know, we all joke that with towards the end of the of the year, when you know, your license is up, you take anything, it doesn’t even matter what it is, as long as it has points to it.
Greg Lambert 13:30
Yeah, in Texas, we have communications with attorneys that we haven’t had all year at the end of their birthday month, because that’s how you do it here. And so we can always tell when when somebody has just celebrated a birthday because they start asking us where all the CLE credit is.
Ian Nelson 13:46
Exactly. But you think about now especially people record remotely, these associates need to learn things on the job very quickly, right? An associate might be asked to due diligence or draft an interrogatory. And they have to learn how to do that. So it just seems natural, they should get credit for that and not have two mindsets. Like Where can I get my credit? Where can I learn what I need to do to do my job? They’re not always one of the same. Sometimes they are, but not always. So we’re trying to marry the two.
Greg Lambert 14:11
And, Sarah, I’ll bring you in on this. Having worked previously in places like the ABA, where you’ve had to deal with setting up classes for CLE getting accreditation, I guess, in a way even kind of looking looking at the rules. Are we at a point now, probably thanks to things like the pandemic where the industry is looking to a different way of producing education for continuing legal education?
Sarah Glassmeyer 14:42
I really. I hope so. I mean, because that’s the thing. It’s what you asked me to be on this program. I thought oh CLE that’s a pretty simple topic. Very nice, very smooth, very no controversy there whatsoever. Then I woke up for about five minutes and I was like, Oh no, this is terrible. So many things I hate about this subject. Yeah, so that’s a thing like my path towards realizing that CLE was kind of a broken system was back in like 2008, 2009. When I was a baby librarian, I got contracted to do a CLE for things like MBI or something like that, like you got to go to a hotel conference room and Lobel for two days. So it was very exciting. But that was a thing like I, you, I submitted my program, I submitted my outline my slides, everything is great. And then I did it and I was hyped up on coffee. And so I took 45 minutes instead of 50. And so then like, the next day, I got this email from the organizer saying like, oh, we’re in trouble now because you didn’t go the full hour. I was like, I but it’s the same content like it’s everything was there is just I was hyper and I spoke really fast. And there was a note and I was like to like write something certified yet. So I was like, This is so dumb. But yeah, and I think because, you know, again, like also, when I saw this topic, you I thought about for more than five minutes, I realized, oh, are we talking about CLE? Are we talking about like the skills that lawyers actually need to learn to continue and others in the legal profession to continue to excel and deal with the changing landscape of law? Because you I
Greg Lambert 16:09
Wait, wait, you’re saying those aren’t the same thing?
Sarah Glassmeyer 16:11
I know. We can merge them. And I think even you know, this year, one of the things is ABA model rule 1.1, 8, which most states have adopted now, which includes as part of being competent, and which no one ever says exactly, it outlines exactly what you have to do to be quote unquote, competent, you have to have technological competence. And that’s the thing like not, oh, I’m gonna say like eight or 10 states have included I haven’t looked at this for a year now. But not every state even like includes a technological competency as part of the requirements. But you know, just the variation, we don’t know what it means to be competent. We don’t know what classes you need to do it. That’s the thing, like CLE just ends up being, oh, my God, it’s December, and I need to get my professional responsibility, what hour and I need to also get 12 other credit hours. So I’m just gonna take real estate law that sounds exciting. And it’s free. That’s it my firm, lunch room.
Marlene Gebauer 17:04
I the right place in the right timeframe. It’s like, yeah, let’s Yeah,
Sarah Glassmeyer 17:07
But yeah, I’m thinking now that we can’t really do in person things. And that we’ve proven that the technology is there that you can do either on demand, or even just a virtual, you know, login and do things, I would love to see more, especially when you’re doing things like technology skills, which, you know, there’s knowledge we can get with sage on the stage, listening to hour presentation, and slides. But like so many things you need to have hands on, like, actually do this, like, push this button on your computer, and you’ll get the skill, learn how to do this activity, you’re going to have to have more interactive, more digital delivery of educational content. I’m an institutionalist, that deep down. And so I love what you do I understand we have to have some way of us certified or understanding what people are doing to continue their education. But the way we do it currently is broken. And if there’s a way we can figure out how to ensure that people are continuing their education are gaining new skills to deal with the rapidly changing world. That would be wonderful.
Greg Lambert 18:06
Yeah, well, I’m gonna put you on the spot real quick, Sarah and just say, if you had to pick like one thing that you would start with the fix, what would you do?
Sarah Glassmeyer 18:19
I would go with different delivery methods. And as far as not requiring it be our based on hours in the chair, you know, somehow certified competence in any other measurement, but hours.
Marlene Gebauer 18:34
Why do firms have such a fascination with hours? Like it has to be hours, so hours of CLE hours of billable time? What is it about hours?
Sarah Glassmeyer 18:42
And it’s such a weird measurement that because everyone is so different and variations of speed, you know? And like when you first do a contract, you know, it takes you how so many hours to do it, but like you get faster and faster, faster. But you know, it’s Yeah, it’s the worst metric in the world to measure anything. And we’re tied to it.
Greg Lambert 19:02
I would say especially with with educational material. Sorry, is it me that slow?
Marlene Gebauer 19:09
Alrighty. Let’s see. Let’s see, see frozen, frozen. Oh, he’s gone. He’s gone. Alright, well, let me ask if I was gonna ask Margaret, a question to what, what, what we were talking about a little bit early. So, you know, Margaret, what do you think about this new type of model that Ian is talking about where they’re sort of bite sized, you know, maybe more adult learning compatible types of format that, you know, really addresses competencies. I mean, you know, how, how, as a CLE professional and you know, a big law firm, you know, how do you think that’s, that’s gonna help?
Margaret Naughton 19:50
Me I think it’s really interesting what Ian and Hotshot are doing. Certainly, when I first heard that they were offering CLEs, I was thinking of you know, they have their 10-15 minutes snippets? How on earth are they getting this accredited? And tell me because I’m jealous, I want to figure out, you know, how can I make that work because so many times it has to be minimum half hour just to get a half hour credit. So the idea of taking these snippets that focus perhaps on a specific competency and building it into an hour program, I think it’s going to be really interesting and beneficial to associates, if they’re able to have these mini curriculums, it seems like to be able to talk about the basics of a deal through going through the deal. I mean, I think it just is, there’s a lot of different ways that they can be able to start with the basics, and lead up to something more advanced within an hour. I think that’s going to be something that definitely resonates with a lot of associates, and even more experienced attorneys looking to get a refresher, I think there’s still a drive where people would love to have something that’s a little bit more in line with adult learning today, which is, you know, having those short bursts of learning, you know, it’s just the world of CLE is not there, as we were discussing, it’s still very much time based. And from what I’ve heard, that’s not going to be changing anytime soon, unfortunately.
Marlene Gebauer 21:14
I’m wondering if you can kind of weave something like this into, like internal core competency requirements, you know, and make this sort of this is this is part of the education plan for and professional development plan, you know, for newer attorneys, if that’s a potential solution.
Margaret Naughton 21:33
Yeah, I certainly think that there’s a potential there, and the ability to take, as you said, some of these nuts and bolts type topics, and provide them in snippets that, you know, I can, you know, focus on this, that first digest that come back later, after I’ve gotten to possibly practice that a little bit. And then, you know, over the course of, you know, starting and stopping, you eventually get the hour of credit. Because again, the nice thing too is you don’t have to sit there in the one hour start to finish, you can take breaks and stop and restart, which I think would also really help if you’re focused on a specific document or memorandum or something, and you want to be able to focus on what is it about this that I need to really know and learn, Practice it and then come back and say, okay, like that was only 10 minutes, I’d have to rewatch a 60 minute program to see if I got that right. Or if I was understanding that correctly, I can rewatch this 10 minute portion, and then continue on to the next level. So I think that’s really interesting. I think there’s a lot that can be done with that. I think it opens more doors than people may realize.
Marlene Gebauer 22:39
Well, we’ve had Cat Moon and Alyson Carrel, on who talk a lot about the the Delta Model Lawyer and you know, it seems to me and you know, Ian I’ll throw this to you that this, this could be a good delivery model for the type of instruction that they might need with CLE built in, you know, you can tell us sort of what you’re offering. You mentioned a couple of the tracks. But do you have things on the business of law? Do you have things on technology in the law? Or is it more just legal application?
Ian Nelson 23:12
Yeah, it’s a bit of all of that, really. And just to go back to something Margaret said, that’s the use case we’re seeing play out now. Exactly. Right. So so we’re working now with a whole bunch of firms on their fall onboarding, and building these CLE tracks into their junior associate onboarding programs. And the other cool thing too, is as more firms are embracing the blended learning flipped classroom model as a way to make trainings more engaging. They’re using these short bite sized videos as the pre work for the flipped classrooms, but watching the videos will get them credit for CLE. So it’s all these multipurpose uses now that we’re seeing and whether it’s a Hotshot video or not, right, I mean, there’s just so many great things out there that could be used in these in these new ways. But yes, on the content question, we are covering we’ve really expanded so now we have things on accounting and finance for lawyers and how to use Excel and data analysis and to do valuation models in Excel in addition to all the the practice area stuff, so we’re starting to get out there in terms of breadth and depth of the content.
Marlene Gebauer 24:15
So Sarah, I’m not to take away from what Ian has done, but but there are certainly other resources out there that sort of have a different model in terms of of learning. Can you tell us a little bit about those?
Sarah Glassmeyer 24:28
Yeah, one that I think this is also you, Casey Flaherty, and I think he still was partnered with our Darth Vaughn that might be something we might need to double check fact check that he started Procertas Legal so he would he was at KIA General Counsel. He tested his outside counsel for basic skills and like Word and Excel and found that lawyer is gonna do it. He’s like, I’m not paying for you guys figure out how to use Excel. And so he started this company to do training on basic office technology, which We don’t teach in law schools. But it’s something that you use every day. And it’s an interactive tool. So it’s not as you watch a video or listen to a lecture, it’s that you really download the software and you are in native Word. And you’re going back forth and trying to figure out how to do these various skills. It’s hands on training. Another one, I really was surprised by how good it was. with LinkedIn learning. It was, this is for the librarians out there. It was LYNDA, l y n d a dot com, which a lot of public libraries had
Marlene Gebauer 25:31
LYNDA, oh my gosh, I forgot. I haven’t heard that in forever
Sarah Glassmeyer 25:36
Yeah. And so it was purchased by I can’t remember if it was purchased by Microsoft. And then when LinkedIn became part of Microsoft, it came net or
Ian Nelson 25:43
Sarah Glassmeyer 25:44
directly. So they have a ton of your basic kind of office skills, as far as again, the word the Excel, the how to do basic HTML, but they have really expanded as far as your things that I really think lawyers could use as far as like, what is artificial intelligence? How do search engines work? What is blockchain? You know, because these basic things that we kind of hear about, especially if you are now like trying to find legal technology that it’s not directly made for like, this is artificial intelligence for lawyers. But it’s applicable very much. So like when you are pitched a product that says, Oh, we use artificial intelligence to do this. You understand? Are they talking natural language processing? They’re talking machine learning? Is it really, you know, what do they mean when they say that? And that was the thing when I taught law schools, it was Do we have the less are the Lexis representatives coming to teach it? Or should we teach like basic things as far as that this is how a search engine work. And this is how you search a digital corpus of your law or whatever. So it’s that kind of thing, where it’s, it’s not necessarily specifically this is how you use this product. It’s the underlying skill set that you can get and then apply to other things. And hopefully, when your product changes the interface, you’re not completely lost because you’ve got the underlying skills understood. So yeah, Procertas and LinkedIn Learning or two, I really, really like a little bit more Kevin illegal Innovation Zone, Bucerius Law School, which is out of Germany, but I know, uhm Professor Dan Katz, out of Chicago Kent is one of the professor’s there. But they after COVID, they start offering it for free. You know, it was a, everyone can log in and just kind of learn basic it was it was more of a course, you know, so it wasn’t just a one hour commitment. It was two or three hours a week for a couple weeks. But yeah, it was it’s more in depth learning. And it’s more of gaining skills and knowledge. But those are like, especially Procertas, and LinkedIn Learning are the ones I really, really like, as far as I was very surprised at how good they were, as far as gaining skills, not just sitting there watching a video.
Marlene Gebauer 27:51
Yeah, I know, all three of you have experience with, you know, either, you know, organizing conference programs, or developing a product or managing accreditation, you’ve all touched on this sort of accreditation piece. When you’re looking at that, what types of hurdles, you know, have you had to overcome with these MCLE. boards, and Ian I guess I’ll start with you.
Ian Nelson 28:20
They haven’t been hurdles that have blocked us from anything, I suppose. But it’s just configuring everything in the right way. So that we do get the credit that we want to be able to offer the lawyers. So what we had to do was take our course materials that we have on a video by video basis, and put them together and collate them for the whole track, for example, so that an hour has 20 or 30 pages, or whatever it has to have, as well as the proper interactive features, right? The interactive thing, it’s not that high a hurdle, right? If you think of a traditional, traditional format, which is just wait for the code to pop up, and then write it down to prove that you were there. Our videos have quizzes to actually show that you learn something along the way. And we have some other interactive elements. And interestingly enough, the quizzes are optional. That’s not a requirement for the CLE rules. But since we have so many short videos, just clicking the act of clicking to the next videos, was able to be interactive enough because you can’t get through the hour without being there and clicking to next next, next next. So we added an optional videos, but it’s not an actual requirement. That was really the basics of it and and the time, right, we had to make sure that we had at least an hour, depending on the jurisdiction.
Marlene Gebauer 29:34
Now, Margaret, I mean, I know that you mentioned that in another life. You managed accreditation at the ABA. What have you found like what are the sticking points really, in terms of accreditation, and getting programs through?
Margaret Naughton 29:49
Yeah, I kind of like what Ian said is it’s not so much hurdles. So I think the most the biggest hurdle would be the fact that there’s no single definition for what qualifies as CLE, so you have to take stock of where you want to seek accreditation and create your own baseline standards to determine based on these states and these requirements that they have for interactivity and written materials and time minimums or if there are 50 or 60 minutes state, what are the baseline requirements in order for a program to potentially get approved for credit? And once you can start training your attorneys and staff and colleagues to know like, make sure that your program is you know, the targeted audiences, attorneys and increasing attorney competency and written materials can be used as a resource for later use, not just, you know, a skeleton outline. Once you have that, in place, there’s a lot of different ways that you can look at accrediting some really interesting programs. You know, one that we did before we work together, Marlene was a harassment training for lawyers in Illinois. And that’s not something that we necessarily thought we’d be able to get accredited. But we thought, we have everything that we need in order to at least try and kind of like what Ian did and said, you know, here are all the pieces of the puzzle, we just have to put them in the right order. And we have to be able to show the picture. And once the state was able to say like, Yeah, no, that is that is learning that is going to improve competency. They were totally on board with that. The other thing that I really encourage everyone to do is, you know, build the relationships with our have conversations, to say this is what we’re thinking of doing. What what piece of the puzzle, am I missing? Or what is it that I’m not, you know, maybe understanding or what is it that can potentially cover a lot of different bases for a lot of different states? For me, the biggest hurdle, again, is the fact that you have 46 different states with 46 different requirements. And every single one of them has a different mechanism for accreditation. So really determine where you want to get credit, and you know, create a baseline standard for your shop.
Marlene Gebauer 32:05
Yeah, so I’ll follow up with Sarah about that part about again, if you’re trying to get a program developed for accreditation in multiple states. You know, with everybody having different requirements, I mean, do you? Do you sort of go to the the most restrictive, go for that? Or do you take some other sort of tact?
Sarah Glassmeyer 32:24
My experience was we kind of just went through the ABA central office, and they then sent it out to everyone, which was nice. But also, you know, for me, it wasn’t like content as being a problem. For me, it was again, due to the physical facilities that I had, like the biggest issues. And the one thing I particularly remember, you know, we were having a, it was a conference session, and we had the room set up odditorium style. You know with the chairs, and then we had to change it. So everyone had a table and we had to give everyone a pad of paper. So they could take notes. And it’s required before they would consider for CLE. I was like well this. This is maybe not the best use of time, but okay. But now people have their pad of paper. And so. But yeah, I mean, it’s like for me, it’s always been like nitpicky stuff like that, that drives me crazy. Like I can understand content, but you want to say like, maybe we don’t feel like this is necessary for our state.
Margaret Naughton 33:23
But yeah, the written surface requirement is one of quite a few that you have to stop and think What year are we in?
Marlene Gebauer 33:33
Here’s the other one I’ll throw out there. And you know, I’m sure I’ll get some flames over this, but about requiring attorneys to have to teach the class. You know, why, why? Why do we still need that, particularly when we’re talking about things other than practicing law where you know, you may have people that are not attorneys, or non practicing attorneys, they might be the best to actually deliver the content.
Ian Nelson 34:02
Yeah, you know, when when you asked the question about hurdles, I thought I should probably say something about one hurdle being who’s creating the content, who’s best to create the content we had. Fortunately, when we were doing all of our accounting stuff, we did have lawyers involved. But at the end of the day, it’s not always a lawyer that should be teaching the basics of accounting and finance. Like we had investment bankers from places like Goldman Sachs, you know, helping us with courses on valuation. It seems a shame that that couldn’t qualify on its own unless a lawyer was involved. And then you go out into the heavy duty tech stuff and AI and things like that we’ve been discussing. It seems like it seems like a bit of a disconnect.
Margaret Naughton 34:41
Yeah. And when I’ve asked the question in the past as to, you know, why this requirement is in place in certain states, the general responses, then well, if any questions come up, that needs to be directly related back to the practice of law, that there is an actual lawyer that can speak to that. Whether or not that increases uses the benefits of that topic or you know, really helps answer the question. Who knows, I mean it, but that’s kind of the responses, you know, they want to make sure that a lawyer can speak to the legality of the topic.
Sarah Glassmeyer 35:15
Definitely box checking, like, that’s just all it is now. But I mean, I think it goes back to even law school, like where do we encourage this love of learning and in an idea that you’re continually improving yourself and in the law school experience, you know, there it’s just again, you tried to get black letter law and survive emotionally until you can take the bar exam and then it’s, at what point in time does any of that relax, relate to the practice of law where you would see like, Oh, this is a skill I need to do. Because again, like, depending on what area you are, it’s so much just churn, churn, churn and try to get through the day that you don’t have time to realize, Oh, this is something I could be doing better until unless you go to like a conference, like Clio or something. And someone say like, Hey, here’s this concept called process improvement. Or here’s this concept called design thinking. But like even that, you know, when do you have the time to then like, sit down and do it? I don’t think we do enough to encourage. And it’s a I think it’s a Cat Moon term, as you know, something about like, radical curiosity, that you just constantly want to think about how to improve yourself, how can I do this better? How can I? What should I be learning so that’s what you I kind of divide things up into like skills and knowledge, and then hands on things. And like, between all three, like maybe knowledge is something that we currently hit and CLE. But even then it’s not because I want to learn something new, where I think whatever I’m learning in the CLE is actually going to affect how I practice law or how it changed how I live my life. It’s a box check right now. And I think also like, that’s the thing like you where you have like these advertisements from bar associations or other CLE providers where it is like your December you in many jurisdictions, hey, do you have your hours in like, here’s a bunch of courses? Is it just like, it’s a wink? And a nod? Always that would no one actually cares about this. It’s always just like, just get your hours in and sign the paper and move on. And
Marlene Gebauer 37:09
here’s the ethics. Here’s the ethics.
Sarah Glassmeyer 37:15
Like in like in California, you can go to traffic court and also do like a chocolate tasting never even like thought about doing that in law. Like
Marlene Gebauer 37:23
Is that true?
Sarah Glassmeyer 37:24
Yeah. We’re on a traffic court classes and fun experiences you could do to get your points off your license, it’s,
Marlene Gebauer 37:32
We lost Greg. Greg or you there. Alright, so. So even when we talked earlier, I think you said that the new model you are rolling out, you actually, were you were influenced quite a bit from how they do things in the UK? Tell us a little bit about that.
Ian Nelson 37:53
Yeah, sure. And I’m certainly not an expert in the in the rules and systems there. So if I get something wrong, please, please forgive me. But I think I have the gist of it.
Ian Nelson 38:01
We’ll let you slide.
Ian Nelson 38:03
Yeah, please do. A few years ago, my partner Chris and I took a trip over to London and met with a whole bunch of firms, we learned a lot about their system over there. And their CPD system was very much like the CLE system in the States. And what happened was, I think they ended up dropping the current system they had because it was starting to be seen as more of a tick the box, it wasn’t accomplishing what it was set out to accomplish. Things like requirements weren’t tied to the actual practice area people are in and maybe the format of learning wasn’t quite up to date. So now what they have is, at the end of the year, the lawyers there have to certify self certify that that he or she has done what they needed to do over the course of the year to improve their practice for themselves for their clients, all that kind of thing. So when their own judgment that they seek out things that would help them as a lawyer in their practice for their clients, and anything counts. So a pro service quiz, for example, a Hotshot video, a two minute thing at the eight hour thing, learning about tech, whatever they think counts, counts, and that’s that it’s pretty loosey goosey. And I think also, to put some structure around it. I believe that the big firms are not just big firms, but firms in London have their own sort of guidelines. So firm XYZ in London may say we would like our attorneys to hit 20 hours related to your practice area could be tech whatever, and they have their own little guidelines that they’ve done. But I think they removed this sort of hour requirements that must be in person and must be this must be that and it just said you lawyer figure out what is going to be relevant for you and go do it. Just tell us that hand up that you did it. I thought that was really interesting.
Marlene Gebauer 39:41
Yeah, you know, self directed learning.
Ian Nelson 39:43
Margaret Naughton 39:44
Yeah, Canada, New Zealand, Australia. They’re all doing competency model.
Marlene Gebauer 39:49
And so does that work like a competency model in a firm where it’s like okay, this is we’ve you know, somebody is some entity has decided that this is what you need to do in order to be competent?
Margaret Naughton 39:59
from whatever seemed obvious with the UK and sensei staff to the credit model and moved to the competency. I’m not as familiar with it. But if I recall correctly, they basically have to come up with their own kind of curriculum plan or their own plan to say like, this is what I’m going to do this year in order to be a competent attorney. And these are the types of courses I’m going to take. So whether it’s the firm directing it or the, the the regulatory body saying, you know, you have to submit this plan and show that you completed this plan, and really put the onus on the attorney to say, I, I did what I said I was going to do, and I did it within that timeframe, they’re able to do that with quite a bit of freedom. I haven’t heard anything to say that, you know, they have to, or maybe like maybe one province might have like a specific, you have to learn so many credits and ethics or something like that. But I think everything else is pretty freeform. Again, I could be completely wrong. So I spent a little bit since I’ve had to look into the UK and provinces.
Marlene Gebauer 41:00
Well, I’m already a big fan of the chocolate tasting idea. So I hope, I hope I hope we see more of that.
Margaret Naughton 41:07
I’ve definitely heard of kayaking and CLE where you go you do you do the CLE portion, and then you you go kayaking, you go down the river a little bit, you pull over, you do a little bit more CLE but the kayaking portion is not for credit.
Marlene Gebauer 41:23
Ian, are you taking notes on this? Because I like that one. I like that one too. It’s sort of the the wellness combined with the further education.
Ian Nelson 41:33
Both sound good. Sounds fun. I once went to a CLE and ski in Utah. And that was pretty cool to like
Marlene Gebauer 41:39
very nice. Yeah, well, Margaret Naughton, Sarah Glassmeyer, and Ian Nelson, thank you so much for being on the show. And, you know, loved having this conversation.
Margaret Naughton 41:52
So much for having us.
Ian Nelson 41:55
Greg Lambert 41:56
I wish I had been able to be a little more involved in this interview, Marlene, but I did love the ideas being bounced around between the four of you and you know, at least what I’ve heard so far in the post editing process.
Marlene Gebauer 42:15
You know, it’s it’s, it’s really a big change in terms of what Hotshot is doing in terms of these these, you know, sort of bite size training classes being eligible for CLE. I mean, I think we’ve done sort of the bite size recordings for several years now. But we’ve never been able to get the CLE around them. And I also love that they’re doing they’re customizing it and basically integrating this into departments and firm’s own competencies programs. They have, there’s probably more to come on this.
Greg Lambert 42:48
Yeah. And I you know, I think that it really kind of fits with the way today’s learning is set up. So it makes sense that this would be the next generation of the way that we teach our lawyers and it almost doesn’t matter if if it’s new lawyers or well established lawyers that this sort of training seems to be effective. And I think it’s time for the powers that be behind the CLEs adjust to the times
Marlene Gebauer 43:16
now like short short sessions with reinforcement are really what’s what works best for for adult learning. And I mean, look, none of them none of us have four hours to sit at a time and and really focus on things.
Greg Lambert 43:31
No, we don’t.
Marlene Gebauer 43:33
So thanks to you Ian Nelson, Sarah Glassmeyer, and Margaret Norton for a really great discussion.
Greg Lambert 43:38
And thanks again to Jessica Gore for being the inspiration this week and giving us some insights on why she decided to publish a very user centric book on the federal rules of evidence. So thanks, Jessica.
Marlene Gebauer 43:50
And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you so reach out to us on social media. I can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter,
Greg Lambert 44:03
And I can be reached at @glambert on Twitter.
Marlene Gebauer 44:07
Or you can leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.
Greg Lambert 44:18
Thanks, Jerry. Alright, Marlene, I will talk with you later.
Marlene Gebauer 44:21
All right, no more technical difficulties.
Greg Lambert 44:29