The Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, starting with the very first on competence, require us lawyers to know what we’re doing (Rule 1.1-Competence: A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation).
Two components to legal knowledge and preparation are study and education, and they don’t end with law school. Even though Maryland does not have mandatory continuing legal education (more on that in prior blog posts, Micpel Shutting Its Doors and Mandatory CLE in Maryland?), we cannot rest on our law school laurels and ignore the continuing advancement of law in our state. Lawyers who ignore their legal education run a risk of facing client grievances and even legal malpractice claims.
Fortunately, our state has very active bar associations. Here are some of the upcoming events:
MAJ Technology Seminar — 09/24/10: The plaintiffs’ trial bar (disclaimer: I’m a co-chair of the Education and Programs Committee) is putting on a technology seminar from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Columbia. Speakers will include the renowned Carolyn Elefant on social networking for lawyers and their clients; David Mankin, a certified Adobe instructor on the ins and outs of Adobe; and yours truly on using PowerPoint to persuade the modern jury. Additionally, we will be raffling off an Apple iPad, and technology vendors will pitch their wares. Technology is one way that new lawyers can really prove their usefulness to “older” lawyers — we tend to understand it better, and they need us for it.
Dinner with MAJ — 09/29/10: Coach Gary Williams of Maryland men’s basketball is the night’s speaker at the Columbia Doubletree. Not specifically educational, but there will be lawyers there during the cocktail hour who can answer questions, provide advice, and maybe become your next mentor.
MSBA District Court Civil Practice: A Litigation Skills Workshop — 10/11/10: This looks like a solid introductory course for anyone who anticipates doing a lot of District Court work. There will be instruction on handling real and demonstrative evidence, direct and cross-examination of fact witnesses, and presenting opening and closing statements.
MAJ Workers’ Compensation Seminar — 10/11/10: Meet Commissioners Macleay, Quinn and Weinberg for a session of hot tips, learn about chronic pain from a psychologist, get an insider’s guide to IWIF, and learn about the relationship between social security and workers’ compensation. For new lawyers, there is a special session on managing a comp practice.
MSBA 12th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference — 11/12 to 11/13/10: In this economy, many new lawyers are hanging their own shingles. Particularly for lawyers straight out of law school, help may be needed in terms of business, networking, and even basic understanding of particular practices of law. I’m sure this will be a great event with terrific networking opportunities.
I’m sure the defense bar has some good programs, too. If anyone familiar with their seminars wants to post anything in the comments below, we’d be happy to share them with readers!