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The ABCs of teaching CLEs

As an early-1990s-era “Simpsons” junkie, one of my favorite episodes is when Homer is selected to teach a class at the local community college on secrets of a successful marriage (Season 5, Episode 22, which originally aired May 19, 1994 in case you were wondering.) Part of what makes the episode so ironic is that Homer Simpson, who we have seen through five seasons has a very dysfunctional (yet oddly functional) marriage, is being relied upon to provide his years of accrued wisdom as to how to make marriages work harmoniously.

And, through that digression, I come to next week. I will be teaching a portion of an all-day CLE seminar titled “Estate Administration from Start to Finish.” I have taught at this particular CLE a few times previously but always on probate litigation. This time, I’ve been tasked with teaching about ethical issues that may arise in the course of estate administration.

Next week will mark the 10th time I have delivered a CLE. They have been to varying audiences — lawyers, accountants, bankers, and others.  And, I admit, each time I prepare to deliver a CLE, I feel a little nagging sense of what made that particular episode of “The Simpsons so ironic. I still consider myself to be a relatively junior attorney compared to many of the more seasoned attorneys I socialize with at bar functions. How do I have the chops to deliver a CLE?

I have found that each time I get ready to deliver a CLE, the preparation is actually an affirming experience. I realize that I do have substantial practical experience and a substantial understanding of the area of practice in which I am instructing. I realize that I have some pretty darn good hypotheticals and real-life examples that I can draw upon to make the subject matter come to life. I realize that I have come a long way in just 10 short years out of law school. I realize that while I may not know the answer to every question that the CLE attendees pose, I’m never going to know all the answers.

So young lawyers, get out there. If CLE opportunities are hard to find, engage with professional colleagues in other lines of business and see if they are interested in hearing from you.  Accountants need CPE credit. Realtors, financial planners, doctors, and numerous other professionals can benefit from the legal knowledge that you may not even realize that you have.

You’ll market yourself while, perhaps at the same time, even enjoy a reaffirming experience.

Now, do any of my readers want to help me out with a PowerPoint presentation on the ethics of estate administration? I have 6 days to prepare… plenty of time!

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