The unfortunately regular habit of most CLE offerings for young lawyers is that is focuses on black letter law. To me that makes no sense at all.
By and large, if you’re working in a particular legal field you’re going to learn a certain amount of law associated with that field.
Without really trying – other than turning up to work and doing your job.
So we could pretty happily trundle along through our legal careers, devoting precious little extra-curricular time towards learning particular legal information, and be largely OK.
Don’t get me wrong – learning law is sometimes necessary (after all – it’s a pretty important part of what we do).
Where I think differently is that a lot of the law we try to force feed ourselves pretty much flies straight out the window unless we put it immediately into practice. We just forget. Because it’s not presently useful at all.
The same can’t be said for skills.
Skills Can Be Put Into Action Now
If you learn a new skill or a new technique to bring to your practice, then there’s usually nothing stopping you from making that change immediately.
Did you learn how to write better? Great! You can do that the next time you sit at your keyboard.
Did you learn how to use social media better? Awesome! Go get ’em, tiger!
There doesn’t need to be a lag time between stuff going into your head and that same stuff getting used for your benefit.
Skills Are Always Relevant
Any skill that you can add to the arsenal of other skills you already have… is awesome!
There will never be a time in your career that you don’t want to be learning new skills – they are always useful, and they are always relevant.
Skills Won’t Happen By Accident
And here’s the main reason – building your legal skills won’t just happen by accident. You need to do it on purpose.
While you are forced to learn law in order to serve your clients, the same can’t be said for your legal skills. You could easily get on through half a career in law and avoid developing your skills in any way.
So Next Time You Have a Choice…
Pick the CLE that’s going to build your skills.