Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : November 2010

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Online continuing legal education (CLE) is now available at MSBA. With the Association’s new electronic CLE member service, Maryland attorneys can conduct all of their CLE transactions online. MSBA’s one-stop CLE shop allows attorneys to conveniently view MSBA’s extensive online catalog of CLE publications and its comprehensive online listing of substantive law CLE programs at www.msba.org. In addition, lawyers may easily purchase these publications, books and materials, register for CLE programs and download programming electronically.

Entitled “MSBA CLE: Raising the Bar for Education,” the Association’s new CLE link, www.legalspan.com/msba/intro.asp?UGUID, is easily navigable and provides direct options for online CLE programs, live programs, webcasts, a full catalog of publications and course materials. MSBA’s CLE service is channeled through InReach, a sophisticated national provider that hosts CLE programs and publication catalogs for close to 50 state and local bar associations. Affiliating with one of the nation’s premiere online CLE delivery systems enhances the extensive menu of shared CLE content and broadens the quantity of CLE programs available to Maryland attorneys.

For the last eight months, MSBA’s CLE Department, with oversight from the Association’s CLE Task Force, has been working closely with MSBA’s 27 Sections to develop and present timely electronic and live substantive CLE programs, plus new and updated MSBA/MICPEL publications. Working in partnership, they have devised a new structure which continues MSBA’s tradition of strong CLE substantive law programs and valued books and publications.

“The MSBA is building this vibrant, new CLE system because we believe in education and that quality, competitively priced CLE should be provided as an MSBA membership benefit,” announces MSBA’s Executive Director Paul V. Carlin. “This MSBA-branded system is convenient and user-friendly. We have designed it to save our members time and money.”

The CLE publications and course materials link, www.legalspan.com/msba/publications.asp?UGUID, gives members an organized presentation of MSBA’s top five publications, those that are

“hot off the press” and featured “specials,” plus the entire library in alphabetical and law practice area listing order, along with cost and convenient online ordering and payment. MSBA members receive discounted pricing on all CLE publications.

“MSBA offers 200+ publications, including practice manuals, handbooks and program materials, new and updated versions and forms on CD and DVDs,” states Joanne Daniels, MSBA’s CLE Publications Manager. Through partnerships with Thomson West and LexisNexis, “MSBA’s legal research materials for Maryland are linked online and on CD-ROM, with primary state and federal statutory and case law,” she adds. MSBA CLE publications address more than 20 discrete areas of law practice and are written by hundreds of experienced volunteer lawyers, judges and professionals.

The CLE programs link, www.legalspan.com/msba/onlinecle.asp?UGUID, is structured to steer members to an assortment of CLE programming selections for upcoming programs, live seminars, and webcasts, similar to publications, so members may easily avail themselves of alphabetical and law practice area program listings and online registration and payment. The complete catalog of programs incorporates those presented in the last eight months, those scheduled in upcoming months and those produced by other bars that they are not state-specific but rather address federal law and Supreme Court decisions.

“We are working with MSBA Sections, focusing on their specific needs and collaborating on program topics geared to their respective practice areas as well as the best delivery methods, pricing, dates and locations,” reports Andrea Terry, MSBA’s CLE Program Attorney. “Not every topic needs a full or half-day live program, so we are also working on CLE accredited online webcasts and webinars.” Eventually, MSBA will webcast live programs so attorneys can have “live streaming CLE” directly to their desktops.

In terms of accreditation for practitioners in states other than Maryland, where CLE is voluntary, “webcasting through InReach makes programming quickly accessible and easily accredited,” Terry explains. “InReach builds into its client catalogs all of the requirements that must be met for online programming to qualify for CLE credit. MSBA sends them our CLE programming and materials and InReach ensures that it is CLE-compliant then adds the listing to its polished professional, user-friendly catalog.”

Webinars

Finally, webinars are currently being offered at MSBA. While these do not fall under the auspices of MSBA’s new CLE service, more and more MSBA Sections are taking advantage of this popular electronic modem and presenting free webinars to their Section members. Webinars are free to attorneys who are members of the “presenting” Section, but there is a cost of $25 to MSBA attorneys who are not members of that Section. Thus, it is cost-effective for attorneys to join the Section, pay a nominal fee and take advantage of all of that Section’s webinars. To join a Section, go to www.msba.org/sec_comm/index.htm.

Sections wishing to use MSBA webinars should go to “gotowebinar account” to participate in the webinars. However, none of the webinars presented through the gotowebinar account are accredited, so they may not be claimed for CLE credit by viewers barred in a mandatory CLE jurisdiction. Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to Theresa Michael (tmichael@msba.org) or Lawrence Hicks (lhicks@msba.org) at MSBA.

Conclusion

The mission of the Association’s CLE service is reflected in its MSBA-branded theme, “Raising the Bar for Education.” Through this effective online service, MSBA is now the high-quality CLE resource for lawyers in Maryland, evidenced by its substantial array of first-rate publications and programs packaged with high-tech, cost-effective delivery systems. Channeling MSBA’s CLE service through InReach greatly enhances the scope of CLE selections accessible to members.

MSBA’s CLE service is a work in progress, as the Association continually updates its two catalogs, adding the newest CLE publications and programs for MSBA members to access online. All MSBA members are encouraged to take advantage of the Association’s fully-automated, one-stop CLE shop, as it caters to all of their CLE needs. They will have CLE content right at their fingertips with this new member-friendly, convenient MSBA member service.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: November 2010

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