Should lawyers get continuing legal education credit for marketing programs? That’s certainly the push we’ve been seeing online in CLE forums, blogs, and elsewhere. And yesterday, my friend Tim Baran posted more on the topic in the wake of the news that Fordham Law School is now offering a class on law firm marketing as part of its JD program.
There is a movement underway. A growing number of people think CLE credit should be given for marketing programs. I’m not one of them.
This isn’t because I don’t think marketing is valuable. I do. But if marketing programs are so valuable, shouldn’t attorneys attend them with or without CLE credit? These programs promise to teach them how to attract more clients and, thereby, bring in more money. Why isn’t that worth the cost of admittance?
The conference industry outside of CLE is full of conferences that offer no credit at all. And yet, people still attend them. And often pay quite a bit more money to do so than many continuing legal education providers charge. The conferences offer value beyond the equivalent of a CLE affidavit–and the attendees know it.
Our well-intentioned accreditation system has trained our industry to value programs–marketing, substantive or otherwise–based on the number of credits the program offers. And I don’t think that’s good for anyone–lawyer, provider, or client.