Alextronic Discovery
Alextronic Discovery
An Electronic Discovery Blog covering News, Articles
and Thoughts for the Legal and Corporate Community Author: Alexander H. Lubarsky, LL.M., Esq. - - Tel. (415) 533-4166 OR 800-375-4222 THIS BLAWG IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WEB SITES WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.ORG OR WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.COM

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Forced to Study EDD?  

Forced To Study EDD?

Although only partially delusional, I have come to the stark realization that not everyone is an EDD academic junkie like myself. When I speak at firms, the majority seem to be engaged in 50's Happy Days style but there is always the sleepy person in the back or the dude with the Game Boy on mute. These are the folks that prefer to learn about Discovery on the cable channel bearing its name and not in a CLE session. I call them the Fonzies.

Well, it appears that there are enough Fonzies in my home state of California to cause a bit of a stir. These folks just ain't gonna take it anymore. They are challenging Californians CLE requirements on the basis of constitutionality - or lack thereof. Heyyyyyy.

Unless you've been living under a rock or hanging out with Potsie, you know that attorneys throughout the country are charged with mandatory education known as Continuing Legal Education (or CLE for short). Attorneys are expected to attend a prescribed number of hours of CLE courses during a set statutory period. Hours spent munching on pizza in large conference rooms or scribbling notes on Hilton memo pads are audited at the end of each period (period cycles are determined by last name in most states and Bar Number sequence in others) and those that have skipped class to ride their motorcycles are sent to a very big detention class where they have to put their head down on their desk and possibly forfeit their milk card and, oh yeah, Bar card at that. Not pretty stuff. Worse than having to fix the broken Hot Rod with Ralph Mouth (episode 18).

There are a few out here in California who vowed to never sit in a class after they wrote the last sentence in their Wills and Trusts Examination Bluebook while 3L's. In 1999, these Fonzies were surprisingly successful in the matter of Warden v. State Bar to do the impossible - they got CLE's declared unconstitutional Lot's of two-thumbs up action happenin' after that victory.

Unfortunately for the Fonzies, the matter was overturned and CLE's came back in 2001. It brought the Fonzies a pain that had not been experienced since the time Joni left to date Spike and the juke box at Arnold's broke down. (episode 24).

That same year, Senate Bill 144 was enacted as sort of a compromise between the bookworms and the class cutters. The originally mandated 36 hours of CLE in a three year period was knocked down to 25 hours. That is still quite a coup d'etat for the Fonzies out there. They got to cruise to Arnold's Diner on their motorcycles at 1:00 instead of 3:00 when the old school bell rang. The kids from Lincoln High were headed back to class when the cool dudes from Jefferson showed up. Double finger, cheerleader grabbing, snap. The Richie Cunninghams however, were less than amused.

In addition to substance abuse, elimination of bias and ethics, California attorneys must learn about law practice management. That's where CLE and EDD marry to produce CLEDD.

Even today's Fonzies may concede that CLEDD credits are a must for any litigator. Look, you gotta sit through this stuff anyways, right? Well why not learn how to collect the smoking gun e-mail from the Defendant (or flag it and try to exclude it based on some privilege if you represent the Defendant)? It's either that or a two hour session on IRS implications on the revocable generation skipping trust. Not cool.

Not surprisingly, the best attended classes at the California Section Education Institute (a CLE drag race at Lookout Point, if you will) deal with litigation technology. The classes that I routinely give with Russ Jackman from the Cal. Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section sell out in hours at times (could it be the black leather jacket?) The next most popular sessions are on the topics of settlement disputes and then comes ADR. Sorry Richie, chemistry doesn't make the top ten list.

I hear that the Richies and the Fonzies have supercharged their Chevy's and have brought these CLE issues to a state near you. What is your state's CLE requirement? What programs would you like to see offered at your Bar Convention? Would you vote to eliminate CLE altogether?

I will be helping out the Richies and the Fonzies of Cincinnati next month as I speak at a two hour CLE on the topic of, you guessed it, electronic evidence in litigation at the Cincinnati Bar on Friday the 19th. Check it out if you can. There's a great malt shop nearby. Also, those West Coast revellers can catch me on the 11th in San Francisco at the Hyatt Regency through Career Coaches

In the mean time, don't forget to tip Joanie when at Arnold's and keep your CLE's current while considering using CLEDD to do the trick. Cool?

posted by Alexander | 11:55 PM


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