With so many CLE programs on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which course or program to sign up for. It’s easy to narrow this list down, however, if you know what to look for in a CLE program. Here are few of the top qualities in a CLE program:
Any reputable CLE program today offers classes on-demand, meaning you can access the class online at any time. This flexibility allows attorneys–in states that accept on-demand CLE–to complete their CLE credits on their schedule, when and where they want. When researching online CLE programs, you should be able to clearly tell whether a particular program’s courses are on-demand. If a program doesn’t make it clear whether their courses are on-demand, that’s a red flag–it’s probably best to skip that program and avoid any possible issues with accessing its courses.
Automatic certificate delivery
Many jurisdictions require some form of certification showing that you have completed a recognized CLE course. Some CLE programs delay the delivery of your certificate until some time after completion of your course. This can cause issues if you’re completing your credits close to your deadline. And if you have to wait to receive your certificate until days after you’ve completed your course and CLE is no longer on your mind, you might not even remember to forward the certificate. Ideally, you should be able to access and download your certificate immediately after you complete your course. This way, you’ll be able to save your certificate and send it to the right authority without delay. Again, if a program offers automatic certificate delivery, you should be able to find that fact stated explicitly on their website.
Wide variety of practice areas
If you’re signing up for a CLE package, you want to feel confident that the program you choose offers a diverse range of courses in a variety of practice areas. Some CLE programs offer courses only in the largest practice areas; if you work in a more obscure area, or if you simply want to broaden your horizons beyond your own practice, it’s vital that you look through the libraries of each CLE provider you’re considering to ensure that they offer an assortment of courses. Some CLE programs offer a narrow range of courses, or offer particular courses at particular times. The best CLE programs will give you access to their whole library 24/7/365.
It’s hard enough just finding the time to fit CLE courses into your schedule; trying to make sure you’re getting the right amount of credits (and the right kind) can feel overwhelming. The best CLE programs offer jurisdiction-specific bundles—all you have to do is choose your jurisdiction, and you’ll be presented with all the courses you need to fulfill your CLE requirement. Nothing could be easier.
Some CLE courses are simply recordings of lectures, which isn’t always the best viewing experience. A good CLE course is engaging and created uniquely for the online experience. Look for a CLE course that goes behind the standard talking-head or recorded-lecture format. A course that incorporates animations and graphics–or otherwise varies up the content style–demonstrates a commitment to production values and a respect for the time and attention of its users. These types of courses have also been shown to help users better retain information, so you’ll actually remember what you learned in your courses. If you’re paying for a CLE program, why not sign up for the one that will best help you be a better lawyer?
Preview before you buy
Good CLE programs have nothing to hide. A top CLE program should offer you the ability to view a piece of an actual course before you buy it. When you’re considering a CLE program, be sure to see if you can preview a course. You should be able to see a sample of exactly what you’ll be paying for. This is the best way to determine whether that program is worth your time and money.