Why Continuing Legal Educaton?


Sorry to sound like a smart alec, but, just for fun, ask your lawyer to see a list of her/his continuing legal education that he/she has attended during the last 10 years, or the books she/he has read. Then feel free to come look at my list, over 30+ years. If you find someone to beat me over any of that time, I shall give you $100 and go shake that lawyer’s hand.

CLE is my thing. Why?

1. I live in a crazy world of emergency motions, accusations, threats, other emergencies, tears, and deadlines. Attending C.L.E., even if I doze once in awhile, like our vacations, recharges the batteries.

2. Keeping current of emerging issues and technologies is always a good thing. I found my current I.T. support firm during a seminar.

3. Whenever I go away, the staff declares “bluejean day!”. They love getting me out of the office.

4. Connecting with like-minded lawyers is very refreshing, and learning who is the best in their field can lead to making money! Hanging out with “the best” makes you want to do better.

5. Last year I utilized a pre-imminent W.V. insurance expert, who taught at many of my seminars, to find $1,250,000 in extra insurance coverage in a serious personal injury case! That led to a very fine settlement. If you want the name of that expert, call or write me. Such information is invaluable.

6. In Fact, the four biggest cases of my career were directly associated with people I met, or learned of, from my C.L.E.

7. Since I have thrown modesty out the window with this post, I declare my proud membership in the WV Association For Justice, which I shall forever think of as the WV Trial Lawyers Association. This organization, founded by the inimitable Stanley Preiser, best darn trial lawyer in WV, and one of the best ever in the U.S., and a few friends, is the advocate for “the little guy”. There will be trial lawyers chewing on the tail of BP, just as we go after drunk drivers and other at fault parties. Of, course the “at fault” part is determined by juries. The jury system is at the heart of the many freedoms that exist in this country. I have been on the Board of Governors for just about 20 years. Our members are passionate about what they do.

8. Listening to Stanley Preiser, Joan Claybrook, Melvin Belli, Howard Nations, and our home grown, but nationally respected, trial lawyers , restores my pride in what I do for a living.Not incidently, here in my motel room, I am listening to my friend Dan Ringer, The Law Works on Public Television, in one of his hundreds of shows. That’s the kind of thing a really good lawyer does.

9. Everyone enjoys a good “lawyer joke”, except a lawyer of course. But, we are here to give you the power to resist evil and assert your rights, to protect your child, or seek recompense from someone who has harmed or injured you. The best trial lawyers are bright, compassionate, determined, energetic, opinionated, and almost always, full of ourselves.

10. Some are war heroes, former athletes, pretty boys, and girls, and naturally outgoing, but many very good lawyers aren’t any of those things. They are just good at what they do, and I like hanging out with them. They share generously the things they have learned and I try to absorb it like a sponge. I am sharing some of it with you.

11. You guessed it. I am here at the Marriott for the annual meeting of the W.V.A.J. I can hear the noise of annual party in the tent 5 stories below, but I just finished a couple of orders that had to get done. I have been to the parties, and they can be fun, but I come here for the knowledge and the associations and friendships. Sometimes it is hard to have lawyer friends because we go “head to
head” so often, but there is a comradarie that can be satisfying.

Leaving the office, giving up the income, and paying for the C.L.E. are all expensive,but well worth it in the long run.

Call me when you want to win that $100.

Burt Hunter

This post was written by Burton Hunter

1 Comment

  • I am back from the meeting and seminar. So many bright and dedicated people. I know the rest of the years is going to be a good one; can’t afford to think otherwise.

    In re-reading my post, I regret sounding so judgmental, but it accurately reflects my thoughts. Lawyers should maintain professionalism by attending C.L.E. and having an active local bar, where we can honor our senior and retiring members, share ideas and tech tips, and provide some friendship and emotional support. We never know when illness or injury will require us to lean on each other. How can we do that if we don’t even know one another?

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