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Jason Castillo

As an attorney and Director of Legal Education with Attorney Credits, Jason Castillo researches diverse legal topics and emerging...

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Christopher T. Anderson

Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law firm management,...

When attorneys find themselves needing to take continuing legal education courses, many of them regard the experience as a burden, boring, or simply an unavoidable chore. However, what if the problem isn’t with the CLEs themselves but with the attitudes of the attorneys? What can providers do to change the opinions and perceptions of attorneys regarding the CLEs? In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, host Christopher Anderson speaks with AttorneyCredits.com Director of Legal Education Jason Castillo about how to make the CLE experience a better one.

As an attorney and Director of Legal Education with Attorney Credits, Jason Castillo researches diverse legal topics and emerging areas of law to create and produce CLE courses with significant current intellectual content. Jason has also created numerous courses on pertinent topics, including legal ethics and technology, malpractice, elimination of bias, and other key subjects. A graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law, he is a licensed member of the State Bar of California.

Transcript

The Un-Billable Hour

How to Make the CLE Experience A Better One

09/14/2016

Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’. The law practice advisory podcast. This is where you will get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson here on Legal Talk Network.

[Music]

Christopher Anderson: Welcome to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ the practice advisory podcast helping attorneys achieve success on their terms. We are glad you can listen today on the Legal Talk Network. I am your host, Christopher Anderson. I am an attorney with a singular passion for helping other lawyers be more successful with their law firm businesses. My team and I work directly with lawyers across the country to help them achieve success again as they define it.

In ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ each month, we explore an area important to growing revenues, giving you back more of your time and/or improving your professional satisfaction in one of the key areas of your business. Thus, I am an attorney who has built and managed my own law firms. Now I get to work with hundreds of law firm owners to help them grow professionally and personally. Your law firm business should exist to provide for the financial, personal and professional needs of you, its owner.

In this program I have a chance to speak to you as I do in presentations across the country and with the team at how to manage a small law firm about what it takes to build and operate your law firm like the business that it is. I have a chance to introduce you to a new guest each month to talk about how to make that business work for you instead of the other way around. And today’s episode of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ is, CLEs that don’t suck.

One of the requirements to maintain your Bar Certificate, that is to say, your right to practice law, is engaging in continuing legal education. Since it is an absolute requirement, it seems like providers are marketing a service that allows attorneys to mark it done. The focus is not traditionally been on actually delivering value or delightful experience. In other words, they tend to suck.

My guest today is Jason Castillo, Director of Legal Education of  HYPERLINK “http://www.AttorneyCredits.com” AttorneyCredits.com, a company that brings interesting CLEs to lawyers across the United States. Clearly, Jason has a point of view on this topic, so let’s explore with him how to make a CLE experience a better one.

Jason Castillo: Christopher ,I appreciate it and thank you so much for having me here today.

Christopher Anderson: My absolute pleasure. Welcome to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’. First of all, Jason, I know that my introduction of you was really, really brief. Can you just explain to the audience what got you interested in CLEs in the first place?

Jason Castillo: Well, it was a really great opportunity for me. Out of law school I did a little bit of traveling, when I was done and I lived abroad, once I graduated from the University of San Diego and when I came back into the job market after a few years being out of school, I had a choice between a few different paths to go through and I was lucky enough in 2006 to get the opportunity to basically start this website from scratch and in here I am today. So it’s kind of a perfect marriage for me because I love learning, and I love growing, and I get to work with attorneys around the country that are top on their game.

Christopher Anderson: Was there like a big pain point that you identify that like made you feel like this is something you needed to solve?

Jason Castillo: It wasn’t exactly that I needed to solve but I just thought it was a perfect niche for me, and back in 2006 it was great as well because I sort of have a computer background. Although I do go to law school, I lived in a house with a bunch of programers and designers and computer people, so back in 2006 it was kind of the perfect transition time because CLE was kind of transitioning from the old live format into the online arena.

Christopher Anderson: Right, and so it is a great segue, CLE is delivered in those two primary ways today. There used to be videotape, and there used to be audio tape, but primarily lawyers are getting it either live or by some electronic means through typically over the Internet. What do you see is what’s wrong with the delivery, the traditional delivery of CLE today?

Jason Castillo: Honestly and I would sort of double-back on the question, I don’t think that there is a ton wrong with traditional CLE. There is great stuff out there, there is great programs, there is great providers, great educators in faculty and you can get it in a great price point, and that’s funny because we are talking about CLEs that don’t suck, I think the issue is that the attorney’s attitudes about CLE is what sucks.

Christopher Anderson: How so?

Jason Castillo: Well, I feel that a lot of attorneys and I am a licensed attorney myself, so I don’t practice.

Christopher Anderson: Just so we keep it in mind, Jason, please explain to the audience how their attitude to CLEs suck? I think that’s great.

(00:04:53)

Jason Castillo: Well, really what it is for me and this is a lot of people, law school longer than I know people I went to school with, I really feel that a lot of people think or a lot of attorneys when they get out of law school I really think that they know everything they need to know and once you take the Bar you don’t ever want to study for anything again, you never want to take another test, and to me that’s just such a short-sighted way to look at things because if you get out of the school and you practice for 40 years, you tell me that nothing changes in 40 years and everything you need to know as soon as you graduate from law school.

Christopher Anderson: But so if that’s the general attitude that must affect how the market tries to deliver the solution, right? So if people don’t have much respect for the CLE that they are getting, how has the market answered that?

Jason Castillo: Well, the market has answered it by sort of just providing bare bones whatever the attorney might need, and it really does kind of fall into attorney accounts because there are those attorneys that just see it as a necessary evil and they have to get it done and they got to get their credits to keep their license, and there is a nice segment of people that do actually utilize, see how he has a tool in their professional practice to grow and learn.

Christopher Anderson: And so like based on that, how do you think looking at CLE differently can help lawyers, particularly listeners to this show who tend to be focused on growing their business, improving their business, how can consuming CLEs differently help them?

Jason Castillo: In so many different avenues and so many different ways there is so many different ways that you can improve yourself and I try to improve everyday I show up to work or every week, every month, I try to get better, I try to learn more skills, because that makes me better at my job, it makes me understand the attorneys were working with better. And especially in this day and age when things are moving so fast and there are so many changes that are affecting either in society, that’s going affect the practice of law or maybe in a fast moving body of law like with technology law, you constantly have to learn and grow and add new tools to your tool-belt, so you can be a better practitioner.

Christopher Anderson: But it sort of sounds like you’re advocating that CLE providers kind of start to lead attorneys a little bit by the nose and say, hey guys, you are missing out. I know this is a requirement, I know that you have to do this, but you’re missing out on an opportunity to actually improve your business, is that what you are saying?

Jason Castillo: That’s exactly what I am saying.

Christopher Anderson: And so, how do you take — I mean, to me I’m like thinking about this is sort of like going to the DMV to have my emissions inspection right? I can’t drive my car every year. Like every year I have to stop driving my car unless I go and do this thing and I have like zero respect for doing and what my requirements for getting my emissions inspected is cheap and fast and painless.

You’re kind of saying like the emissions inspector should like try to instead of allow me to think that way to say, hey, if you come here, we’re going to improve your life in another way, we’re going to actually take this emissions inspection and make your car run better.

Jason Castillo: Exactly.

Christopher Anderson: How can you do that? What can you bring or what can other — not just you, but what do you feel like CLE providers across a country can do to change attorneys’ attitude towards the continuing legal education process?

Jason Castillo: Well, I think that’s where we have to continually offer new and better programming that’s responsive to what’s going on for today’s attorneys, I mean, essentially we have to deliver CLEs that don’t suck. And to me it’s funny because I know that a lot of people complain about the CLE and they don’t want to have to take it, but when you see leading by the nose, that’s my job for the last 10 years and the essence has been to give CLE a good name and with almost every person that uses our website, almost every attorney that I talk to, whether it’s a support call or they need a little help or they are just calling in to check on their coursework, almost everyone I talk to inevitably.

The conversation ends like this, they say, well, you know, I kind of enjoyed some of your CLE courses, so they’ve been so preprogrammed to hate it when they actually get something that’s beneficial, interesting or informative, it’s almost a dirty work for them to say that they actually like taking the CLE and I would say 60% to 80% of the calls, the people I talk to, that’s what we get, and really that’s where the online model is a really excellent model because if you do the live — you go to the live local Bar Association, well, that local Bar Association is only going to be able to draw from maybe an area of 10 or 20 miles, they are just going to get some local lawyers in their area.

But with our website we work with attorneys all over the country and even around the world we take people outside of America. So we get some of the best presenters in the entire country, and it’s right there, your computer for you, so we are not even limited geographically by who or what we can offer, we can go and cherry-pick and pull the best presenters from New York, the best presenters from California, the best presenters from Illinois and bring that to you right at your fingertips, on-demand, anytime.

Christopher Anderson: That’s really interesting point, because you can scale the audience, you can bring in better speakers, more educational, more — maybe, for lack of a better word, more entertaining, but I don’t mean that in a light way, but we’ve all been to lectures that are — we’ve all been to school and some professors deliver good content, but put you to sleep.

(00:10:12)

Some professors are entertaining but don’t present much in the way of content, but then you’ve got that rare exception, like coming to my mind right now is someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who can be incredibly informative and incredibly educational at the same time, and so, by scaling the audience you are able to deliver that kind of quality. It’s not just you, anybody who is doing it online has the capability to improve the content of what’s being delivered. So, is it that what you’re saying.

Jason Castillo: Exactly.

Christopher Anderson: Cool. So online CLE delivery is not new, it’s something that’s been going on for a while and like I said, I have been an attorney, I graduated Law School myself, I probably shouldn’t say this to my audience, but I graduated Law School let’s just say more than 20 years ago and I have taken CLEs for all that time, yes, the Bars, I have taken CLEs during all that time, and I have taken them live, I have taken them by, there were times where you could actually go down to the CLE department and check out a videotape, and then you would have to bring it back. Then there was a time where they actually mail you a CD and you didn’t have to send it back, and then there came online. What do you see is the trends today, is online continuing to develop, is there anything going on differently about it?

Jason Castillo: Online is continuing to develop and it will continue to develop, and really in that respect what I have found as far as a changing attitude is that I found that there are quite a few attorneys out there that are technophobes. They simply don’t like technology. They don’t even send emails, some of these people that I talk to.

So think what’s coming around more than anything is the lawyer’s attitudes regarding technology and people are finally starting to think, hey, this isn’t something that’s just going to go away, this isn’t a fad; the technology is here, you have to learn and grow with it.

So right now on the big component, there is some interactivity to some of the online and I really think that as the technology becomes more available it will become more interactive. 5-10 years from now we could be sitting here having a CLE course right in front, somebody could broadcast right from their living room or from a studio or from a Board or conference room and people will probably be able to join in right there with them online just like we are doing right now.

Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and so, I want to talk about that. The different ways that people could be consuming it and the ways that the content could be created definitely are improving, what about the actual engagement of the audience, and I am going to talk to you a little bit more after the break about different learning styles and how we need to address those, but just sticking to the technology side of the question what can technology do today, and what do you see is a trend for being able to keep the audience engaged?

Jason Castillo: Well, I really think as far as engagement goes, you can sit there, that’s the beauty of learning online. You can engage with the material as you are learning it, you can look things up, you can look case laws and statutes, we give the attorneys the ability to phone or email the presenter at any time, so that can make it interactive in that sense, and then we don’t provide it because we are all on-demand programming but something that we are moving to is to be more like a webinar where you can have instant contact with the presenter, and that’s something that we will be moving into hopefully next year in early 2017 and other providers do offer that as well, whether it’s webcast format or whether it’s like a social media chat style, but there are different ways for interactivity as well.

Christopher Anderson: Yeah, all right. So one of the other things, one of the trends that I’ve noticed certainly in the states in which I have CLE responsibilities is that the Bar Associations and the Continuing Legal Education Directors keep layering on additional requirements. Like, when I started this basically you had to take your CLE hours. And then there was, well, you have to also add your ethics hours, and then there was, oh, yeah, you have to also do a professionalism hour, which are hard to get.

And then, oh my goodness, yeah, if you’re going to be in court you actually have to do some litigation or trial practice hours, and now I’ve been seeing a trend of adding technology. the American Bar Association added a comment to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct that says that technological competence is part of the Bar requirements and that you must be technologically proficient in order to satisfy the Bar rule for competence. What have you seen or what you are experiencing as far as trends concerning adding technology and adding these other layers of different kinds of CLE that people have to take?

Jason Castillo: Well, I think it’s responsive to society and what’s going on in the world and that’s where with the technology component, I work with attorneys every day online. I help out attorneys as old as 80 and 90-years-old, navigate the online format and view online videos.

(00:15:02)

But then I also have talked to attorneys that are much younger and they don’t have a clue or when it comes to something as simple as social media or email or the most basic technological concepts.

One time I talked to an attorney who didn’t have an email address, he was using his neighbor’s email address. And this was a couple years back but it was 2014. To me it was dumbfounding that you couldn’t have an email address, how do your clients contact you, how do you get documents from the court, how do you send and receive things electronically?

Christopher Anderson: And have you seen as a result of that more demand for technology CLEs, like actual content involving the use of technology in the practice of law?

Jason Castillo: Well, unfortunately, those people that aren’t completely tech on savvy, they are not the ones seeking those courses out, they are the ones that really need it but they don’t say they need it, it is what it is. So they don’t even know what they need essentially or they don’t think it’s important to them.

What I’ve seen — the attorneys that I have seen leverage technology and really utilize these developments are the smart savvy attorneys that realize it gives them a competitive leg up in the marketplace. If you go into a personal injury case and you don’t understand how to use social media, you don’t understand how to use Twitter, your Facebook, you are missing a treasure trail of evidence. If you don’t know how to at least find an expert to harvest electronic or ESI off of a cellphone, laptop or computer, you’re doing your a client a disservice, and I have run into attorneys almost weekly where they had a case and they are amazed that the other side didn’t ask for this piece of evidence or that they didn’t bring this issue up because I think they just pull an ostrich approach and if they don’t understand the technology they just bury their head in the sand, and the real smart savvy attorneys are the ones that are out there gaining that advantage on this sort of un-savvy attorneys when it comes to technology.

Christopher Anderson: Do you believe that like the Continuing Legal Education providers such as yourself can play a role in driving more that knowledge, more that experience, more that capability into the legal service providers?

Jason Castillo: Oh, as you draw, we just work with the provider to produce an excellent course on ethical issues in e-Discovery and in social media, and the whole course is about how to ethically harvest information from people’s Facebook accounts.

There has been cases like Virginia cases. In legal circles it’s known as the “I Heart Moms” case, where the plaintiff’s attorney advised his client to delete information off of his Facebook account, including the “I Heart Moms” case, it was a wrongful death suit and the plaintiff’s wife had died.

And so, they deleted information off of his Facebook page, and that’s you are destroying evidence. It might be electronic, but it’s still electronic evidence. If I am not mistaken that award was reduced from like 9 million to — they greatly reduced the award, the attorney himself I believe was sanctioned and maybe even suspended, and so that’s somebody that doesn’t understand what they are doing, because they counseled their client to act illegal and they destroyed evidence.

Christopher Anderson: So with leadership of Continuing Legal Education providers we really can begin a movement and continue a movement to make CLE rather than just a requirement something that not only improves the knowledge and the expertise of the lawyer but it sounds like it can really protect their business and help them grow their business by establishing themselves with greater experience and expertise not only in technology but even in substantive practice of law?

Jason Castillo: Oh, exactly, and even skills based, there are so many areas where you can improve your game as a lawyer, improve your practice in today’s world.

Christopher Anderson: Cool, one of the other things I want talk about is different kinds of learning. There’s been some studies done and some research done, some articles that I’ve read and I think you have as well, regarding the fact that a methodology of learning that doesn’t seem to be particularly effective is the sit in the room or quite honestly sit in front of your computer and listen to some person, a man or a woman talk at you for 50 minutes or an hour depending on the state, if you are 50 minutes state or 60 minutes state, and then be finished and/or maybe have a chance for 10 minutes of Q&A. The studies that I’ve read have shown that that’s particularly ineffective and what a much more effective way of learning is when the learner has a chance to actually implement, engage, use, problem-solve during the presentation.

In fact, one of the studies I read said something like after about 10 minutes into an hour-long lecture people start to basically tune out, like they don’t — I think the word that was used was they don’t assimilate the knowledge passed about that 10-minute mark. What do you think can be done in delivery of Continuing Legal Education to address that?

Jason Castillo: Well again, I think to a certain part even when I attend these live presentations the learners aren’t interactive when I go to half of them, they don’t ask questions, they just sit there.

(00:20:00)

So again, it’s really up to the person to make it interactive. If you are watching an online CLE, we have a number of presenters, they will actually stop what they are doing and they will run you through an exercise. It might be like we just did a really excellent course on handwriting authentication where they walk you through three or four exercises during the course of the online video.

So every 15 minutes there was a pause in the content, a pause in the break and they asked you to respond to something that the presenter was asking. So that was to me a very interactive approach to the online format.

Christopher Anderson: So the listeners, the participants in the Continuing Legal Education actually got to do something to assimilate and then actually use the knowledge in a practical way during the presentation.

Jason Castillo: Correct. And that’s really what we go for is a lot of our market is solos and small firm attorneys, people that — they want to feel like they have got something when they get up from that chair, when they leave the lecture. And that’s our whole goal is to impart them with a practical skill or some type of takeaway, whether it’s being more persuasive or using different vocal tones in court, or whether it’s filling out immigration paperwork. They will walk you through the documents on how to fill it out.

So the presenter themselves online is interactive in a sense, and it’s funny to me because people say, it’s just a 50 minute talk and then they ask questions for 10 minutes. Well, when I go to a lot of these, again, it’s the lawyer’s attitude, they don’t want to interact. They will ask for questions and nobody will even raise their hand in a room of 100 people. Or they will ask for an opinion or they will ask for, has anybody done this before, and nobody wants to even raise their hand.

So I want to impart that the lawyers need to treat the learning more interactive. It’s not the learning that’s wrong; again, it’s the lawyer’s attitude that needs to be adjusted.

Christopher Anderson: Yeah, but to that extent, I mean I think speaking as an attorney, I think we have been trained really well that this is how it’s done. In law school it’s done this way, and lectures are done this way, and we are just trained to sort of sit there, take it in, and how interactive you are in the training that we have gotten, and it doesn’t have any correlation with how successful you are afterwards.

Jason Castillo: Yeah. And I was thinking about that. Great point, because I was even thinking about, what’s the learning that we do in law school, right, it’s a Socratic method, where they don’t want to give you any answers, everybody needs to come up, and people in law school all they do is say how much they can’t stand the Socratic method and they just want to be taught the answers, and they just want to know what to do.

So even that is sort of more interactive in sparking discussion and even training before, where attorneys, people sort of revolt against that.

Christopher Anderson: So let’s put you in the shoes of Henry Ford then, right. Henry Ford famously said, and this is basically commentary on the development of products. I think Steve Jobs would have thought very much the same way, in that, at the end of the day when the masses, when the consumer is trained to consume a product in a particularly undelightful way, it takes sometimes a leader, somebody to innovate and then lead the market to the water so that they can teach the people, teach the lawyers, teach the consumers what they want because they don’t know it.

So putting yourself in Henry Ford’s shoes, who said, if I had listened to my customers I would have built a faster horse, or Steve Jobs who said basically that the consumers don’t know what they want until I show it to them, because I think that was around the — commentary around the iPhone, which was completely revolutionary.

Get your crystal ball out, what could CLE service providers, particularly online service providers do to change this training, to change the dynamic, to change the way lawyers think about this and to get engaged?

Jason Castillo: And I think that that’s — as the technology becomes cheaper, more readily available, able to process information faster, the online environment is only going to get better and better.

10 or 15 years ago, it was completely on-demand programming, you just brought up a video and that was it, and then as the technology sort of caught up and became better, and now we are moving into webinars, where it’s not exactly video, but you get the audio, you can type along with the person.

And I would say within five to ten years you are going to be able to sit in a virtual classroom where you are going to be right there with the presenter online. They are going to be there with you. So you can engage with the presenter and other participants probably just like you will be able to be in a real live room, and that’s where the growth will take. It just needs sort of the technology to catch up with it, because over time as Moore’s Law takes place and the technology increases, it gets cheaper and more efficient, and so then the technology providers can offer a better product, because we can offer it at a price point that attorneys can afford.

Christopher Anderson: Do you ever see like telepresence or actual ability to interact in a virtual reality kind of way coming into play?

Jason Castillo: I think we could get there. I know that there is people that have already kind of tried to go down that path, and like you said I think more than anything else, it’s just the market’s resistance to it.

(00:25:00)

I have actually seen a provider where it was completely virtual. If anybody is familiar with like Minecraft or any of the 3D virtual world, he had built a 3D university, where you had a little character and you went through and there was a library and a lecture. So in that sense they were actual 3D character online.

I think it’s going to almost get to that point where you are going to be — maybe not so much that way, but maybe in a video sense you are going to be right there engaging with other participants and the presenter as well.

Christopher Anderson: Yeah. So that’s something that could really I think impact, the more people can feel involved in the process. But speaking to one of your earlier points, I think it’s really an important one that you made is, we have been talking about what can online service providers do to change the dynamic, what can online service providers do to really change the rubric of how people interact with their Continuing Legal Education, but it really struck me what you said, because one of the things I do is I actually go around the country and teach Continuing Legal Education at various bar associations, and other venues across the United States.

And what you are saying is right. I mean, no matter sometimes how engaging, and I think I am kind of engaging. I think I am one of those guys that delivers content and entertainment, but sometimes getting the first person to ask a question can be like pulling a tooth. After the first person it goes well, but sometimes it’s really — you are done talking, they are ready to leave and it can be a little bit difficult to engage them in the process.

All of this will lead up to say that one of the things I think that is a shame about Continuing Legal Education is you walk into any lawyer’s office and very often what you will find is a shelf with the CLE materials from all the CLEs that they have been to. And those CLE materials look really, really good, like they have not moved off that shelf or been — the spines are intact, if it’s a book; if it’s like a brochure or a workbook, like there is no bending, there is no spindling, these things are looking beautiful, because they go on the shelf and they never, ever come down.

Can CLE be something that can be more useful after the education is done, where it could be used as a reference and provide some continuing value to the attorney?

Jason Castillo: Oh, most definitely. I mean, I have received calls where — we got a call from a guy that hadn’t used our website in six years and he needed — he had a case or he had an issue with hard money loans and he remembered taking our course six years ago. And we don’t even have the course online anymore, but I had to go back into our database, pull out the written materials for him, and I sent that over to him.

And that’s a big part of our business is that, obviously we need to keep the lights on and the doors open, but we are here to help people be better attorneys by educating them and giving them more tools.

And so one thing that we do when they take a streaming video online when they are finished, they have a full one year review period to go back on and review that material. And I have talked to countless attorneys that maybe they had a retainer agreement issue come up and they took this course two years ago and then they go back and pull up the written materials. And here’s James King, one of the foremost ethics experts in the country, he has two hour course on retainer agreements.

So it can be a treasure trove of information even after because it sticks in your head and then you think, oh, I took that great online course. If you went to a live lecture, and you probably wouldn’t even be able to remember the person’s name, or you would think, oh, I don’t even have the materials for that, but with our website, you come back on and access materials even a year after you have taken it, and even, what I tell a lot of people we offer downloadable formats as well. So you can download any of the copies as an MP3 in audio format. They can download any of the copies as an MP4 video format.

So whenever I talk to attorneys I tell them, hey, if it’s something that you think you are really going to need in your practice or it’s going to be valuable for you, download a copy of the video. You are going to have it in perpetuity right there on your computer. You can access it at any time.

Christopher Anderson: Yeah, I think that could be really useful, especially if there is content that is, like you said, can actually help them in a case or help them with their business.

One last pain point I would like to talk about is, I am a member of the bar in more than one state, and more and more attorneys that I run into that’s true of, as the practice of law kind of broadens out and people practice all over. And one of the headaches that I think I have and I am sure a lot of other people have is keeping up, have I done my hours, have I covered the requirements in all the jurisdictions in which I practice, have I got my professionals requirement, have I got my ethics requirement, have I gotten my trial practice requirement. What can CLE service providers, particularly online ones, do to help with that management of your hours to make sure that you are getting it all in?

Jason Castillo: I think that there is a couple of different key areas where providers can help, and that’s kind of the beauty of what we do too is that with attorneys, like you mentioned, if you are licensed in New York, a lot of times the attorney is licensed in New York and New Jersey, or we get a lot of attorneys, they are New York and Florida or New York and California, and as you mentioned, some of these attorneys — some attorneys are licensed in seven, eight, nine, ten different states and every single state has different requirements, different cycles, different ethics requirements.

(00:30:05)

So we offer CLE in 48 states and with a lot of the courses they can take one course and that course is accredited in five different states, so they can get five different certificates for taking one course. So that’s one big area where we can help you maintain compliance with one course in multiples states.

And then in addition, what I love about our business and our company with Attorney Credits is we are constantly growing and improving. So anytime we have an issue, anytime there is a small thing that pops up, we put it in our notes and we are going to come out with our third major revision of the website, it’s going to be so much smarter and responsive.

So for example, Christopher, in California you have to get 25 total credit hours.

Christopher Anderson: Wow, each year? Every two years?

Jason Castillo: I am sorry, let me backup, 25 total credit hours every three years, exactly, it’s a 3-year cycle. And so California is one of the few states to have different credit types. So they have self-study participatory credit. So that’s what a lot of attorneys do.

Unfortunately, they will take all self-study courses. So we realize this, so we are going to put a system in place where it tracks the credit you have accumulated, and when you get to 12.5 hours of self-study, it won’t let you take self-study anymore.

Christopher Anderson: To help them from overdoing that because they have to go get — the remainder has to be live.

Jason Castillo: No, participatory just means the provider verifies your participation, so they can still do participatory online; we just have to put certain checks in place to make sure that they are there.

So any state; New York, say you have 24 credit hours, 4 of those have to be legal ethics, our system and the next revamp is going to be so smart, it will send you emails telling you that you don’t have enough ethics yet. It’s so smart, it will send you emails telling you, hey, you have only got 60 days left to take your courses and you haven’t started anything yet.

So we are getting to the point now where our website with the next version is going to be so responsive, it’s going to track your CLE for you.

Christopher Anderson: That would be beautiful. Coming towards the end of the program, Jason, one thing I would like to ask you to do is just like, if you could just — like basically if we were live I would say turn to the audience, but speak to the audience directly, if you will, and just tell them how can attorneys become better consumers of Continuing Legal Education, and by better consumers I mean how can they get more value out of the service that people like you and other Continuing Legal Education service providers give.

Jason Castillo: Well, I think you have to start with the proposition that all not CLE does suck, that CLE can be a huge developmental tool for your practice professionally, and it can make you a better lawyer, and if you are a better lawyer, you have better client service. At the end of the day, you are going to be a happier lawyer and you are going to make more money at the end of the day, and you are going to have a better name in your legal community against other attorneys and potential clients as well.

Christopher Anderson: Great. Well, thank you. Our guest today has been Jason Castillo. Jason, can you give people your Twitter handle.

Jason Castillo: Yeah, if you are looking for us on Twitter, it’s going to be @attorneycredits.

Christopher Anderson: And of course your website is  HYPERLINK “http://www.attorneycredits.com” www.attorneycredits.com.

Jason Castillo: Correct.

Christopher Anderson: Excellent, @attorneycredits. Well, our guest today has been Jason Castillo, thank you very much.

Jason Castillo: Thank you so much Christopher.

Christopher Anderson: Thank you very much. And this is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you.

Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at  HYPERLINK “legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thank you for joining me and I will be talking with you again soon.

Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.

Thanks for listening to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. Join us again for the next edition, right here with Legal Talk Network.

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Episode Details
Published: September 14, 2016
Podcast: Un-Billable Hour
Category: Best Legal Practices
Podcast
Un-Billable Hour
Un-Billable Hour

Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.

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