Jun 20, 2012

Lawline Opens its Full CLE Catalog to Free Access

I blogged earlier today about how Fastcase is disrupting the legal publishing field, providing free access to core legal research materials. In much the same way, Lawline.com has been disrupting the CLE industry. Last year, it began offering free mobile-phone access to more than 300 video CLE programs. Then, it followed that by launching a [...]

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Apr 22, 2012

After 65 Years, ALI and ABA Get a Divorce

Well this is interesting. For as long as I’ve been a lawyer, the name ALI-ABA has been synonymous with high-quality continuing legal education. Now, after 65 years together, ALI and ABA are going their separate ways. ALI gets custody of the kids.

Here’s the announcement that went out this week from the ABA:

The American Law Institute and the American Bar Association today announced that they have agreed to end their joint arrangement to provide education for the legal profession via ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education. This change will increase flexibility as each organization continues to offer legal education programs that help lawyers navigate the rapid changes in legal developments and technology. Staff members who operate ALI-ABA will continue to work for the ALI.

Meanwhile, ALI put out its own version of the announcement. It said:

The American Law Institute has begun a new chapter in its efforts to provide education for the legal profession. Since 1947, the ALI has cooperated with the American Bar Association to offer CLE through ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education. Now the ALI will begin producing CLE separately, under its own name, as will the American Bar Association. Staff members who operated ALI-ABA will continue to work for the ALI, producing hundreds of live courses each year and offering thousands of hours of on-demand CLE.

At the helm of ALI’s new CLE division will be Nancy Mulloy-Bonn, who has been ALI-ABA’s acting executive director. All of the former ALI-ABA products — which include live courses, webcasts, telephone seminars, on-demand courses, and periodicals such as The Practical Lawyer — will continue, the announcement said. No word on whether there will be a change in the www.ali-aba.org URL.

According to the ABA announcement, the relationship started just after World War II.

The joint arrangement between the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association started in 1947, when a demand for legal refresher courses for returning World War II lawyer-veterans revealed a need to ensure the continuing education for all lawyers.  The American Bar Association asked the American Law Institute to undertake the first national program of continuing education and the two organizations formed ALI-ABA.

No doubt, these are challenging times for CLE providers — not to mention for bar associations.

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Mar 16, 2011

New Site Offers Free Video ‘Nuggets’ of CLE

At the ACLEA annual meeting last summer, I gave a plenary talk, “10 Ways Technology is Rewiring Lawyers’ Brains … and What it Means for CLE.” Several times during that talk, when I wanted examples of online CLE sites that were engaged in social media, that were transparent about their products and pricing, that understood the concept of delivering value, and that highlighted consumer feedback and ratings, I kept coming back to one provider, Lawline.com. Again last month, I wrote about this company when it became the first CLE provider to offer video courses via a mobile phone.

Now it has unveiled another feature that shows it to be a step ahead of the social media curve. This time, it has launched a completely free e-learning website for lawyers, Learn.Lawline.com.

Borrowing from the hundreds of hours of video content Lawline has created, the site breaks up these videos into mini lessons that answer specific questions. Rather than sit through an entire CLE course, you can spend just a few minutes watching the segment that speaks to the particular issue you’re interested in.

Perhaps you want a quick refresher on what constitutes an employee at will.  Or you want to hear about the jurisdictional issues in setting up an online business. Or maybe you want to review the qualifications for an H1-B visa. There are hundreds of these to choose from.

Of course, Lawline is a commercial enterprise, so it is not giving away all of every course. Rather, it has extracted from each course what it describes as the “golden nuggets” of information. Depending on the course, this can range from five short clips to more than 30. If at any point you decide that you want to purchase the full course, you can, of course, do that.

Each “nugget” includes social media tools that allow you to share or e-mail the clip or embed it in a web page or blog post. Also, each short video is shown on a page that includes the relevant slides from the course presentation.

“I made it free for everyone because it just felt right,” Lawline.com CEO David Schnurman said in an announcement of the new site. “Today, the power of education is making it more accessible not locking it behind a pay wall.”

I could not agree more.

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Feb 15, 2011

Watch CLE Video on Your Mobile Phone

The online CLE provider Lawline.com has launched a mobile-enhanced website that allows all of its more than 300 video CLE programs to be viewed on most mobile phones and smartphones. While it is not the first to provide audio of CLE through a mobile phone, it is the first to make it easy to view video of courses.

Open www.lawline.com in your mobile browser and you will be redirected to Lawline’s mobile-enhanced site (or just go directly to m.lawline.com). Once there, you are presented with a list of categories (ADR, antitrust, banking, bankruptcy, etc.). Select a category to see the list of courses offered within it. Or, you can toggle the view to see a list of all courses by title.

Once you select a course, you come to a page from which you can launch the video. The page includes a description of the course and tells you the states in which it is eligible for CLE credit. From this page, you download a PDF of the course materials or an MP3 file with just the course audio. I like that the page includes reviews of the course from others who have taken it.

Embedded at random points within the videos are verification codes that you will need if you want CLE credit. These provide proof that you watched the whole video. After you’ve completed the course, you are e-mailed a certificate of completion.

So far, it costs nothing to view any of these videos on a mobile phone. I suspect that this free access is only temporary, given that Lawline describes this new mobile-enhanced version as a beta. Plus, unless you are a registered Lawline subscriber, you cannot obtain CLE credit for any of these mobile course or download any of the course materials.

Prices for Lawline courses generally run around $40 a credit. It offers a variety of subscription bundles or a full year of unlimited CLE for $499.

One minor complaint about the mobile version is that it does not show course prices — or at least I couldn’t find them.

As I mentioned earlier, there are other ways to get audio of CLE on your mobile phone.  For example, West LegalEdCenter and Practising Law Institute both have apps for the iPhone and iPad. There are a number of CLE podcasts available through bar associations and private providers.

But Lawline appears to be the first to provide video. Having now watched bits and pieces of a few of these, I can report that the mobile site is easy to use and that the videos ran without a glitch.

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Dec 2, 2009

Debate on Future of Law Firm Business Model

I am attending a debate in New York City tomorrow, Dec. 3, entitled “Evolution or Revolution? The Future of the Law Firm Business Model.” I plan to live-tweet during the debate and later to sum it up in a blog post.

The program is sponsored by LexisNexis and features a stellar line-up of panelists:

The program is scheduled  for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET, although I am not sure precisely what time the discussion will start. Anyone interested can follow me on Twitter tomorrow evening, @bobambrogi.

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Mar 6, 2009

How Lawyers Use the Web to Network

Chicago Lawyer magazine today has this piece by reporter Olivia Clarke on lawyers using the Web to network. I was one of the lawyers Clarke interviewed for the piece.

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Nov 12, 2008

Martindale Listings to Include Chambers Rankings

Beginning in February 2009, the Martindale.com lawyer directory will include rankings and commentary from London-based Chambers & Partners, Martindale’s parent, LexisNexis, announced today. The addition is part of a broader effort to enhance Martindale.com through the introduction of new tools and new sources of data, rankings and commentary, the announcement said. The Chambers guides list the top lawyers in 175 countries, providing independent rankings and editorial commentary.

A Chambers icon will appear next to profiles of those lawyers and law firms on Martindale.com that have been ranked by Chambers. Clicking on the icon will open a window linked to the Chambers Web site showing rankings and editorial commentary. These rankings will be in addition to Martindale’s traditional Peer Review Ratings and its more recently launched Client Review feature. Earlier this year, Martindale announced an agreement with LinkedIn to link lawyers’ Martindale listings with their LinkedIn profiles. It also continued to develop the beta version of its professional networking site, Martindale-Hubbell Connected, which I reviewed here earlier.

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Oct 21, 2008

Ambrogi Elected Bar Foundation Trustee

I am extremely honored to announce that I have been elected a trustee of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the premiere legal charity in Massachusetts working to increase access to justice for all people in the state. The MBF is the philanthropic partner of the Massachusetts Bar Association and is one of three charities designated to distribute IOLTA funds to programs that provide civil legal services and that enhance the administration of justice.

I have been a fellow of the MBF since 1992 and a life member since 2002. I have also served on its regional and subject-matter grant-making committees for several years. I was elected to fill the seat vacated by a retiring trustee, Carol Witt of Salem, and as such will serve an abbreviated term through January 2011. MBF President Laurence M. Johnson, a partner with Davis, Malm & D’Agostine in Boston, issued a statement announcing my election in which he said, “Attorney Ambrogi has been an active supporter of the MBF for many years, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Board. He brings a wealth of knowledge that will help the MBF to strengthen its work in promoting equal access to justice in the Commonwealth.”

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