November 10, 2004

Continuing Legal Education

NY State, in its infinite wisdom, has decreed that I must accomplish 24 hour credits of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) in order to renew my license to practice law every two years. It is a self reporting system. Theoretically, they can audit you but I've never heard of it happening. No matter, I will comply because I can't actually contemplate signing my name to a false affirmation that I did comply. And if I could contemplate doing so, no amount of CLE is going to make a difference. Certainly not the 4 hours of ethics. I figure that if you make a knowingly false affirmation, you are beyond the help 4 hours of ethics can provide.

One nice thing is that I can do it by way of streaming video over the internet. I am picking among the following interesting (said with no irony at all, that's how pathetic I am) looking classes:

*Evidence and Objections: Laying Foundations for Introducing and Raising and Rebutting Evidence

*Credibility and Cross Examination by Irving Younger (A giant of the trial bar)

*Hearsay (also by Younger)

*Nuts and Bolts of New York Appellate Practice

*Summary Judgment in New York: A Review

*Avoiding Professional Malpractice

There are also some good bankruptcy programs on asset protection.

I look back on this list and I weep with the knowledge that I am actually looking forward to a little evidence refresher. How reduced I have become.

Still, as for a bright spot, at least I am not in Minnesota, where:

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order making ethics and diversity training mandatory for Minnesota attorneys. As of July 1, 1996, lawyers licensed in Minnesota are required to take three hours of ethics courses and two hours of elimination of bias training as part of the 45 credit requirement to keep their attorney licenses up to date.

The University of Minnesota allows you to meet this requirement with this kind of silly course:

ENGL 3741: Literacy and Cultural Diversity 4 credits

Meets CLE req of Citizenship/Publ Ethics Theme; meets CLE req of Cultural Diversity Theme

Description: Through reading, writing, and community action, this course examines the function and variety of literacies in contemporary U.S. culture. Readings in literary, sociological and pedagogical theory, imaginative literature, autobiographies and memoirs, will engage students with the idea of literacy. By working in community organizations, students will enter into the complex practices of literacy among young school students or adult learners, with long-time citizens as well as newly arrived residents from Africa, Mexico, South Asia, and elsewhere. Reading across history and culture, but with a special emphasis on the vexed case of U.S. literacy, we will think about inscription and exclusion, the politics of power and knowledge, institutions and disciplines of literacy and literature, about race and schooling, about migration and disapora [Ed. comment: SIC!!! This is so stupid that they cannot even spell DIASPORA. It's DIASPORA, you idiot!!! There, I feel better now and return you to the course description], and about the possibilities for renewed and revolutionary literacies. Readings may include works by Paulo Freire, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Franz Kafka, Frederick Douglass, Zitkala Sa, Nuruddin Farah, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Myung Mi Kim, Anne Fadiman. As part of the course, students commit to 2 hours a week of literacy work (broadly defined) in a local community organization. A one-day literacy training session, usually scheduled for a Saturday early in the semester, along with a variety of on-site trainings, will help students prepare for their community work.

Class Time: In addition to course work, a 2 hr/week service commitment off-campus

Work Load: Assignments will include a reading and reflection journal, a literacy autobiography, several short writing assignments, an in-class presentation, and a final project.

I'm sure that the clients of Minnesota are better served by lawyers who can fight their way successfully through bull shite like this. 100% sure, I am.

As this blogger points out, the real problem is that there is really only one stream of ideology that qualifies for inclusion in this curriculum. Guess which one? If you guessed conservative, you're wrong! The lawyers in Minnesota have tried to litigate this requirement and lost.

I guess I'm grateful for the small favor that if I have to take CLE, at least I can pick professionally useful classes and am not required to pay someone for the privilege of brainwashing.

Back to evidence!

Posted by Random Penseur at November 10, 2004 09:29 AM

Sounds very Minnesota.
I grew up there.
As both my parents are teachers, I firmly believe in education, discretion, and free will: if one is required to take one course that involves brainwashing, they should take a course in its philosophical opposite.
For example, as a counterweight to diversity training, they could have another course, like a dissemination of Rush Limbaugh's greatest hits.

Posted by: emily at November 10, 2004 09:51 PM

I agree about the need for balance and counterweight. I'm just not sure Rush is the answer to anything, really.

Posted by: RP at November 11, 2004 10:42 AM
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