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ACLEA President’s Column – Oct/Nov 2020

Posted By Alexandra Wong, ACLEA President, 21 hours ago
Untitled Document

It’s been several months now since we’ve all had to adjust our program delivery methods/models and to some extent our content. The COVID-19 pandemic has given all of us terrific opportunities to become more creative from a technology perspective. Some of us have even taken on additional technological responsibilities to assist with delivering programs; not something any of us would have anticipated.

With all of our programs in a virtual environment, technology, we know is not perfect. A number of factors can affect the outcome of the final product; internet bandwidth, audio/sound quality and speaker technology knowledge are just some examples.

I wanted to take some time to share with you what we have been doing in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) and some of the challenges that we are facing.

The availability of accessibility services such as closed captioning is limited with the legal system moving to a virtual platform for the most part and requesting reporter services is a challenge. For one of the LSO CPD’s recent programs, I had to go through several different vendors to try and secure closed captioning services for a program despite several weeks notice; usually, I’m able to secure a Captionist on the first request.

At the LSO CPD, we are very fortunate to have our own Production Services Team. We have relied heavily on the Zoom platform to connect all of our speakers on the backend of our webcasts; in turn, the Zoom feed is sent to our webcast system – Freestone. For the most part, our programs are delivered via live webcast with our speakers presenting from their home/office. There have been some programs where we have hosted speakers in our event space as well. In those cases, a lot of social distancing measures have been implemented to keep staff and speakers safe.  A lot of being aware of public health recommendations in process document creation on my part, but it has proven to be somewhat of a success to date.

Our Production Services Team has been able to ensure all faculty are able to see and hear each other during a program; at the same time, our faculty is able to hear the entire program while connected to Zoom. We do this by using several Zoom Rooms at the same time for each program.

We work with a webcast provider who has been able to help us with our webcast program delivery models and higher than normal virtual attendance numbers. This partnership has allowed us the capability to be creative and innovative, and at the same time, we have been able to live broadcast all of our Fall programs. During our Winter/Spring season, the majority of our programs were rescheduled or shifted to a pre-recorded format, which presented challenges in itself.

A lot of the magic happens behind the scenes from our Production Services Team who makes all the speaker transitions appear seamless from a technology perspective, the end result looks fantastic on the viewer side. At the same time, my Program Delivery Team who is used to having in-person programs has had to adjust and change their processes. They are now “Zoom Room Hopping” to check-in speakers. Not an easy task as some of our programs have over 20 speakers. 

As I write this, LSO CPD has successfully completed 3 full-day programs virtually with all faculty being completely remote with positive feedback from speakers and attendees.

It’s a huge team effort to be able to deliver the programs our members and customers look forward to, more so now that ever. We continue to improve our processes, but look ahead to future programs that will have additional elements as part of the program. For example, our annual Solo and Small Conference, has traditionally had a lot of in-person perks — professional headshots, networking, and exhibit hall on top of the content. We are starting to turn our heads to try to figure out how we can replicate the same experience in a virtual world for them. We’re several months away from the program, but as planners/programmers, we know the earlier you start to plan, the better the end result will be.

It hasn’t been easy to plan and deliver programs in a virtual world, using a hybrid model, but we are all in this for the long haul. I have attended several SIG calls and the sharing of ideas, frustrations, and best practices has been extremely helpful. Always remember, ACLEA members are in this together and we are not alone!   

Stay safe everyone, reach out to each other, and keep up the great work you’ve all be doing!

Tags:  ACLEA President  creativity  technology  virtual environments 

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In Memoriam: Anita Carr Shapiro

Posted By Gina Roers-Liemandt, JD, Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Anita Carr Shapiro

With deep sadness, I announce the passing of PLI’s President, Anita Carr Shapiro following a battle with cancer.

Anita was a long-time member and supporter of ACLEA, and I met her early on in my membership. She was generous with her support and knowledge, willing to lend a hand or even just an ear, and always with a smile and quick wit. She was a mentor and inspiration, leading her organization with great success, from who I learned so much. 

During her 20 year career at PLI, the last five as President (the first woman president in their 87-year history,) she led PLI to many accomplishments, pouring her energy, creativity and skill into developing leading programs, publications, and pro bono resources for the legal community.

Anita practiced as a litigator in New York City after receiving her J.D. from Temple University School of Law. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and attended the Columbia Business School, where she earned the Certificate in Business Excellence from the Columbia Business School Executive Education Division. She was a member of the American Bar Association Business Law Section, the Association of Continuing Legal Education, a Fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the College of Law Practice Management and an Accredited Attorney for Representation of Veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

She was committed to making a difference and giving back, and supported several organizations dedicated to the arts, helping the elderly and local communities.

This is a terrible loss for her family, friends, ACLEA, and her PLI colleagues. She will certainly be missed. 

ACLEA sends our deepest sympathies to her friends, family and colleagues during this difficult time.

Tags:  in memoriam 

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ACLEA President’s Column – Oct 2020

Posted By ACLEA, Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Did you know that ACLEA has a number of channels through which members can network with each other at any time? And all of them are easily accessible. While we await the day until we are able to reunite in-person at conference, I thought I would take to time to talk about the way we can still connect with each other.

Outside of conference and SIG/Committee Zoom meetings, there are several other ways to connect with your fellow CLE colleagues.

We have an excellent Mentor Program, where more seasoned ACLEA members are paired with those members new to CLE. It is a great way to offer/gain assistance to/from your CLE colleagues.  

ACLEA has a strong presence on social media. We have several social media channels including pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. These channels will send out announcements periodically with updates on upcoming conferences and webinars or other events and share relevant information to CLE professionals. In addition, join the conversation anytime and follow us on Twitter — @ACLEAworldwide. 

In addition, ACLEA has established listservs that facilitate the exchange of information on relevant issues to CLE professionals and ACLEA members. The listservs that are open to all members include ACLEA’s General Discussion, Executive Leadership, International, Marketing, Publications, Technology, Programming and MCLE Committee.  At the same time, there are organizational SIG listservs are dedicated to the following organizational types: Vendors and Speakers, In-House, Law School, Local and Speciality Bars, Nationals, and State/Provincial Bars.

The listservs are great way to connect with other members to brainstorm over new ideas or problems you are experiencing in your organizations or announcements of upcoming SIG/Committee meetings. ACLEA members are always willing to share and are very resourceful. When using the listservs, please be respectful of ACLEA’s Listserv Guidelines and Etiquette, which can be reviewed via this link. Connecting via the listservs is easy; one of my best practice tips is always be mindful that we all have busy inboxes, so respond directly to the sender by hitting “Reply” as opposed to “Reply All.”  Your fellow members will appreciate it. You are always free to subscribe/unsubscribe to the listservs by accessing your member profile on the ACLEA website. For more information, please see the ACLEA List Serv page

Let’s not forget that the most recent addition to our member communications channel — the discussion boards on our learning management system.  The discussion boards were created during the COVID pandemic as there was a lot of information was being shared amongst all members and we thought there was a need to reduce the clutter in member inboxes.  Be sure to check out them out here. Feel free to post resources or ask questions of other members here.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear and get help from others or share ideas and best practices; follow us on social media, sign up for the Mentor Program, join the listserv(s), or participate in our Discussion Forum that is part of our learning management system. There is an option for everyone! You never know, your next CLE problem could easily be solved by connecting with your colleagues through any of these communications channels.

I look forward to connecting with you on one, some, or all of these channels.

Everyone stay safe and let’s stay connected in as many ways as we can.

Alexandra Wong, ACLEA President

Tags:  ACLEA President  connect  learning management system  listserve  lms 

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Get to Know Your ACLEA EC Member

Posted By ACLEA, Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Untitled Document
Michael Kahn

Name: Michael Kahn

Organization: ReelTime Creative Learning Experiences

Position: Co-founder

1.  What did you do in your pre-CLE life and what brought you to the CLE world?

I was a Deputy Attorney General with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, representing the Department of Corrections and the Department of Environmental Protection.

After six years of practicing law, I became a mental health counselor.  I met my eventual business partner, Chris Osborn, on the Lawyer Support Committee of the Mecklenburg County Bar (Charlotte, NC). We have Lisa Armanini, the CLE Director of the Meck Bar, to thank for giving us our first opportunity to present a CLE program.  ReelTime CLE was formed shortly thereafter.

2.  How long have you been a member of ACLEA?

Seven years.

3.  What do you remember from your first ACLEA meeting?

Two words: “acceptance” and “warmth.”

4.  What has surprised you most about being a member of ACLEA?

The only time I was surprised was at my first ACLEA meeting in Boston. I was not expecting our “competitors” to be so generous.

5.  What other leadership positions(s) within ACLEA did you hold before joining the Executive Committee?

I was co-chair of the Vendors and Speakers SIG.

6.  What motivated you to become a member of ACLEA’s Executive Committee?

ACLEA has been a great source of support and friendships so I knew that I would enjoy working on the EC. Also, I want to help ACLEA face current challenges, particularly during COVID, and anticipate the post-pandemic environment.

7.  What would you tell someone who is thinking about running for a position on the ACLEA Executive Committee?

Talk to folks who have served on the EC so you are making an informed decision. It serves the individual and the EC well when there is a good fit.

8.  What do you think is the most important issue facing CLE organizations today?

As I noted above, facing current challenges due to COVID and anticipating the post-pandemic environment.

9.  What do you think will change about CLE in the next five years?

Sadly, less and less in-person live programming.

10.  If you weren’t involved in CLE, what do you think you would be doing instead?

Working in the film industry—either in front of or behind the camera.

11.  What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Watch films, exercise, root for my favorite sports teams (Mets, Giants, Trailblazers, Devils), all things music (sing, play the guitar, listen), eat pizza, and laugh (the last two are essential to my work life as well J).

12.  Tell us one thing that the ACLEA membership should definitely know about you.

I act in community theater.

Tags:  Executive Committee 

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The Journey From Live to Remote Training

Posted By Ruta Stropus, Professional Development and CLE Manager, Katten , Friday, August 14, 2020

(submitted on behalf of ACLEA’s In-House SIG)

My law firm went remote on March 16, 2020, due to COVID-19. We were told to go into the office, gather all necessary items, and not to return until further notice. It was a surreal feeling going into the office on that Monday and experiencing the typically bustling city of Chicago. It felt more like a ghost town than a city. The rest of the week went by like a blur—cancelling live programs, wrestling with technology, and hoping for the best.

In the weeks to come, we all wrestled with changes in our personal and home lives. When it began to dawn on us that remote work was here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future), it was time to think about online, rather than live training.

My law firm has used webinars mainly for external client-facing programs. Internally, most of our training programs were still live in one office and video-conferenced to others.  Pivoting to live, on-line programs was challenging, and here are my lessons learned.

  1. Not all remote learning platforms are the same. WebEx (meetings or events), Zoom, GoToMeeting, and all the rest each have their pros and cons. My firm had used WebEx as a platform for external programs, so we began to use WebEx for internal offerings. But what I had to learn is that even with one product, there were different functionalities, depending on whether one opted to use WebEx meetings or events. And I also had to immerse myself in those differences.  I don’t speak I.T. fluently, so this definitely took some time. But it was time well spent because, ultimately, I needed to teach my speakers about the differences, so they too could choose the right approach. 
  2. Some attorney-speakers are not comfortable with change. Not all of our partners and senior associates were comfortable presenting online. Of course, comfort of a live classroom was always something we handled (how many people to expect, classroom set up, speaker needs, flipcharts, small group breakout rooms, and the like), but now we had to think about the speaker’s lighting in his or her room, the sound, the connection and bandwidth capabilities, sharing a screen, using chat features, muting/unmuting, and the rest. I created an FAQ for presenting on-line for our speakers on these and other issues and coordinated with I.T. to make sure the speakers had time for a quick dress rehearsal. I also volunteered to be a “producer” for all internal programs, so that I could not only take care of all CLE related tasks (reminding folks to send in verification forms, noting the CLE program code, etc.), but could also handle monitoring the chat, helping with technical issues, and more. 
  3. Interactivity can be achieved on-line, but it’s different. Most of our live programs, despite my attempts at incorporating interactivity, still remained lecture based. Pivoting to an on-line format hasn’t changed delivery style. If anything, some speakers are more reluctant to try to incorporate interactive components while learning a new format for presenting. But when exposed to a presentation by Steve Hughes on how to make programs more engaging, I did see incremental change. Perhaps not putting folks into small groups to discuss an issue, but at least trying something like posing a question and asking the audience to respond in the chat feature, using polling, or asking for a quick yes/no. And, for smaller programs, asking the audience to display video, so that the speaker could make eye contact and foster a discussion.
  4. Lessons learned. As always, ACLEA members were a great resource. Knowing that I could reach out to those who had more experience was extremely beneficial. Second, being willing and able to learn details about the resources we had and their advantages/disadvantages was key. While I.T. is outstanding, sometimes you need to get your hands dirty. Immersing myself in the platforms and learning the interactive tools was key to teaching others. Finally, patience.  Not all speakers were willing, ready, or able to adapt. Some feared that their expertise in the subject matter would be undermined by their inability to handle technology.  My job was not to dismiss that fear, but to acknowledge that the technology was a bit cumbersome and did take a bit of practice. That said, it was also my job to teach the basics and take care of the rest—everything from reading CLE codes to muting/unmuting to posting polling questions. I do feel that during this time, I have forged new relationships with partner-speakers who might just be willing, over time, to try something new!

Tags:  dista  learning platforms  online training  remote learning  remote work 

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ACLEA President’s Column

Posted By Alexandra Wong, ACLEA President, Monday, August 10, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A lot has changed in recent months as we all head into a very different looking CLE/CPD season. In the CLE/CPD world, we are all exploring and using different modes of program delivery—mostly in a virtual environment. The biggest challenge to all of us is how to provide the in-person experience attendees are used to while in a virtual environment with technology obstacles such as internet bandwidth.

ACLEA’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, held this past July, was a good example of how to overcome this challenge. The standard plenary and breakout sessions were available, opportunity for members to network was made possible through the use of an app, and access to an exhibit hall was present.  All of these pieces are just some of the reasons why we as ACLEA members look forward to attending the Mid-Year and Annual Meetings.   The virtual environment did in fact make us miss each other even more, but the chat conversations in each of the sessions definitely helped.

The virtual meeting was put together in a shorter timeframe than our planning committee are typically used to. It was not easy and there were several bumps along the way, but nothing the Vancouver Planning Committee along with the Executive Committee and Ewald could not manage. A lot of work went into that and I want to extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude to everyone involved for all the heavy lifting and hard work.  The solution may not have been flawless, but the amount of work that went into putting this conference out there showed. Excellent job! Well done! This experience will definitely help us as we move forward in the new normal for our future conferences.

The months ahead will be met with a lot of uncertainty in a rapidly changing environment, but a lot of lessons have been learned in how quickly we have all had to pivot our CLE/CPD delivery methods in addition to ensuring the content we are delivering is reflective of the times we are in. Every one of us has done similar or different things in our organizations and listening to the conversations during the monthly SIG meetings and watching the dialogue on the listservs, it is evident ACLEA members are willing to share best practice, lessons learned, and are looking to brainstorm new ideas.

If you are not already participating in SIG meetings and signed up for the listservs, I really encourage you to do so. You never know, your next great idea may be right under your nose.

Stay safe everyone and keep up the great work you have all been doing in this challenging time.

Tags:  CLE  CLE/CPD  CPD  Virtual Annual Meeting 

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Effortlessly Manage CLE Programming With BeaconLive

Posted By Charlie White, BeaconLive, Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Content provided by BeaconLive, one of the sponsors of ACLEA's 2020 Annual Meeting

Choosing the right Continuing Legal Education provider… where does one even start? While today’s attorneys are turning to virtual CLE opportunities in the wake of COVID-19, an increasingly crowded online space has made it important for providers to differentiate themselves. Deploying the right delivery technology and offering an easy user experience – from registration to certification – will keep content-seeking lawyers coming back for more.

Did you know that BeaconLive is the technology provider for the American Bar Association, several AM200 law firms, and notable CLE providers? Having served the legal industry for a decade, BeaconLive offers a trusted and fully customizable content delivery platform that meets all of the pre, live and post presentation needs for CLE and legal marketing professionals. When it comes to Continuing Legal Education, BeaconLive believes there is no substitute for a credible, sleek, and professionally executed virtual event.

As a trusted and experienced partner in CLE, BeaconLive is pleased to be sponsoring ACLEA’s Networking Reception on Monday evening – join us there for the Mix & Match and other networking opportunities! With rapid fire switching, you’ll be matched with another attendee for a quick “get to know you” conversation, then automatically transferred to another pairing after 5 minutes. Meet new colleagues or catch up with friends with this fun and engaging online networking experience!

Whether you’re creating and launching virtual events or building a marketing program to promote your organization, BeaconLive’s cloud-based solutions will help you create the professional experience your viewers deserve – from start to finish. Plus, our platform scales to accommodate audiences of ANY size, our solutions come with White-Label opportunities, and our Developer’s Portal provides access to APIs, enabling seamless integration with your data management and marketing automation systems.

Beacon360 is a highly configurable content development & management solution, designed to meet your specific needs – from start to finish! The Beacon360 platform is designed to empower CLE providers to easily organize, launch and automate virtual events. Leverage the fully customizable Beacon360 Dashboard and Workflow tools to wow your customers with the ultimate in user experience and streamline your entire event attendee process—from registration to final certificate delivery.

Interested in checking out our best-in-class content delivery platform? Stop by our Booth (#7) in the Exhibit Hall at ACLEA’s 56th Annual (Virtual) Meeting and check it out with a free guided tour of our best-in-class content delivery platform. BeaconLive's technology and Event Services team can provide you with the professional experience that you deserve.

Contact Us Today to learn more about BeaconLive’s CLE Solutions!

Charlie White,, +1 (617) 901 7075 | @BeaconLive

Tags:  CLE  cloud-based solutions  continuing legal education provider  COVID-19  virtual events 

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Presenting During a Pandemic

Posted By Rick Horowitz, Prime Prose, LLC, Friday, June 12, 2020

Hello, ACLEA-Mates!

So it looks as if I’ve made the transition from Baby Boomer to Baby Zoomer...

Consider this a dispatch from the field. An after-action report you might find useful as we all grapple with these new realities for scheduling and presenting CLE programs.

In a nutshell? I now have three full-day, online, legal-writing sessions under my belt, and I’m still standing. (Well, sitting, actually – I don’t get to walk around the room the way I do in my in-person classes.) There were only a few minor technical stumbles, thanks to plenty of terrific help from my colleagues at the DC Bar and Minnesota CLE. And lots of excellent conversation – again, with thanks to my colleagues, who monitored the chat lines, launched the polling questions, shared the accreditation codes...

Anyway, I’ve noted some things that stood out to me in these first attempts, and that might be relevant to your efforts as well, on Zoom or elsewhere. Your experiences may differ, of course, and I’ll be grateful for your feedback; I suspect we’re all compiling lists of “Lessons Learned.”

Before we start, one upcoming change worth noting: At the suggestion of Brendan Ruane at the DC Bar, and quickly picked up by Tom Genung at the Connecticut Bar for a class next month: I’ll be splitting my standard full-day class into two half-day sessions instead. We’re thinking that six hours of content in a single block – even with lunch and bathroom breaks – is an especially long commitment for people who are generally working from home these days, and subject to all sorts of distractions. By contrast, two three-hour sessions on consecutive (or close-to-consecutive) days may be more manageable, and more appealing. I’m up for it, and looking forward to seeing how it works in practice.

In the meantime, a few of my early reactions to these first Zooms...

DC Bar: “Zoom Meetings”

For the two DC sessions, with relatively small crowds, I could both see and hear the participants; DC uses Zoom Meetings. I found it enabled me to read the “room” – I could respond to puzzled looks, note that someone was nodding in agreement with a prior comment, encourage a hesitant participant whose body language suggested a question forming, even see if a joke landed with its intended effect. All very helpful, plus the full complement of Zoom features: screen sharing, polling, and even breakout rooms. We can take attendance higher, I’m confident, and still make good use of most of these functions.

As for the microphones and the possibility of background noise: We started the day with all participant microphones muted, but invited participants to individually unmute themselves and dive in with any questions or comments they might have. (I also suggested that they briefly identify themselves when they did so, for those who were following by phone, and to help those who might not have been able to scan through “Gallery View” quickly enough to see who was speaking.)

At one point early on, we even had everybody unmute, just to do a test run on the background noise; it was acceptable. From time to time during the day – and this is almost inevitable – someone would forget that their mike was on and answer a phone call, or have a conversation with a housemate. We were able to gently suggest muting; no feelings were hurt, and no secrets were revealed. J And at a couple of points during the day when we wanted a particularly freewheeling discussion, and because the crowd was small enough, we invited everyone to unmute. Again, it wasn’t a problem.

We actually held off on the breakout rooms until my second DC session – our pre-session tech run-throughs had convinced all of us to be judicious in adding the various bells and whistles. But when we deployed them, they worked well – and as host, I was able to move easily among the groups, as I do in my in-person sessions. Unless you have a reason to do otherwise, I’d recommend allowing Zoom to do a random sorting for the breakouts, after you’ve decided how many rooms you want and therefore how many people should be in each room, or vice versa. Zoom will do the math and make the assignments for you.

[One interesting wrinkle: If you choose to go back into breakout rooms again later in the session, and you want to keep the group assignments the same for the sake of familiarity/continuity, you can choose “Recreate” from your breakout options, and the groupings will stay the same, rather than getting a different random sort or having to personally assign them to their original rooms.]

Videos: I bailed on using videos during these sessions – performance anxiety, I suspect, even after doing a major upgrade to our internet service here at the Wisconsin Production Center. (Also known as our dining room.) But when I couldn’t locate and launch the videos immediately, I chose to describe them instead of wasting class time searching for them. I’m hoping, with a little more practice, to use them in future sessions – or at least the videos that don’t eat up too much bandwidth and start stuttering. The tech run-throughs were very helpful for making those decisions, too.

Overall? Both DC classes went well. Huge thanks to Brendan Ruane, Suhana Rai, and Keith Wilson for tech and moral support along the way. Our next session together will be in mid-June, and most of the features I liked and used seem scalable for larger classes as well. We’re hoping the split sessions will bring in even more attendees.

And for really larger classes?

Minnesota CLE: “Zoom Webinars”

For Minnesota, with a much larger group, we used Zoom for Webinars. No cameras, no microphones for the attendees, but we urged them take full advantage of the chat function, which they absolutely did.

I was able to see the arrival of the chat messages, although apparently not their full content, while I was using Share Screen for my PowerPoint deck and workbook. What made it work was having a willing co-host/sidekick/conversation partner – in this case, MinnCLE’s Luke Olson, who kept track of incoming message traffic, and dropped in to share the comments and questions at opportune moments. (Occasionally, I’d notice the flashing chat box at the top of my screen and invite Luke in to offer up the latest arrival.)

It’s fairly labor-intensive for the co-host, but it offered a reasonable solution to the Zoom for Webinars limitation of (mostly) one-way communication. It also meant that attendees had an occasional second voice to listen to, rather than just my own for the entire session; I considered that a definite plus! Attendees seemed to like it, too.

Big thanks in Minnesota to Luke, and to Brianna Fitzgerald – and to our colleague Leslie Sinner McEvoy, who got the whole thing rolling before departing MinnCLE to launch her own consulting firm. 

Attendee Response

My goal in both locales was to offer – as much as possible in a virtual setting – the same kind of back-and-forth, give-and-take energy that has proven popular in my in-person sessions. All the features we used were chosen and deployed in ways designed to increase attendees’ comfort with the new arrangements, which we saw as a way to increase their participation.

So, for example, our first use of the chat function in Minnesota was simply to ask the attendees to tell us what room of their house they were now working in – or if they weren’t in the house, what park bench or lawn chair or tattoo parlor(!) was serving as their current base of operations.

I wanted to ease them into typing with a light and low-pressure question. I wanted them to see how – and how quickly – their responses appeared on-screen as I read them out. And I assured them that this was the one writing class they’ll ever take where they shouldn’t care about typos; I didn’t want them polishing a fifth draft of some comment and missing out on the flow of the conversation!

It seemed to work. Participation was strong in both locations, and the evaluation comments from attendees in both locations were everything I could have hoped for. Among my favorites:

  • “I really liked the interactive webinar format.”
  • "Felt like a conversation instead of a presentation.”
  • “Rick did a great job of engaging people, especially considering the move to Zoom. The content was great, too!”
  • “More interactive than most in-person CLE’s.”
  • I would highly recommend this webcast to my associates no matter what area of practice, no matter the background or number of years’ experience; there are really great tips for all of us here.”

Key takeaway: I think that the tech run-throughs were essential in getting these kinds of positive evaluations, especially for those of us who are relatively new to Zoom or similar platforms. The run-throughs made for better (if initially more modest) decisions, and much smoother results. With the logistics under control, and attendees comfortable that we seemed to (more or less) know what we were doing, we were able to focus on content. That was a plus for everyone.

Strange times, these – but we’ll get through them! Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your own suggestions and comments.


Rick Horowitz
Wordsmith in Chief
Prime Prose, LLC

“More Effective Writing Makes More Effective Lawyers”
(cell) 414.899.7178

Tags:  COVID-19  pandemic  presenting 

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3 Tips for Marketing in a COVID World

Posted By By Annette C. Buras, Chair of the ACLEA Marketing SIG, Friday, June 5, 2020

Quarantines have lifted and people are emerging from their temporary isolation from the world. This “honeymoon” phase may continue for a while and unless there is a huge uptick from COVID-19 cases, normalcy will increase with each day. Instead of “watching” life thru TV and social media, our members and customers are now slowly returning to their life … and work at the office. Although compliance periods have been extended, CLE requirements have not been eliminated so the need for educational programming still exists. Your marketing plan is more important than ever.

  1. Strengthening existing relationships and building trust with new customers is key! Your message should demonstrate that you care about and understand their challenges by creating offers, discounts, and program bundles that are especially geared for them and have value.
  2. Message and message often. Forget sending COVID messages as everyone is gloom and doom fatigued. Be uplifting, optimistic, and encouraging. The tone should be empathetic and most importantly sincere. Let your customers know that you care about them and that you are there for them when they’re ready. You, your organization, and your programs are available to serve their needs.
  3. Develop a marketing plan that slowly introduces your programming, but it should not be the main theme of your communication. Compassion and unity in a crisis are the threads to follow. The fear is still out there, so including language about all the steps you are taking to keep them as safe as possible sends a reassuring message.

The trust you built yesterday and the confidence you reinforce today will result in customer loyalty and patronage.

Tags:  covid-19  marketing 

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In Memoriam, Peter Berge

Posted By ACLEA, Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Former ACLEA and Executive Committee member Peter Berge of Saint Paul, MN passed away on February 25, 2020. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 and lived long past the time his doctors had expected. 

Peter had been an employee of Minnesota CLE for many years and had been a very active and engaged member of ACLEA. At the time of his diagnosis, Peter was president-elect; he stepped down in order to concentrate on his health. ACLEA is much better for his many contributions. He was a frequent speaker, and, after he returned to school in 2014 to earn his MBA, he started a series of “business school for CLE” sessions that he gave at many conferences. He presented on technology at many ACLEA boot camps and was such a supporter of boot camp that ACLEA’s EC established the Peter Berge Boot Camp Scholarship in his honor after he stepped down from the EC.  He also cochaired the technology SIG during his time as an ACLEA member. While on the EC, he was particularly concerned with ACLEA’s maintaining good financial health, and he did his best to ensure that. 

Peter was a true renaissance man. As well as being a successful attorney, Peter was a musician, a photographer, a world traveler, an oenophile, and a gourmet. He loved to host his friends in his beautiful home in Saint Paul, especially when “porch season” had begun and he could share vintages from his extensive wine cellar in the fresh air on his front porch. But above all, Peter was a friend to many. He will be very much missed. 

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