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Can it be? Fun CLE?

Posted By Anna Wrisky, Friday, September 16, 2016
Updated: Monday, October 24, 2016
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What can CLE providers do to make their seminars more entertaining and enjoyable for their attendees?

Check out this article, listing a few ideas for how to make seminars fun, posted in the ABA Journal.

Tags:  attendees  CLE  fun  seminar 

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Review of The Checklist Manifesto

Posted By Alexandra Wong, Law Society of Ontario, Friday, July 15, 2016
Updated: Friday, July 15, 2016
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A few weeks ago, I received an email with a suggested reading list ahead of the annual conference in Seattle and one book on the list caught my attention – The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

The Checklist Manifesto

It caught my eye for a number of reasons. I work with checklists on a daily basis whether I’m planning, developing or delivering CLE programs.

In my pre-CLE life, I worked in licensing exam management. There is no doubt in my mind that without checklists, the licensing exam management process would not run flawlessly with no errors. Having been through licensing processes in the financial services and legal service industries, I know that there is no room for errors at any stage in the process. Version management and seat assignment are integral to maintain the integrity of the process. From room set-up to break scheduling to catering requirements, a checklist is required.

In CLE, the same principles apply. In planning and developing a program, there are numerous steps involved that cannot be missed in order to ensure a successful program. There are also a number of people who are involved in the process, in addition to the faculty, so success would not be possible without a checklist. On the delivery side, from room set-up, to catering, to communications with attendees (prior to/during a program), all aspects depend upon and require a checklist.

Although Gawande’s research is mainly in the healthcare field, he looks at other industries, including aviation and construction, in relation to checklists. It is clear from his research that checklists make a difference and they work, regardless of the industry.

Checklists reduce the probability for human error. Checklists act as a guide to all steps that need to be completed. In aviation, not only do pilots have a checklist of procedures that need to be followed before a flight departs, but they also have a checklist of procedures to follow in the event of an emergency while in-flight. In medicine, particularly in performing surgeries, there is a team working on one patient; however, there are a number of procedures for each of those team members to follow. In construction, each step in building a structure is critical to the subsequent step and there is a fairly large team involved in the process.

Gawande shares an interesting example of the importance of a checklist. Well-known rock band Van Halen has an extensive list of requirements that covers key items such as the set-up of staging, sound equipment, lighting and security needs and nutritional requests for the band and crew when they are on tour. In the band’s contract with concert promoters, there was a specific clause: “no brown M&M’s”. They did this to ensure that the promoter read every single word in the contract. If the brown M&M’s appeared, the band did a complete audit of the full stage and sound setup to ensure everything was perfect. The idea was that if the tour venue was not careful in the “little things” — like ensuring there were “no brown M&M’s” — they couldn’t be trusted to be careful in key safety issues like proper heavy equipment installation. The devil is in the details. This is an example of a minor detail in a list of many, but it goes to show how important it is to follow a checklist, in this case a list of requirements.

Once developed, checklists can always be refined. I find myself doing that regularly after every CLE event. Slight tweaks and improvements make for continued success in events. This was especially the case when I worked in delivery of licensing examinations. When I started, a checklist did not exist. I was overwhelmed with the specific details that needed to be looked after, and my solution was to create a checklist. In my mind, I walked through the process from start to finish. As I did that, I put each step down on paper and translated it to a checklist for pre-exam day, exam day and post-exam. After each exam cycle and before the beginning of the next, I would review the checklist and make the necessary changes.

Gawande provides the reader with “A Checklist for Checklists,” that is, a guide to preparing checklists that work. He suggests three stages in the development of a checklist: development, drafting and validation. In the development stage, Gawande suggests adding items to the checklist that would improve communication among team members, something I would have never thought of, but a definite “best practice” tip. Another question he asks is, “were all members of the team involved in the checklist creation process?” There is no doubt that when several people are involved in a project, the checklist will affect them and their processes, so they should be consulted.

Gawande recommends that checklists be short, fit on one page, and have a title that reflects the objectives. He suggests that the checklist be tested with the people involved — in either a real or simulated situation — to make necessary adjustments to ensure the checklist works. He also suggests that once the checklist is put into action, it gets reviewed every so often to ensure it’s kept up to date and relevant.

The author reports that research has found that, without a checklist, the chance for error was higher. With a proper checklist in place, the chance for error decreased.

In CLE, whether we plan or deliver programs, checklists work. With a checklist in place, there is less chance for mistakes and missed deadlines. As good as I have been with creating and using checklists, I am looking forward to additional best practices from Larry Center, Georgetown Law Centre CLE, Donita Douglas, InReach and Paul Unger, Affinity Consulting Group in the “Be a Checklist Ninja!” workshop at the Annual Conference in Seattle.

Tags:  Atul Gawande  checklist  checklist manifesto 

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Connecticut Judges Approve MCLE to State’s Lawyers

Posted By Alexandra Wong, Law Society of Ontario, Monday, June 27, 2016

As of January 1, lawyers licensed in Connecticut will have to complete 12 hours of CLE annually. For more information, see the article that was posted in the Connecticut Law Tribune.


Tags:  CLE  Connecticut  MCLE 

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Things to do in Seattle

Posted By Heather Elwell, Association of Law Officers of the Crown, Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The summer 2016 ACLEA Conference is just around the corner, and this time it’s in SEATTLE! 

Hopefully everyone is excited for another fabulous conference in this amazing city.    

If you’re looking for some things to do (on top of the wonderful happenings planned for the conference of course) here are some of the city’s top tourist attractions (vouched by locals).

Pike Place Market

Distance from hotel: 0.4 miles

There is nothing like a market to get a truly local experience of a city. This market located on the English Bay waterfront was built in 1903. The vendors range from local farmers, to cheese artisans, chocolatiers and craftspeople. They also have a bunch of cute little restaurants and buskers keeping the spirit alive.

The first ever Starbucks location was opened in this market. Apparently the line is always super long, but worth it to just get a chance to check out where it all began… where your favourite drinks were born! 

Check out the Pike Place Market Map & Visitors Guide

Fun fact about the Pike Place Market: Pike Place Market is the longest continuously operating farmer’s market in America.

Space Needle

Distance from hotel: 0.8 mile

Experience the view from Seattle's world famous Space Needle. There is an observation tower and a revolving restaurant perched 150 m up. The elevator travels at 4.5 m/s, getting you all the way up in 41 seconds. Hope you’re not scared of heights!

Fun fact about the Space Needle: When the Space Needle was first built in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

Alki (Beach) Point

Distance from hotel: 8.7 miles

Alki point has a two and a half mile long pedestrian walkway, a long strip of beach and an amazing view of the Seattle skyline.

Fun fact about Alki (Beach) Point: The Denny Party (pioneers who left Illinois in a westward-bound wagon party) is credited with founding Seattle when they settled at Alki Point on November 13, 1851.

Capitol Hill

Distance from hotel: 1.4 miles

This is the city's most prominent nightlife and entertainment district. There is so much to do in this little character-filled neighborhood – full of restaurants, cafes, shopping and entertainment.

Fun fact about Capitol Hill: Look out for the huge statue of Jimmy Hendrix rocking out on the sidewalk!

Gum Wall

Distance from hotel: 0.5

Make your mark on Seattle! The 15x50 foot wall covered in gum is a local landmark. It was apparently scrubbed down in 2015, after a 20-year gum collection, but the new collection has been evolving quite rapidly. The overall reviews seem to generally say “strange, but interesting attraction”. 

Fun Fact about the Gum Wall:  It was named one of the top 5 “germiest” tourist attractions in 2009. Watch out germaphobes!


Distance from hotel: 3.0 miles

Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, known locally as "The Center of the Universe", is notorious for its quirky atmosphere (although the recent arrival of some larger businesses, has started to undercut its bohemian image). If independent restaurants and shops, public art and dive bars are you’re thing, this is the place to be.

Fun Fact about Fremont:  Under the Aurora Bridge is a massive concrete statue of a one-eyed troll eating a Volkswagen Bug. So quirky.

Tags:  52nd Annual Meeting  Seattle 

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Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) names former Thomson Reuters VP Kelly Lake as Executive Director

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 5, 2016
Updated: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kelly Lake
Kelly Lake, Executive Director of CEB


Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) is pleased to announce that Kelly Lake has been named its Executive Director. A strategic business leader with extensive experience in the publishing and information sector, Ms. Lake brings expertise in building best-in-class rich-content and technology-based information and learning platforms.


Prior to joining CEB, Ms. Lake held key positions with Thomson Reuters in the UK and Asia, working to deliver a variety of legal workflow solutions and practice tools. Ms. Lake also has a decade of experience building local instances of the flagship Westlaw brand in the UK, China, and India.


Dean Wayne Smutz of UCLA Extension commented on the appointment: "We are thrilled that Kelly Lake has joined CEB. Kelly is an A-player: she is extremely savvy in the fields of business and information technology; sees challenge as opportunity; and has crafted, collaborated on, and delivered success after success. We welcome her expertise and look forward to her leadership."


Ms. Lake joined CEB as Interim IT Director in 2015, and has been working with its senior team to develop and execute the transformation of one of California's longest-standing legal publishers and providers of continuing legal education into a digital-platform organization. "I am thrilled to be at the helm of such an esteemed organization, with its amazing commitment to serving the California legal community. We are at a time when the legal profession and lawyers are navigating a multitude of changes, and I see this is as a unique opportunity for CEB to deliver content and tools that match the needs of an emerging generation of lawyers," said Lake.


CEB, the leading source for legal education and legal research solutions for California lawyers, is a self-supporting program of the University of California that is cosponsored by the State Bar of California. Founded in 194 7 with the mandate to cultivate the professional development of California lawyers, CEB was the first organization to offer formal continuing legal education in the state.

Tags:  CEB  Continuing Education of the Bar  Executive Director 

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Welcome to the ACLEA Blog!

Posted By Alexandra Wong, Law Society of Ontario, Friday, April 15, 2016

As I compose this first ACLEA blog entry, I’m reminded of several reasons why I value my membership with ACLEA, but one sticks out in my mind right away.  ACLEA members have fantastic ideas and content and are willing to share information with other members.  They are a great resource network for relevant and timely information in the CLE industry.


For instance, Susan Munro, CLEBC, recently wrote an article, “Helping New Lawyers Become Practice-Ready” which was published in on March 16, 2016. This article is extremely relevant to all ACLEA members. As CLE professionals, we’re faced with the task of trying to bridge the gap between the completion of law school and the start of professional practice. 


At our past conferences in San Diego and Savannah, we heard the same challenge from Frank Wu, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of Law and from Professor Patrick Longan, Mercer University, School of Law, respectively. The stats from Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, a national initiative to align legal education with the needs of an evolving profession, demonstrate this as well.


This is just an example of relevant issues that our members make note of in different forums outside of ACLEA that affect CLE professionals.


Another way ACLEA is great at sharing info or asking questions is via our listservs. There are listservs that are open to all ACLEA members: general discussion, executive leadership, international, marketing, publications, technology and programming. There are also listservs specific to organizational SIGs: entrepreneurial, in-house, law schools, local and speciality bars, nationals, regulators, and state and provincial bars. The listservs promote the exchange of information among ACLEA members on matters relating to CLE and ACLEA.


In-person networking opportunities at the ACLEA Mid-Year and Annual Conferences are another great way to share information.   Here are some photos from recent conferences. 


ACLEA event photo


ACLEA event


We hope that this blog acts as an additional avenue in the sharing of information among members and welcome contributions from all ACLEA members.


If you wish to make a contribution to the blog or for further information, please contact the editors of the In the Loop Newsletter via email to or

Tags:  Chicago  CLE  Communications  Networking  Savannah 

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