Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : September 2006

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Cle Top Priority for MSBA President

MICPEL goes high-tech

Continuing legal education is one of MSBA President Edward J. Gilliss' top priorities this year, and a fitting tribute to the Maryland Institute of Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (MICPEL) as it celebrates 30 years of service to Maryland lawyers in the next 12 months. Gilliss characterizes MICPEL, MSBA's legal education arm, as "a valuable continuing legal education (CLE) resource for all Maryland lawyers." In the coming year, he plans to strengthen this resource by advancing technology "to better connect MICPEL's CLE opportunities with Maryland lawyers."

Soon, lawyers on
treadmills and
lawyers at traffic lights
could be listening to
CLE lectures on issues
such as mechanics'
liens and securities

Edward J. Gilliss
MSBA President

"Today MSBA members, as consumers of CLE, are beginning to expect legal content to be available in various electronic formats," explains Gilliss. "MICPEL does a great job of encouraging practitioners to share expertise with others in the Bar by preparing oral and written materials; it should also ensure its information gets to all attorneys who will benefit from it. Therefore, MICPEL must take advantage of new technologies now available for the delivery of content."

Under Gilliss' leadership, MSBA will help MICPEL capitalize on new technology to support the Association's busy practitioners who must juggle law practice requirements with time for family, community activities and CLE programs. To ease the "time commitment" burden on multi-tasking attorneys and help them use their time more efficiently while bettering their skills, Gilliss wants to expedite MICPEL's CLE "content delivery through new technology, including podcasts and other electronic formats."

To oversee this undertaking, Gilliss has created a Special MSBA/MICPEL Task Force, chaired by Michael D. Oliver, and asked it to explore the high-tech CLE frontier. “The mission of the task force is to have MSBA, as the consumer of continuing legal education, work hand-in-hand with MICPEL, as the provider of CLE, to ensure that both entities achieve their desired goals,” reports MSBA’s President.

In 1976, MICPEL was created by MSBA and the University of Baltimore and University of Maryland Schools of Law to consolidate the state's CLE efforts into one non-profit, independent agency. "MICPEL is a partnership between our two law schools and MSBA," reports Gilliss; hence, representatives from all three partners will be involved in the Task Force. "Together, MSBA and the law schools are MICPEL."

MSBA's President has directed the Task Force to "explore some kind of web-based methodology so that lawyers from distant parts of the state can meet, almost in a live format, and broaden CLE opportunities for all Maryland lawyers." Gilliss is encouraging MICPEL to "move toward a web-based platform to give MSBA members the added option of downloading seminar materials in podcast fashion to iPods across Maryland."

"Podcasts will be one more tool to aid lawyers in managing their time," explains Gilliss. He envisions the "availability of CLE seminar materials via web-based meetings and podcasts so lawyers can download the information onto their iPods or MP3 players and listen at their convenience. Soon, lawyers on treadmills and lawyers at traffic lights could be listening to CLE lectures on issues such as mechanics' liens and securities regulations."

MSBA's President also reinforces his strong support for "face-to-face contact between lawyers because personal contacts are very important to lawyers and the legal profession." MICPEL's traditional CLE programs will continue to flourish. "Interaction in MICPEL classrooms is valuable because it builds relationships," stresses Gilliss.

However, he adds, "for our Bar to benefit from the participation of lawyers from all corners of our state, we also need to find ways for real-time interaction without travel-time burdens, which occur in some jurisdictions. Lawyers might travel three or more hours to reach MSBA headquarters or to attend a MICPEL seminar. Web-based technology offers a vehicle to our members to have real-time contact and interaction."

"All lawyers are swift to agree that CLE is an important component of the practice of law," concludes MSBA's President. "MICPEL is and should continue to be the first place Maryland lawyers turn when seeking CLE. My hope is that MSBA members will take advantage of MICPEL's excellent course offerings and written materials even more often when they are made available in various electronic formats."

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: September 2006

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