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MSBA Continuing Legal Education Committee

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MSBA Continuing Legal Education Committee
Annual Report, 2000-01

As our 2001 fiscal year draws to a close, I am pleased to report that the past twelve months have been both active and productive. By the close of the fiscal year, we will have developed and presented 147 original seminars with more than 450 video presentations at 26 locations throughout Minnesota. Registrations will be approximately the same as last year, numbering 28,000.

MSBA–sponsored programs provide a major financial benefit to all members, this year amounting to more than $575,000 in tuition discounts. In addition, more than $29,000 has been returned this past year to local, outstate bar associations through the SVSN partnering program in conjunction with the 500+ video replays presented throughout the state. The process also supports major discounts, including free attendance for all law students and 50 percent off for all lawyers and staff members employed by legal aid organizations.

The strength of Minnesota CLE remains its institutes, its orientation toward innovation and the extremely high quality of the programming and services provided to Minnesota lawyers. In this regard, both formal and informal attendee evaluations continue to be extremely positive.

Our advanced practice seminar series have continued to grow in popularity with particular success in the commercial practice and estate planning areas. These topics and formats provide an educational experience for sophisticated practitioners, not otherwise available in Minnesota. Also, the expansion of our Annotated Document Series has proved most successful and we now have 26 annotated documents, which are available as a seminar, in written, and in electronic form. Another success involves the complete redesign of the annual Bridge the Gap program for new admittees, converting it into the weeklong, 10-session, "New Lawyer Experience."

The First Annual Litigation Short Course---a program which addressed the very latest developments in fast paced, four-hour format proved to be an appealing "annual event" for Minnesota litigators. The program content, which covered rules changes, the latest decisions and civil appellate procedure was highly rated by everyone in attendance.

Minnesota CLE continues to provide the majority of the ethics and elimination of bias in the legal profession training offered to Minnesota lawyers. During the past year, our curriculum included 12 programs which were replayed at 23 of the 25 greater Minnesota locations.

Competition from other Minnesota-based providers continues to increase, in particular because of the initiation of a major CLE effort by the Hennepin County Bar Association and by the revitalization of the William Mitchell Center for Law & Leadership. In addition to these traditional seminar efforts, West Publishing is collaborating with the National Practice Institute to develop web-cast programs for the Internet. In response to these emerging competitive efforts and in order to maximize our own use of emerging technologies, Minnesota CLE is establishing its own online training effort through the E-Commerce Initiative. This will involve a redesign of the web site, the creation of a web-based CLE delivery system, and the design and production of web- cast programs.

During the past year the organization has undergone important internal changes. The entire business software system has been replaced, a new publications manager has been added and, sadly, a longtime and highly valued employee, Lori Vanney, departed the organization after twelve years. We wish her well in her new career at Medtronic.

A major program design initiative for the coming year involves three separate corporate practice-related efforts. The first is the development of two new seminars directed specifically to in-house corporate practitioners from 20 of Minnesota’s largest corporations. The initial effort in this regard was chaired by Jim Hale and generated rave reviews. The second involves the design of a corporate practice curriculum to teach judges (and lawyers) about how corporations function. The third effort is the development of a "business boot camp for lawyers" directed at commercial practice associates and designed to help them better understand corporate finance and related issues.

As the year concludes, I wish to thank the members of our Board of Directors and the staff for their excellent efforts on behalf of the Minnesota bench and bar.

William C. Kuhlmann

- Last Updated 10/13/02 -