Custom CLE Programs

Robinson Law Group, LLC is an accredited MCLE Provider.  We present continuing legal education programs for law firms and organizations for professional responsibility credit.

We will work with you and your firm or casual gathering of colleagues to design and present programs that satisfy the professional responsibility MCLE requirements.  We prefer facilitating a good discussion to lecturing, but also like to incorporate a solid exposition of the law important to the topic.  Following are presentations which our lawyers have made, either under our own auspices or through bar associations and other providers.

Professionalism

Professionalism: A Working Definition
Data compiled by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on professionalism survey will be presented in summary, and participants will be invited to discuss how survey results compare with their own experience; how unprofessional behavior impacts their practice; and what they think should be done about it.

Law Firm Bullies
Along with many employers, law firms are facing what some believe to be an escalating phenomenon of abusive partners and other supervisory employees who scream at, berate, humiliate and generally make life miserable for subordinates and colleagues. (The problem is getting national attention, with at least 13 state legislatures considering anti-bullying legislation and readers flocking to a recent publication by Robert Sutton, “The No Asshole Rule.”)

Lawyer as Moral Agent
Are we the amoral agents of our clients or should we strive to incorporate moral considerations in advising clients about objectives and how those objectives should be pursued? There are legal scholars who say that roles lawyers played in events which have fostered disrespect for the legal profession, including the Enron® debacle and the Justice Department torture memos, occurred in part because of uncritical assumptions about how that question should be answered, and that we owe the new generation of lawyers a more thoughtful and realistic vision of how values can and should be integrated into our representations.

Mental Illness and Addiction Issues

Stress and Balance and the Practice of Law
This program examines attributes of practice that are inherently stressful, the physical symptoms and impacts of stress, and some new models for practicing law that balance potentially depleting overemphasis on left-brain work with more creative and relationship-focused right-brain activity.

Addiction, Depression and Lawyers: Painful Realities
Studies show that lawyers are more likely to fall prey to alcoholism and depression than the general population. Eventually, those conditions affect a lawyer’s work and family life. This program explores the physiological components of addiction, depression and other mental illness, how those diseases affect behaviors, and what treatments or other interventions are available.

Civility

A Survey on Professionalism: Is Civility A Real Problem?
Based on studies of lawyer perceptions of the state of the profession, this workshop identifies common experiences of unprofessional behavior, where such behavior is likely to occur, and explores the underlying causes. Participants discuss best practices in diffusing unproductive and disruptive behavior and brainstorm innovative solutions for age-old problems.

Legal Ethics

Conflicts of Interest: Basic Legal Principles
The efficacy of any firm’s conflicts-checking system depends upon the sophistication and care with which lawyers in the firm decide what information will be fed to the system. This program provides an overview of the law of conflicts, covering the requirements of the rules as well as the policies underlying those requirements, using disciplinary cases and other extreme examples of lawyers making bad conflicts decisions to illustrate application of the rules. (Basic or advanced programs can be structured to focus upon conflict issues that arrive in particular practice areas.)

Alliances with Nonlawyer Professionals
This program explores the ethical constraints on doing business with nonlawyers, using examples from recent cases involving law firms that partnered with accounting firms to promote tax shelters subsequently deemed to be abusive.

Jurisdictional Boundaries on Practice
Although realities of commerce can make jurisdictional boundaries on law practice seem impractical, limits do exist and they are still enforced. This program addresses rules and principles governing cross-jurisdictional practices and how they are enforced by discipline agencies and courts.

Client Fraud
Insurers say that representation of clients who themselves engage in some level of fraud is one of the three most common sources of expensive legal malpractice claims. Not uncommonly, the client’s alleged fraudulent activities begin after the representation commences, maybe even well into a longstanding relationship. This program addresses what a lawyer is ethically require and/or allowed to do when the lawyer suspects that a client is using the lawyer’s services to support fraudulent activity by the client.

Dangerous Clients
What can/should/must lawyers do when a client communicates a threat to physically harm someone and the lawyer is concerned that the client will follow through on the threat? What are the consequences of deciding to make a report?

Undercover Investigations and the Rules of Conduct
Lawyers are prohibited from engaging in conduct that involves deceit or misrepresentation, while an undercover investigation depends upon deception. This program explores the limits on lawyers planning, guiding or participating in private stings, and government undercover work.

Ethics for Mediators
This program explores what rules and principles govern the ethics of serving as a third party neutral, including conflicts of interest affecting neutrality, ex parte communications with parties or their counsel, and confidentiality.

Himmel: The Dreaded Duty to Report
With its 1988 Himmel decision, the Illinois Supreme Court rocked the world of professional responsibility by suspending a lawyer for a year for the sole transgression of failing to report another lawyer to disciplinary authorities. The impact for Illinois practitioners has been dramatic, ranging from floods of petty complaints to bouts of acute agonizing over the prospect of making the dreaded report. This program examines what reports Himmel actually requires, what happens when a report is made, and when the ARDC is likely to pursue charges for a failure to report.

Nourishing Your Practice in a Starving Economy
Designed to answer the critical question of the times – “How do I ethically survive this downturn?” – this program is an interactive training program on how to effectively plan a unique response to the current marketplace. Participants will engage in a group problem solving session and obtain the skills necessary to apply the methodology to their own practice and lives. This program has received rave reviews and has been presented by agreement to bar association audiences as a member benefit.

Strategic Planning for Your Practice
Adapted from work done with the Harvard Program of Instruction for Lawyers and the Harvard Negotiation Project, this workshop combines the best models for practical problem solving analysis directed toward the problems in a difficult marketplace. Participants will get a hands-on learning experience, and leave with useful tools and ideas of how to thrive in these turbulent times. Create a Value Proposition, new approaches to the client intake interview, and better manage the people issues that can help or hurt a firm culture.

Diversity Issues

The Feminine Face of Justice
From earliest human community comes the wisdom that Justice is inherent in all life and is a living, ethical force itself, built into the very structure of creation. The image we connect to justice is feminine. This program introduces the goddesses of Justice, Ma’at of Egypt, Themis of Greece, and Kali of India. How does this matter to lawyers of the 21st century? Connecting ourselves to the origins of justice firmly establishes the law as a place for women to flourish, lead authentically and contribute with integrity.

The Program You Have Always Hoped For
Meet with us to create the unique custom-designed program you have been waiting for. Wait no more, and bring your best ideas, biggest needs, and tell us what you/your firm needs to know. Our experience along with your knowledge of your priorities will result in a valuable and enjoyable continuing legal education experience.