Monday, May 11, 2009

New Attorney Training

Thanks to a relatively new Illinois Supreme Court Rule, all new attorneys are required to take a 16 hour course in "basic skills" within 12 months of becoming licensed. So being that I was sworn in last May this last weekend was my last opportunity to attend this mandatory class. Thursday night I traveled to Chicago so that I could attend Friday and Saturday's day long classes. The highlights of my two days in Chicago were the great restaurants and the nice hotel.
We stayed at hotel Monaco, and I had a beautiful view from my room.
Thursday night we went to Catch 35 for fish and Friday we went to Gene and Georgetti's for pasta and steak.
Friday and Saturday were painfully long. Eight hours of various subjects most which of were redundant of each other or of law school classes. People texted, emailed and flat out slept through the program. And then there were others that took word for word notes. Personally I think the ones that took elaborate notes were the ones that have opened up solo practice due to the terrible economy. Also at the class I ran into about ten of my law school classmates. Only about five or six of them had employment the the legal field. So while the program was painfully long and boring it did make me realize that I am so lucky to a) have a job and b) have a job I enjoy and c) have a job where I am learning a lot. The fact that I have learned a lot and the fact that I have good mentors in my firm was another reason I found the lectures so boring.... I knew most of the material and the stuff that was new to me wasn't particularly interesting or useful (it was in areas I am not practicing in right now). I think that the program was probably more useful to new lawyers that are the solo practice (that I already mentioned) or to those that don't have other attorneys they can go to with questions. I also figure that the information that I knew from law school, for those who didn't already know this stuff (from not learning it in law school) they aren't going to learn/understand it now from a two hour lecture on the subject.
This "New Attorney Training Program" is a perfect example of something that sounds good in theory or on paper (like much legislation). I mean it sounds like a good idea to give new attorneys classes in basic skills to help them as they start their careers. But in all practicality there are other elements that come into play that make it less than ideal. For example the ISBA that was putting on this program is trying to cut down on costs, and in order to do so the majority of the program was on video - which takes away some of the usefulness of the program. I mean lets be honest, it is easier to pay attention to live speakers for eight hours in one day then it is to watch eight hours of video tape. And then there are also those other elements that I already spoke about, like if people didn't learn it in law school they aren't going to learn it now.... Needless to say I want those sixteen hours of my life back. And seriously I think that if the members of the Supreme Court had to sit through 16 hours of lectures I think they might change their mind on this mandatory program...


Celia said...

Ugh that does sound boring! Nice room though :)

Bea said...

New Jersey requires the same type of course and I'm in it right now. It sounds very similar to your program- it covers information that just isn't pertinent to me, and it's a drain on my time. I am SO not pleased. But at least you're done and I love the hotel room!

And you're right to have such a great attitude about the job. We are lucky.