Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Proposing an ABA YLD CLE But Were Afraid to Ask
By Melissa Dewey Brumback
Melissa Dewey Brumback is an assistant editor of The Affiliate and practices with the firm of Ragsdale Liggett PLLC in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Did you ever wonder how the ABA YLD determines what continuing legal education programs to offer at its conferences? Ever wish the YLD would hold a CLE program on a particular subject that you are interested in? Perhaps you hold a desire to give back to your legal profession? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on.
Led by Team Coordinator David Johnson, a partner at Miller & Martin PLLC in Nashville, Tennessee, the CLE/Professional Development Team designs, implements, and oversees the ABA YLD’s CLE program offerings each year. What that means in a nutshell is the team meets regularly to review and recommend CLE proposals to the ABA YLD Cabinet, then assists the CLE proposer/sponsor in implementing the actual CLE.
Anyone in the YLD can propose a CLE program topic by filling out a Program Presentation Nomination proposal. The CLE Team, made up of six dedicated YLD members from across the nation, reviews proposals for CLE seminars from individuals, YLD substantive law committees, and bar entities. The Team then makes recommendations to the YLD Cabinet on which CLE proposals best meet the YLD’s mission and goals, including widespread YLD appeal, diversity of presenters, and originality of topic. After the CLE Team makes its recommendations and the YLD Cabinet acts, the selected proposals are placed on an upcoming conference agenda. The CLE Team then contacts the nominating person or group to assist in making the CLE program a truly successful event. The Team does this by appointing a specific team member to act as point person for the CLE topic proposer/sponsor and to assist with obtaining CLE credit, soliciting manuscripts, advertising the program, and confirming speakers.
Interested in submitting your own CLE proposal? Your first step is to visit the ABA YLD’s CLE program nomination webpage at www.abanet.org/yld/programpresentationform.html
to submit your suggestion.
You will be asked such questions as which (if any) ABA entities you are working with, whether the program has ever been presented before, and who might be potential speaker(s). Many YLD CLE presenters, for example, combine forces with a senior bar committee in the same substantive area to generate speakers and support.
Although the interactive CLE program webpage asks for many particular details, you should not hesitate to submit a proposal even if you do not have all the details worked out. According to Johnson, you can submit a general CLE concept proposal, with details such as the exact speaker panel to be determined later. The CLE Team can even assist you with identifying appropriate speakers for the chosen CLE topic.
For the best chance for your CLE proposal to be accepted, Johnson suggests the following:
• Do not let the absence of all CLE details dissuade you from submitting a proposal.
• Be mindful of the criteria, including not picking a topic that is too specialized or too narrow for the ABA YLD membership as a whole.
• If possible, line up a well-known speaker, or identify potential speakers, in your proposal.
• If your speaker(s) represent(s) a diverse group or otherwise meet(s) the YLD goal of diversity at conferences, indicate that in your proposal.
Although this year’s CLE proposal deadline has passed for the Miami and Montréal conferences, the Team is still accepting proposals for the 2007 ABA Annual Meeting, to be held in August 2007 in San Francisco, California.
Moreover, in addition to live CLE programs at ABA YLD conferences, the CLE Team is in the process of implementing CLE teleconferences. The first ABA YLD teleconference on internal investigations was held earlier this year. Further, in conjunction with the senior bar, the YLD offers its members free CLE programming through online CLE programs, including more than forty programs available in the CLE Library, which can be accessed at www.abanet.org/cle/clenow/home.html.
The CLE Team is accepting proposals for teleconference CLE programs year-round.
The CLE programs offered at both the conferences and through the teleconferences are all offered free of charge to members of the ABA YLD. Now it’s your turn to make sure those CLE topics are useful to you and your colleagues by stepping up to the plate and proposing your own substantive CLE program. With the support and assistance of the entire CLE Team behind you, submitting a CLE proposal should be a breeze. Think of the skills you will learn, the contacts you will make, and the good will you will generate!