Legal Education for Legal Consumers?

We have suggested in many of our posts that legal consumers should educate themselves on the law in an effort to level the playing field with their attorneys and the legal system. But short of applying to law school, how can legal consumers educate themselves?

CLEWell, 93-year old Harold Kent is auditing classes at Yale Law School.  According to the October 10, 2014 New Haven Register article titled, Randall Beach: It’s never to late to go to Yale Law School, Mr. Kent had planned as a young man to attend law school after graduating from Ohio State University.  But after being “pulled” into the Infantry in his last year of college and spending two and a half years in the Army, including fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, law school “was the farthest thing” from his mind.  Instead, he went into his father’s formal wear business, outfitting George H.W. Bush, George C. Scott and Paul Giamatti. After 35 years, he sold the business and was recruited by a local real estate company to start its new Business Opportunities Department.

Three years ago, Mr. Kent approached the Yale Law School dean about auditing classes. Although Yale had not allowed non-registered students to audit classes before, the dean authorized it so long as Mr. Kent obtained permission from each professor.  Three years later, Mr. Kent notes: “I’ve never had a professor turn me down.”

While auditing law school classes is one way to learn about the law, there are other, less time-consuming, opportunities.  “Continuing Legal Education” or “CLE” programs offer many basic, practical legal courses that address virtually all areas of the law.  CLE courses are offered by most state bar associations, national bar associations, law schools and private companies.  As simple internet search for “continuing legal education” will bring up a number of choices in your area.

Continuing Legal Education courses are a good way to learn about the law of the case or issue you are facing.  And you don’t have to be a lawyer to attend.

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