I am writing this on the plane coming home from a Bankruptcy law continuing education conference. I taught a class on Friday and attended the rest of the conference. It was held at a Ritz Carlton on the beach. I recognize that this is a terribly rough gig, but somebody’s got to do it.
There is actually more truth to that last sentence, then most people realize. Lawyers, at least in most States, are required by their State bar associations to take a minimum number of continuing education hours a year. In other words, like any good education, law school is the beginning not the end. However, even if my State didn’t require continuing education, it just isn’t feasible to stay current on all areas of my practice without help. That is where continuing education conferences come in.
I figured out years ago that the best education to help me be better what I do every day is offered Nationally, not locally. So, every year I try to go to at least one National seminar. This last week I happened to be teaching and attending.
So, during the last few days I have studied the intersection of the Bankruptcy Code with the Tax Code (I really could have used a glossary), litigation tools for stay and discharge violations, the whole world of non-bankruptcy, debt settlement procedures; current developments in case law, rules changes and proposed changes to the official forms; utilizing the new proof of claims rules to more effectively serve my clients’ interests, and ideas in marketing and office management. Oh, and in the midst of it all I taught a segment for new practitioners and legal assistants on the Statement of Financial Affairs. It was an intense couple of days, although it calmed down a lot once I was done teaching and could just be a student for a while.
At the end of the conference, my to-do list had gotten a lot longer. I now have procedures to revamp, forms to re-write, ideas to implement and areas that I know need a lot more study. More importantly, I am thinking in new ways and excited again about this strange way in which I make my living.
My clients are usually very understanding when I am out of town, but with hearings tomorrow and the next day and appointments most days this week; I am going to have to hit the ground running – hard. It was worth it, though — well, probably.