Top 10 Considerations for Selecting the Right CLE Platform

Posted by BeaconLive

Use These Tips To Find The Best Continuing Legal Education Platform For Your Team

 

Shopping around for the right CLE platform for your business can be stressful work. After all, you must offer a streamlined, professional experience to your customers. 

 

However, it's just as essential to mitigate the amount of time you or your internal team spends on administrative tasks, technical setup, and dealing with all the potential regulatory nightmares that come along with working in the ever-changing CLE rules.  

 

So, to help you out, we’ve whittled down the criteria you should consider when doing your research to our top 10 considerations. 

 

When selecting a CLE platform that will meet your organization's needs or when vetting a new vendor, here’s what you should be thinking and asking about during your search.

 

1. Support for Both Online and In-Person CLE

For your online CLE program to succeed, you must offer certificate paths for both in-person and online attendees. 

 

When it comes to distance learning, every step, from registration to content consumption to certificate delivery, should feel quick and painless, and downloading a separate app or plug-in should not be required to achieve these tasks. 

 

However, not all CLE activities take place online, so the solution you choose should enable you to manage registration, certificate, and other processes for live events that take place in person.

 

A streamlined certificate process for online and in-person CLE program participants is essential. Consider launching a social media community dedicated to supporting and connecting the two CLE groups to link the two components to one another.

 

2. Support for All State and Provincial Association Requirements

It’s no secret that every state has its own CLE requirements to which programs must adhere to receive accreditation. Here are some examples of different minimum continuing legal education rules by state: 

 

State

Minimum Continuing Legal Education Requirements 

Timeframe to Earn CLE Credits

New York

24 CLE Credit Hours

  • Minimum 4 in Ethics & Professional Conduct
  • 1 in Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination Of Bias

Every 2 Years 

Illinois

30 CLE Credit Hours 

  • Minimum 6 in Professional Responsibility 

Every 2 Years

Florida

33 CLE Credit Hours 

  • Minimum 3 in Technology
  • Minimum 5 in Legal Ethics, Professionalism, Bias Elimination and Substance Abuse/Mental Health Awareness

Every 3 Years 

California

25 CA MCLE Credit Hours

  • Minimum 4 Hours in Legal Ethics
  • Minimum 1 Hour in Competence Issues
  • Minimum 2 Hours in Elimination Bias

Every 3 Years

 

Since each bar association sets a unique set of CLE standards, you must ensure your CLE platform meets the mark for all compliance groups. 

 

The optimal way to make sure you comply with all possible CLE requirements—drilling down to the individual state and jurisdiction level—is to use a platform that enables the creation of highly customizable certificate configurations and templates. 

 

With these capabilities at hand, you can design a configuration set and template or have the platform provider do this for you. This takes care of every available credit type your organization offers.

 

3. Ability To Integrate And Support The Flow Of Data Across Multiple Platforms

Between attendees in law school, new attorneys, and seasoned lawyers looking for CLE opportunities for their law firm, your CLE program will certainly collect a lot of user data. 

 

The ability to sync that data with your other existing systems, like a CRM or marketing automation platform, is a distinct advantage and time saver. No manual uploading of spreadsheets. No cumbersome paperwork. 

 

Your CLE platform should smoothly work together with any other information centers your organization needs. If it doesn’t, you run the risk of increasing the workload of your CLA team. 

 

When searching for the right platform vendor, ensure they have the technical expertise to ensure a successful series of integrations. This will allow you to curate a list of people in the legal profession who will benefit from your webinars and webcasts and may want to participate in future events. 

 

4. Highly Customizable Workflows

How you deliver your CLE content is up to you, but it’s essential to have options! For example, once a course or unit has been completed by your customer, one logical next step in your CLE workflow might be to present them with an evaluation or survey. 

 

However, the event workflow may also include data collection, and presence checks, and the ability to configure the format is critical. It may depend on the requirements set by the accrediting bodies with which you must comply. 

 

So choose a platform with customizable workflows that allow your participants to self-study in your online courses while complying with their state’s requirements. Workflows should be flexible and easily customized to your online learners’ needs and MCLE rules. 

 

5. Automated Credit Status Management and Reporting

Once your CLE program has been approved, your organization receives an approval code. Depending on the state’s standards, this code may be suitable for a certain amount of time and maybe different for live vs. OnDemand content. 

 

For CLE providers that run many programs, it’s challenging to keep track of all these credit statuses and approval codes. However, a continuing education platform that makes this easy, houses all of the information in one place, and enables you to generate a consolidated report by pulling the info from an actionable database will lighten the administrative load.

 

6. Full-Service Support Across the Platform

Another criterion equally as important as functionality is the opportunity to partner with an experienced, full-service team. A platform with a full-service option offers benefits, such as:

  • 24/7 Customer Service 

  • Live Tech Support 

  • Live Event Services & Management Team

  • Suggested Content 

  • Notification of Rule Changes 

 

Why burden yourself with all the administrative processes when you can automate them? Why worry about all the technical details when CLE delivery experts can handle them? You can focus on content and revenue streams while your vendor does all the heavy lifting. 

 

7. Integrated Webinar and Virtual Event Capabilities

To offer high-quality CLE, you need a platform that can connect legal professionals. A reliable, hassle-free CLE solution will already have virtual event creation, management, and delivery built in. It’s a significant pain to work with multiple technologies just to put your content on display for end-users. 

 

Look out for a vendor with experience with the complexities of continuing legal education and tools that incorporate webinar delivery. The best providers offer their customers a wide range of virtual event capabilities specifically designed for continuing education courses. 

 

This will allow you to host webinars, teleconferences, virtual seminars, and other exciting virtual events that add depth to your CLE courses. Additionally, you want to make sure your technology provider has advanced platform features, including:

  • Audience Interaction tools, like chat rooms, live polling, quizzes, and questionnaires

  • Breakout rooms & breakout sessions

  • Integrated APIs

  • White-label capabilities to display sponsor & exhibitor branding

  • Detailed data & custom reporting

  • Mobile-friendly features 

  • CART & Closed Captioning for increased accessibility 

 

If your platform doesn’t have these features, you run the risk of missing out on key engagement from your attendees and important reporting data that can help you determine the success level of your online courses. 

 

8. Revenue Support

Not all learning management systems or CLE software are all-in-one solutions that enable providers to monetize their programs right from within the platform. 

 

So you must consider a solution that offers e-commerce capabilities. Best-in-class CLE delivery solutions allow you to collect fees, but they can also support your organization's sponsorship and advertising models.

 

Look for a platform that will enable you to integrate eCommerce features so your customers can pay right on your platform without having to navigate to a separate site. 

 

9. Data Security / Privacy / GDPR

Nearly everyone participating in the practice of law has heard about the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), but this point might serve as a good refresher. 

 

In a nutshell, the 2018 GDPR was enacted to safeguard the personal data of EU citizens and ensure organizations who collect and process that personal data are held accountable for its protection. 

 

This applies to CLE like any other industry, so your platform must be a secure, SSL-certified solution that enables customers to make purchases and other transactions safely. 

 

When considering your options, take note of the platform provider’s privacy policy. Is it up-to-date? If not, you risk missing out on important registrations and putting yourself in danger of violating your target audience’s privacy. 

 

10. Mobile-Friendly Interface

Last but certainly not least, the number of legal industry professionals attending online  CLE courses through an app or a mobile-responsive website is quickly increasing. 

 

Typical participation in virtual events via smartphones and tablets hovers around 33 percent, but eLearning providers have seen much more engagement with mobile learning in the last few years. 

 

Therefore, when selecting a CLE platform or LMS to help you service your end-users, it’s critical that the interface is mobile-friendly or that you can leverage a responsive design authoring tool.

 

Choose BeaconLive For Your Online CLE Needs

If you’re on the fence about your CLE platform and looking for a change, or you’re just starting out on doing your research, please feel free to contact us with questions or to request a demo of BeaconLive! 

 

Our platform was specifically designed with our Continuing Legal Education customers in mind, and our team of experts is very knowledgeable on the subject.

 

BeaconLive's solutions and 150+ product features can be offered as complete packages or delivered A-La-Carte. All our solutions integrate seamlessly and can be used to customize the solution for your organization's needs.


 

Topics: Continuing Education, Continuing Legal Education (CLE), eLearning, Legal

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FAQs

How can I write a good CLE course description?

Write an appealing CLE course description by articulating why the content is relevant, highlighting your guest speakers, and using bullets to highlight key takeaways.

Is social media good for CLE professionals?

CLE professionals can use a social network to their advantage by joining relevant LinkedIn groups, conducting market research, and using it to identify key speakers for your CLE courses.

What does MCLE stand for?

MCLE stands for mandatory continuing legal education or minimum continuing legal education.