We recently had the opportunity to sit down with marketing veteran and Attorney at Law Magazine columnist, Terrie S. Wheeler, MBC, to discuss her exciting new on-demand CLE program for Minnesota Lawyers: CLE Connect | Ethical Marketing CLEs On-Demand. Wheeler combines her ethics background with her more than 25 years of legal industry marketing experience in this comprehensive, on-demand, CLE-accredited program that teaches lawyers the marketing skills they never learned in law school.
AALM: What is CLE Connect?
TW: CLE Connect is an on-demand, web-based CLE platform designed for Minnesota attorneys who also want to enhance their marketing skills. As your readers know, in Minnesota, 45 CLE credits are required every three-year reporting period, of which, 15 can be earned through on-demand programming. We are launching with six on-demand courses comprised of video lessons, support materials (such as tools, tip sheets, templates, and checklists), and access to an online marketing discussion forum. Each course takes about 1 hour to complete and is approved for 1 ethics credit in Minnesota.
AALM: What was your motivation for developing CLE Connect?
TW: I have worked with hundreds of law firms across the country to deliver outsourced marketing and marketing coaching services. Early in my career, I realized that law schools didn’t teach the business or marketing skills lawyers needed to succeed in private practice. Today, many lawyers still think “marketing” is synonymous with paying big money for directory listings or online ads. This couldn’t be further from the truth. CLE Connect provides the foundational knowledge every lawyer needs to successfully grow their practice.
I recently concluded a six-year term serving on the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. For the past two years, I served as Vice Chair of the Board. This experience solidified my belief that most lawyers lack basic marketing and client service skills, which can pose a threat to their practice if a disgruntled client were to file an ethics complaint. The most common ethics issues for lawyers are all preventable, so knowing how to ethically market your law practice is crucial.
AALM: Who is the ideal CLE Connect User?
TW: CLE Connect is relevant for lawyers at every stage of their career. Whether you’ve recently graduated from law school or you’re planning an exit strategy, CLE Connect offers pragmatic, real-world strategies to prepare you for the next stage of your career.
Because CLE Connect is an on-demand platform, you can access our courses anywhere. You can even stream our video lessons on-the-go using your smartphone or tablet. The ideal CLE Connect user is a lawyer who is motivated to grow their firm but lacks the marketing skills to make it happen.
AALM: What will lawyers get out of CLE Connect?
TW: All CLE Connect courses are all approved for 1 ethics credit in MN, but we like to think the CLE credit is just the icing on the cake. The program itself is much more robust. Each course leverages my background as a marketing coach to lawyers and provides tangible tools and strategies you can use to ethically grow your practice. Additionally, you have the option to personally and confidentially ask me questions. I will provide tailored advice and recommendations based on your unique situation.
AALM: What’s your vision for CLE Connect?
TW: My vision is that CLE Connect becomes a state-wide resource for lawyers who wish to enhance their marketing skills to ethically attract new clients, grow relationships, increase name recognition, and pursue targeted communications with contacts. As a regular CLE presenter for the MSBA, RCBA, and other bar associations across the country, I know CLEs aren’t necessarily your first choice when looking at how to spend your free time. It was my goal in developing CLE Connect to create an innovative, affordable, and engaging on-demand CLE experience. We will regularly add new courses and augment existing curriculum with new tools and materials.
AALM: How much does CLE Connect cost?
TW: CLE Connect courses are $49.99 each, a great value per credit. You can save 15% by purchasing a two-course bundle, or 20% by purchasing our six-course Mega Bundle. Our site is structured for individual lawyers like you, but we do offer packages for law firms upon request.
AALM: You mentioned CLE Connect was interactive. Can you elaborate?
TW: After registering for a course, you will have full access to the CLE Connect Community through our unique discussion forum. Here, you can chat with other lawyers interested in sharing new and effective marketing ideas, expand your professional network, brainstorm with your colleagues, and learn the skills necessary to ethically attract new clients. If you prefer one-on-one communication, I am also available as your instructor to provide answers to your questions – all included in the $49.99 course fee.
AALM: What courses are you currently offering?
TW: We are starting out with six different courses (1 ethics credit each):
The Ethics of Marketing Your Law Practice: The Rules Related to Marketing in Minnesota. As you know, lawyers in Minnesota are governed by the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct. This course focuses on the most important Rules related to marketing your practice and offers tips for compliance with each.
Developing Your Ethical Marketing Plan. This course will show you how to develop an ethically sound, results-oriented marketing plan – one you will be motivated to implement! We want this course to provide you with a proven outline from which you can create your own personal marketing plan.
How to Identify and Build an Ethical Niche. How many lawyers are in Minnesota? The answer is almost 30,000. So how do you differentiate your style, approach and experience? By focusing on what you do best. Take this course and learn how to develop and ethically promote a solid niche for your practice.
Using Your Website to Ethically Generate Business. In today’s digitally savvy marketplace, your website plays a more important role than ever in conveying the right first impression of you and your practice. Learn how to ethically maximize your website to generate more business.
Ethical Marketing Strategies for Lawyers: What Really Works. You’re busy and need to maximize your marketing time. That’s why this course was created. In this course, you’ll learn the top marketing strategies to ethically build your practice. Every recommendation has been tried and tested and has been deemed to be high impact and low cost.
The Ethics of Social Media: A Primer for Lawyers. Everyone seems to be capitalizing on the power of social media – even lawyers! In this course, you will learn how to apply the Rules of Professional Responsibility when you’re posting, liking, sharing, responding, and friending!