How Continuing Education Can Turbo-Charge Your Legal Career


By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD, Robert Half


I am never be to find enough time for continuing education. Despite my best intentions, I haven’t been able to carve out time for it during the pandemic but I’d love to push ahead with it now. Any advice for kick-starting my professional development?



During periods when law jobs are scarce and firms are cutting back, it’s understandable that legal professionals focus on their daily tasks and put continuing education on the back burner. In the era of the Great Resignation, however, you may find your employer will actively promote your career development to encourage you to stick around. But what do you get from continuing education? Here are a few benefits:   


  1. Stay ahead of industry trends. By regularly attending workshops or seminars, you’ll get the scoop on the latest legal technology and regulatory information. A thorough understanding of a recent ruling can enrich your own personal knowledge base, while new case management software can help you work more efficiently and save time. 

  2. Give your legal career a boost. CLE coursework and program certificates in high-demand areas can boost your marketability and increase your value to your current employer when you ask for a raise or promotion. If you’re switching to a new area of law, having extra training will make you more attractive to potential employers.  

  3. Improve your confidence. The better informed you are as a legal professional, the better you are at your job. You spend more time impressing your clients and colleagues, and that may lead to a promotion in the future, or at least opportunities to take on new challenges.
Continuing education resources 
Even if your employer is unwilling to subsidize your continuing education, there are plenty of resources you can utilize at minimal or no cost. These include: 

  • The American Bar Association (ABA) — The ABA offers a CLE marketplace for members, including free CLE, live events and on-demand webinars. It also maintains a database of over 1,500 online CLE programs.

  • Other industry associations — State bar or professional associations also offer free educational opportunities, typically focusing on local issues that are relevant to you and your clients.
  • 4FreeCLE — This highly active blog has a state-by-state list of free CLE credit courses and workshops on a wide range of topics, including ethical billing, handling data breaches and regulatory changes.   
A successful legal career doesn’t happen by accident. “Born” legal professionals are often people who have worked diligently over many years to sharpen their skills. Follow their lead and put continuing education at the top of your professional to-do list. 

    Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract, temporary and permanent placement solutions, and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit