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Blane McCarthy
Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 7, 201412:00 PM EST

Bar Bulletin: Much 'bang' for your $270, plus CLE online library

by: Blane McCarthy

“Hey, buddy. Pay me $270 and I’ll double your investment.”

Would you take that deal? Your answer will probably turn on who is making the proposal.

The guy at the street corner? No.

Groupon? Perhaps.

Investment banker? Hmm.

The Jacksonville Bar Association?

You may not have noticed, but you received this very “double your investment” proposal in your 2014-15 Jacksonville Bar Association dues statement.

While the Board of Governors decided to streamline membership categories, we preserved a true value enhancing option — the full membership.

At an upgrade cost of $270, your full membership gives you prepaid (i.e., free) entry to any live Jax Bar event — social, live CLE and golf tournament. This is easily one of the best dues deals around.

I had a similar upgraded membership for 2013-14 and I easily doubled my investment by attending the following events:

• Four ADR Practitioner’s CME lunches – gaining four CME hours (cost savings of $100)

• Professionalism seminar – gaining four CLE hours (cost savings of $120)

• Ehrlich Trial Advocacy seminar – gaining 6.5 CLE hours (cost savings of $190)

• Annual ADR seminar – gaining eight CME and seven CLE hours (cost savings of $200)

Standard members (private practice lawyers) are charged $25-$35 per hour to attend Jacksonville Bar CLEs, committee lunch meetings and Judicial Sidebar events. Attending one full-day CLE nearly pays for itself.

With the local legal expertise and great seminar planners, there’s no need to look beyond the Jax Bar for your education and CLE needs. Add free entry to social activities and the annual golf tournament and the investment truly pays big dividends.

Standard membership still provides all of the core benefits and values of The Jacksonville Bar Association — free admission to the luncheons and free membership to committees and sections, where one can network and develop practice-area proficiency and relationships.

The full membership upgrade now allows you to pay once, at a substantial discount, for any and all charged Jacksonville Bar live events.

You may be thinking, “I wish I had known this a few weeks ago when I paid my dues!” Don’t worry. The Jacksonville Bar Association is willing to take your upgrade payment now and make a manual correction to your membership status.

The sooner you make the investment, the more time you have to reap the rewards. Call the Bar office at (904) 399-4486 to make arrangements for upgrading to the Full Membership. You’ll be happy you did.

I’m not finished with the good news. You may not remember this, but in my campaign for Board of Governors, I pledged to pursue means of keeping standard membership dues down.

One of my proposals is starting to come to fruition — online, on-demand Jacksonville Bar CLE videos.

Thankfully, the wheels were already in motion on this project when I took office last July, but I was charged to take the lead on selecting the vendor who will give us the capability of video recording all of our live CLE events and making them accessible via the Jax Bar’s website, We have done that and are beginning to record many of our CLE events.

The online library is not yet open for business, but we expect the portal to go live in the next few months. The collection will start small, but will continue to grow as we progress through each calendar year.

Generally, The Florida Bar’s CLE credit approval lasts for 18 months, so this online seminar library will not just be a source of general education, but also a means of accumulating needed CLE credits.

Clearly, calendar conflicts impact CLE attendance. This new “coming to a monitor near you” CLE option should open up professional education opportunities that your schedule did not otherwise accommodate.

To be clear, online CLE resources are not included in your (soon-to-be-upgraded) full membership, so they will need to be purchased separately. This separate revenue source will enable The Jacksonville Bar Association to continue holding level the dues for standard memberships.

In closing, I want to thank you for electing me last year to serve on the Board of Governors. It has been a great year working with great people, and I will continue to focus my efforts on CLE programming and other means of protecting you from unnecessary dues increases.

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