This post is a message from the 2013 AALL Annual Meeting and Conference. To read other posts in the series, click here, and watch for more content soon!

Law librarians are equipped with superior research skills, organizational skills, familiarity with copyright issues, technical skills and the ability to work across departments and practice areas with attorneys and administrators. These assets help librarians provide reliable, efficient, easy-to-use resources to their firms, including continuing legal education (CLE) and other practical training programs.

In law school, students study hard to become litigators: they learn how to select a jury, represent their clients inside and outside the court room, and conduct effective research. However, many lawyers are practicing without adequate knowledge in important areas such as substantive law, practice skills or business law.

Since 2001, West LegalEd center has provided online programs, access to live conferences and other media for lawyers to meet CLE requirements and to further advance their careers. Most recently, West LegalEd center launched Beyond the Bar, a resource for lawyers to develop key skills identified as important by legal employers.

Through Beyond the Bar, lawyers can learn from experts about how to market a firm, network to become a partner, manage employees, identify career opportunities and develop and leverage other important skills. Ultimately, training resources from Beyond the Bar can position lawyers above and beyond state CLE requirements and help them provide a stronger ROI for their employer.

Because it provides constantly updated content online, Beyond the Bar can help law librarians think differently about the way their firm trains lawyers. Lee Ann Enquist, vice president of professional development at Thomson Reuters, emphasizes, “Beyond the Bar is a new type of technological content; it’s highly interactive, yet it’s still online. It transcends the meeting space in terms of convenience and accessibility, but provides highly-effective personal approaches to learning.”

These convenient resources come in a variety of media, including live online courses. One example of these courses was made available at the beginning of July. Presented by Lenné Espenschied, “The Essentials of Contract Drafting: What You Don’t Know could Harm your Client and Your Reputation,” runs from July 15 through August 26.

Share your thoughts below about the importance of practical legal training and for more information about Beyond the Bar, visit

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