Past Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Programs

Our reputation in the legal community is not only the result of our history of success, but also of our devotion to continuing legal education. Below, you will see a list of our firm’s past CLE programs.

*Please note: previously recorded webinars are not approved for CLE credit.

2024 Programs

Working Wellness: Healthy Solutions for Lawyer Well-Being
The legal profession is a very high-stress environment and lawyers experience mental health concerns at higher rates than the general population. Therefore, it is imperative that lawyers find avenues to support their well-being that will enable them to thrive in their personal and professional lives.

In this program, lawyers learned strategies to create more work-life harmony and make decisions guided by their values. Lawyers also learned skills to set clear personal and professional boundaries to help manage stress and support their mental wellness. Additionally, lawyers were given a framework to incorporate self-care more easily into their daily routines.

“Ethics 2024: Questions from the Trenches”
For 17 years, Clifford Law Offices has sponsored free programs on professional responsibility on many subjects — from client communication and trial work to preparing witnesses and social media. For the 2024 program, we turned to practicing lawyers — the lawyers in the trenches — and we asked them what’s on their minds in the area of lawyer ethics. What problems do they see day in and day out? And we listened. The 2024 all-star panel will address hypotheticals and ethical issues that came from you. They will discuss issues from the revised IOLTA account rules to double billing issues.

2023 Programs

“Five Things the Busy Lawyer Needs to Know to Stay Healthy”
The legal profession is exciting and rewarding, but with it can come stressors that must be acknowledged along with health and mental health concerns that need to be remedied stemming from work fatigue and an imbalanced lifestyle. Erin Clifford, a lawyer and holistic wellness expert, discussed the importance of self-care and how you can better manage your stress. Attorneys attending this online seminar learned about self-care, intentional rest and unplugging from technology, and the importance of mindfulness and healthy nutrition. She offered five takeaway tips to tweak your journey to getting and staying healthy.

“Refresher on Ethics of Trial Work in a Courtroom”
As health officials continue to try to get the pandemic under control, the legal community is trying to get back to business as usual. But is it? Lawyers’ skills and knowledge of courtroom practice and procedure may need a bit of sharpening. This program deals with areas of concern that lawyers come across every day. A panel answered questions on how best to handle and defuse what could turn into unnecessary confrontational situations. From discovery issues to closing arguments, hypotheticals were presented at various trial stages with attendees answering polling questions on best practices. Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court enacted an updated Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct for the first time in almost two decades, bringing it in line with national standards by addressing the use of social media and other technology that didn’t exist at the code’s last major update in 1993. How some of these Rules dovetail with trial lawyers in a courtroom were discussed as well.

Robert A. Clifford moderated with ethics experts in the field including James Grogan, Adjunct Ethics Professor, Loyola College of Law, and former ARDC Deputy Administrator and Chief Counsel; Christopher Heredia, CNA Risk Control Consulting Director, Global Specialty, Lawyers Professional Liability; and Hon. April G. Troemper, Circuit Court Judge, Seventh Judicial Circuit at Macoupin County and Member, Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee (IJEC).

2022 Programs

“Mind, Body & Soul: Defining Well-Being in Law”
Since the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being issued its Report & Recommendations in 2017, there has been much progress. However, a culture shift around well-being and sustained innovation still faces certain challenges. To be a good lawyer, law student or judge, one has to be well. To achieve well-being, we have to engage in a continuous process in which we “strive to thrive” in each of the following dimensions of our lives: emotional, intellectual, occupational, physical, spiritual and social.

Our panelists discussed what constitutes well-being in each of these six components, provide some best practices that everyone can employ in their own lives and in their work or school setting, and consider where we have been and challenges we face as we move forward on this front.

Mind, Body & Soul of Diverse Lawyers: The Weathering Effect”
It is coming to light that lawyers of diversity can be impacted by “the weathering effect.” This concept will be discussed in the context as to how one’s experiences and reactions as a lawyer in a diverse community are different because of one’s race, gender, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status and other diverse factors. The weathering effect can create an erosion of professional, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health from unconscious bias and the daily microaggressions that one of diversity is forced to endure. This can impact the way one responds to certain situations and can ultimately impact one’s outlook, health or longevity in the profession. It can make one more vulnerable or more callous in certain situations, more so and more sensitized than those who are not considered part of a minority community. It can create mental blocs. The concept of intersectionality – members of the profession falling into more than one identity group – and the toll it takes on those in figuring out how to react given the situation and the group into which one falls also can be exhausting.

This highly experienced panel openly discussed their experiences and beliefs in what is happening in this arena and will offer suggestions as to how everyone can become more aware in order to improve the health of the profession.

2021 Program

“Legal Ethics and Professionalism of Your Favorite TV Shows, Yada, Yada”
For two hours, a highly qualified panel examined the ethics and professionalism of lawyers as portrayed on various television shows over the years. Some of your favorite lawyers on tv have been involved in issues that raise ethical and professionalism concerns for themselves, their law firms and their clients. Just how far can one go in preparing a witness? How should one ethically advertise or solicit clients? If you think your client is lying, how should the case move forward? These are just some of the questions that were examined with clips of tv shows serving as hypotheticals.

Moderating the program was Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago. Panelists were Jayne R. Reardon, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism; the Hon. Daniel B. Shanes of the Lake County Circuit Court and Chair of the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees; and James P. Doppke, a partner in Robinson, Stewart, Montgomery & Doppke, LLC, where he concentrates his practice in professional responsibility issues and ethics consulting. Previously Jim worked as a litigator at the Illinois ARDC for nearly 15 years and later as Senior Counsel there.
*This program was not recorded

2020 Program

“Ethics 2020 – The Future is Now”
This two-hour webinar examined issues of which lawyers must be aware of. From non-lawyer referral services to jury research to social media consequences, this distinguished panel discussed cutting-edge problems through hypotheticals. Rule changes that impacts all lawyers across the state were also examined.

2019 Program

“The Path to Lawyer Well Being & Conscious Inclusion”
This program discussed practical steps that can be taken by lawyers, law firms, bar associations, judges, legal educators and regulatory counsel to shift the legal culture from one that can be self-destructive to one that focuses on the well-being that is expected by all those who look to the legal system for justice.

In the second hour, the program also addressed the implicit bias that occurs in every aspect of the law – from the courtroom to the law firm to legal non-profit organizations.

2018 Program

“The Changing Ethical Landscape of Litigation”
The landscape of litigation certainly is changing, and dealing with new and evolving ethical issues along with it. “Fighting fair” is imperative, but why does it seem to be getting more difficult and complicated to do so? In part it may be because we have new technologies and new players “in the sandbox” with lawyers.

Our panel of speakers broke down some of the most pestering yet important issues that impact lawyers every day: confidentiality, privilege and work product, conflicts of interest, contacting non-clients, dealing with experts, disclosure obligations, social media and electronic discovery.

2017 Program

“Social Media Ethics Outside and in the Courtroom”
Social media is now part of the fabric of practicing law. There are ethics opinions galore and not all of them are consistent. Courts are grappling with difficult issues of preservation of, or access to, information on social media sites, and even the more difficult issues of jurors who live on their mobile devices.

2016 Program

“The Ethics of Pre-Trial and Trial Work”
The objectives of this program were to familiarize attorneys with the Rules of Professional Conduct involving pre-trial and trial issues. Typically, that involves evidentiary issues that face lawyers on a day-to-day basis – from witness preparation to spoliation of evidence, calling a party as a witness to influencers in closing argument.

2015 Program

“The Ethics of Conflicts of Interest”
Conflicts of interest can bedevil both litigators and transactional lawyers. The relevant rules seem complicated and highly technical, and the decisions interpreting them sometimes give inconsistent guidance. But get it wrong and you can face discipline, disqualification or a civil lawsuit. This two-hour program gave practical advice about how to handle conflicts of interest.

2014 Program

“The Ethics of Client Communications”
The 2014 program covered the dos, don’ts and best practices of lawyer communication with both commercial and consumer clients; issues in ex parte communications between lawyers and adjudicators; and how to avoid breaches of client confidentiality. The program also addressed the unique challenges and ethics of client communications in the Internet Age.

2013 Program

“Ethics of Witness Preparation for Deposition and Trial”
A number of hypotheticals were presented to help attendees understand the ethics of dealing with witnesses for deposition and trial. Should I first explain the law before asking the client what happened? Should I reveal other evidence and ask a witness her testimony? What are the differences between preparing a witness for deposition or for trial? These are some of the questions that were answered.

2012 Program

“Ethical Issues in Mediation”
The program included an examination of various hypotheticals involving negotiation, settlement and mediation. These can be effective ways to advocate for your client, but even when an outside person comes on the scene to help the parties come to a resolution, various ethical issues can arise.

2011 Program

“Ethical Applications of the New Illinois Rules of Evidence”
For the first time, the Illinois Supreme Court has approved and promulgated Illinois Rules of Evidence in codified form effective Jan. 1, 2011. They are aimed at expediting the trial process and improving the administration of justice in Illinois courts. Before, the rules of evidence in Illinois were dispersed throughout case law. The codification contained some changes dealing with opinion testimony and hearsay.

2010 Program

“The Ethics of E-Discovery and Social Media”
Clifford Law Offices sponsored a two-hour continuing legal education program on the hot topic of The Ethics of E-Discovery and Social Media. Two highly experienced and educated instructors taught the free seminar on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, from 2:30-4:30pm. It offered live in a classroom setting at DePaul University as well as via an interactive webinar. This program was approved for 2 hours of professional responsibility credit. For questions, email

2009 Program

“The Ethics of Lincoln the Lawyer”
Panelists discussed the life of Abraham Lincoln, the country’s 16th president, who practiced law throughout the state before entering the White House.

2008 Program

“The Ethics of Trial Work”
The objectives of the course were to familiarize attorneys with the Rules of Professional Conduct. In particular, the objective of the course was to promote the civility of lawyers’ conduct in preparation of trial and during trial.