NZLS CLE Ltd webinars offer advantages

The webinars NZLS CLE Ltd provides are “excellent”, participants say.

Four lawyers who registered for their first webinar at the 20 April GST web-based presentation provided feedback on their experiences.

Three were able to join the webinar live, and all three described it as “excellent”. 

The fourth, Andrew Morrison, planned to watch the webinar live but was not able to, as he became involved in an urgent job for a client.  That underlined one advantage of this programme, compared with a face-to-face seminar. “I think the ability to replay it any time is a great idea,” Mr Morrison says.

“I found it excellent – a really good way of doing it,” Norman Scott said.

“In Timaru, generally speaking, we would have to travel to Christchurch or Dunedin for a face-to-face seminar. The saving in time and expense is the big advantage. If you go to Dunedin or Christchurch, you lose a day. With the webinar, it’s just one and a half hours.

“You can do it in your office and to have that sort of thing, I found it quite good.”

Another advantage, Mr Scott said, was that one could turn it on and view it again “which is an advance as well.”

The webinar, he said, was effective, but just like a face-to-face seminar, that “depends on how much you have studied the book before hand.”

 “I found it excellent,” Invercargill lawyer John Pringle said.

“You are able to sit in the comfort of your own office, so it’s much more convenient.”

In terms of the webinar as a learning experience, compared with a face-to-face seminar “I don’t think there was any difference,” he said. “I think I gained as much looking at it on the computer.”

The time and the cost saved is a big advantage too. “I have to go up to Dunedin for a seminar. That’s quite an expense and quite an effort – two and a half hours each way – so that deters you from actually attending seminars up there.”

“It was our first one,” says Browns Bay lawyer Carol Caulfield, “and from that one experience, I would give it an ‘excellent’.  “We were very happy. It was very useful for us because we are a small suburban practice.”

Parking and traffic were two big issues when attending seminars in Auckland, and both these were avoided with a webinar.

“Also, particularly being a small practice, sometimes something will come up that will stop you getting there (to a face-to-face seminar) on time or getting there at all.”  With a webinar, you could still watch it if either of those eventuated.

NZLS CLE webinars are approaching their first birthday.

The first one was held on 19 July 2010.  Its focus was on Domestic Violence Changes for Criminal Lawyers.

So what is a webinar? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is “a seminar conducted over the Internet”. The word’s origin is in the 1990s and it is a blend of the words “web” and “seminar”.

The NZLS CLE webinars provide a short, succinct nugget of learning, allowing people to study whenever and wherever they want, provided they have a broadband connection. Even people with dial-up can access the webinar file and watch it later, but cannot watch live as the bandwidth is too low.

When people register for a webinar, they not only receive the live broadcast, they also receive three resources to keep. One is the traditional seminar book and the others are electronic files of the webinar and PowerPoint slides.

Another advantage of webinars is that NZLS CLE can, at times, access a greater range of nationally recognised presenters. Some of them may not, perhaps, be available to travel but could present for a webinar.

Upcoming webinars are listed on the NZLS CLE Ltd website at www.lawyerseducation.co.nz/Courses/Webinars.html. This is a page worth bookmarking and checking to see what will assist with your practice.

This article was first published in LawTalk 722, 20 May 2011, page 8.