Recently, I have asked the following question of a number of attorneys in CLE programs and at a meeting of MCLE regulators from around the country. Each time, I've gotten similar responses. Overwhelmingly, lawyers, and those who regulate CLE, recognize that it is NOT lack of substantive knowledge and it is NOT poor legal management skills that most often cause poor results for clients. Rather, poor results most frequently result when a lawyer's commitment, energy, and engagement are too low.
Positive psychology offers some avenues to address this situation. Positive emotions, according to Barbara Fredrickson's research, broaden our thought/action repretoire and help us build social and psychological capitol for the future. Happiness, as measured by the Authentic Happiness Index (check yours at www.authentichappiness.org) includes engagement and meaning. Engaged individuals who experience flow in their day-to-day activities have energy. Individuals who feel connected to something bigger and greater than themselves have commitment to carry through.
We need CLE that focuses on helping lawyers develop commitment, energy, and engagement. And we need to accredit such CLE. Unfortunately, most MCLE regulators indicate that such programs would have difficulty getting accredited in their states. That needs to change.