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Seems like I’ve been getting an extra-big load of brochures and catalogs for bar stuff lately. Brochures and catalogs for CLE. Brochures and catalogs for seminars. Brochures and catalogs for association section meetings at the federal, state and local level. Brochures and catalogs for business and pleasure trips, experts, miracle software, case referrals, research support and business development. I even get stuff for lawyer gifts, lawyer clothes, lawyer pens, lawyer art, lawyer credit cards and lawyer loans to help me pay off the lawyer loans I got last year. Metaloans, I guess you’d call them. Anyway, the stuff got to piling up — Office Services said something about an immediate risk of spontaneous combustion, as I recall — and it’s coming up on the end of my CLE reporting period again (can you say tomorrow?), so I figured I ought to read some of them. Boy, was I ever amazed — the educational opportunities I have callously passed by, all in the name of increasing my effective hourly rate, not to mention the opportunities I’ve missed to confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with my brother wizards (apologies to Frank Baum and Frank Morgan). I’m just amazed the authorities haven’t taken action before now. Let me give you some idea of what I marked down on my list of Must-See CLE, and remember that this is just a first pass. We haven’t gotten to a lot of the big stuff yet. I’m starting off with a classic: “The Truth About the New Value Exception to Bankruptcy’s Absolute Priority Rule.” According to the brochure, I’m going to learn, well, the truth about this important and emerging issue and even get an “explanation of the issues that the U.S. Supreme Court has not addressed.” I guess this way Justice Antonin Scalia can take a day off, or he could take the seminar with me and save a lot of work for himself. You and I will want to take this course in Florida or New Mexico, not only because of the resort-type accommodations available, but because the brochure says you get 3.5 CLE hours in those states. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to take this in Tennessee, where exactly the same title earns you only one hour. Maybe Tennessee lawyers know most of this stuff already. THE SEQUEL But stay calm. It only gets better. I signed up immediately for “Advanced Derivatives: Derivatives, Corporate Hedging and Shareholder Wealth: Modigliani-Miller Forty Years Later I,” because it has a record two colons in the title, something I’ve never been able to do in any pseudo-crypto-faux-academic piece I’ve ever written. And you just know it has to be good and really important because it has a sequel: “Advanced Derivatives: Derivatives, Corporate Hedging and Shareholder Wealth: Modigliani-Miller Forty Years Later II.” I wonder if they’re going to do a prequel — you know, something like “Enterprise” — don’t you? Anyway, that gets another eight hours out of the way. Well, as fascinating as the world of derivatives is, more or less, we all need to be well-rounded. I felt like I needed more personal power in my practice. This being so, “Powerful Communications Skills (3 hours)” and “Powerful Litigation Methods (3 hours)” just leapt right off the brochure cover at me. And you just know it is powerful, because CLE providers would never exaggerate about the substance of a regulated CLE course, now would they? And bah-dah-bing, bah-dah-boom, all we have left is ethics. Now, I’m as ethical as the next guy, but you never know when nature is going to throw you that old curve ball, so I thought it was a pretty good idea to bone up on some ethical issues I’m not familiar with. At first, I thought I’d kill off all three hours with “Ten Ethical Issues Facing Texas Lawyers,” which also made me happy because it was nice to know we’ve gotten the number of issues we face down so low. But then when I checked, I found out that you can’t get credit for any of the “Ten Ethical Issues” if you practice in Texas (I swear I am not making this up), so I guess we Texas lawyers will never know which 10 issues it is. Well, I tried “Ethical Considerations in Mass Tort and Class Action Litigation in Texas,” but it was only good for one hour’s credit, and besides, the last time I checked there really weren’t many, anyhow. Maybe that’s why you only get an hour’s credit. “Government Lawyer Ethics (3 hours)” was such an oxymoron on its face, I can’t even believe I’m bringing it up. And then, just as I was about to surrender and mail my license back, I found it — the single best legal ethics course for someone like me: “Ethical Issues in Sports Law (3 hours with video).” This is what ethics is all about: negotiating the salary cap, second-guessing referees, understanding the difference between encroachment and false start. The list goes on and on. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to head over to my BAR-ca-lounger with some Cheetos and an MGD or two and become ethical. Tom Alleman, a shareholder in Winstead Sechrest & Minick in Dallas, satisfied much of his CLE requirements for this year by taking “Advanced Traffic Law: Can You Play ‘Red Light, Green Light?’” Obviously, then, the opinions in this column are not necessarily those of Winstead Sechrest or its clients. Alleman writes a monthly column, “Cert Denied,” in Texas Lawyer.

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