Do Continuing Legal Education Speaking Gigs Pay?

Paid speaking gigsBlogging and engaging on social media are great marketing tools for lawyers, but nothing establishes expertise and gains meaningful exposure like speaking gigs. But do they pay?

Some may posit that the reward, or payment if you will, is the exposure, resulting in a stream of potential clients. Others bottom-line payment to hard cash, certainly those who want to move from lawyering to CLE presenter. Here’s a look at the latter.

Bar Associations

With limited, valuable time, questions about compensation are fair. Prized, are speaking gigs at the hundreds of bar associations across the country.

An informal survey that I conducted indicates that bar associations do not generally offer payment to presenters at their CLE events. However nationally recognized, professional speakers, and attorneys who have established themselves as widely regarded experts on a particular topic, are often compensated for presenting and certainly, for keynote speeches.

CLE Providers

CLE providers take a similar stance, but they offer a potentially wider audience as programs are recorded and offered for viewing in their catalog of courses.

Offer your time and get a few of these gigs under your belt to build up your speaker credentials and work on your delivery.

Build expertise with content

Pick a topic you’re interested in speaking about and build a body of content around it. Content platforms include blogs, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook Page, LinkedIn Group, SlideShare, YouTube, and webinars.

Write guest posts for other blogs and expand your network. Same with webinars – host a free 50 minute webinar or offer to do a guest spot on a popular webinar series.

Getting paid

Go for speaking gigs at live, in-person events, you’re more likely to get paid.

It never hurts to ask. Some CLE providers and bar associations will offer compensation — if you ask for it. It could be a speaking fee or airfare and hotel reimbursement. Leverage the the body of content that you’ve built up during negotiations.

Finally, explore organizations such as the Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) and the  National Speakers Association to grow your network, get speaking gigs, and hone your presentation skills.

Of course it all starts with being a competent, ethical attorney. But to extend beyond practicing into speaking gigs and get paid for doing so, start laying the groundwork now with content and free or partially paid engagements.

If CLE presenters, providers and bar association would like to weigh in on this, please use the comments below.

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