Lawyers in California must complete a certain number of units of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) each year. At least three hours - one hour each - must be in Legal Ethics; Substance Abuse and Stress Management; and Elimination of Bias.
Often enough, I have heard the last three referred to as "the ones that everyone needs" as the reporting period for lawyers draws near, or "the ones that are hard to get." However, for those in the Orange County area, a delightful program exists that I attended yesterday morning.
The St. Thomas More Society of Orange County hosts a morning each year to offer guest speakers on those three topics to receive the credits. To even make it more sweet, if you come an hour earlier, the group's chaplain, Fr. Hugh Barbour who is a Norbertine from St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado Canyon, offers Mass. I was happy to see that nearly all participants also came for Mass.
One of the speakers yesterday I enjoyed quite a bit. Dr. Aaron Kheriarty is a Professor of Psychiatry at UC Irvine Medical School and a member of Opus Dei. He spoke about Hope as a virtue in addressing substance abuse and other mental disorders. I note from the Society's newsletter, Ad Veritatem, that he will be speaking next Saturday at an Opus Dei conference in Long Beach on February 2, 2008.
A couple fo us were chatting in between sessions and one lawyer from Los Angeles was talking about the awful tripe he has sat through in the past to get these three credits. We agreed - at least for Legal Ethics, we want it presented in a Catholic setting, since we identify first as members of Mother Church before identifying ourselves as members of the State Bar. Mass, god speakers, MCLE credits - how could it NOT be a great event?
If you visit the Society's website, you can view past newsletters. I enjoy reading Ad Veritatem very much and Fr. Barbour's articles are insightful as he is a devout and erudite priest. The articles occasionally touch upon Faith and matters of law, but mostly address the former. I invite you to follow the link above to the Socity's site to check it out.