New Online Courses Offer Practical Advice for New and Veteran Law

AUSTIN – Avoiding trouble as a lawyer is a lot like steering clear of problems in any other trade: Tell the truth. Don’t overbill. Be on time.

While this advice might sound fundamental, it’s also highly applicable to future and current Texas lawyers who will view a new series of online video courses offered by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE).

The new video offerings are part of a revamp of TCLE’s online presence, including the creation of the organization’s first blog (“On the Merits”) and a redesign of the organization’s website, located at

One of the online video training courses offered by TCLE is the Justice James A. Baker Guide to the Basics of Law Practice course, which all individuals who pass the Texas Bar must complete before practicing law in the Lone Star State.

“The new online Basics of Law Practice course includes some of the top ethics speakers in the state of Texas. These include Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, who describes firsthand some of the ethical and professional lapses she has seen in her own courtroom,” says TCLE executive director Jonathan Smaby. “New and experienced attorneys will find practical, contemporary advice in this and other TCLE online courses that will be useful throughout their careers.”

Every year, all lawyers are required to have at least 15 hours a year in Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits, three of which are in ethics. The TCLE revamped its online Basis of Law course offering and other video links to reach out to young professionals who are becoming increasingly web savvy, says Smaby, a former business attorney who ran his own practice in Dallas.

“These courses also offer sound business advice to new law school graduates who are just getting their footing in the legal community,” Smaby says.

The online course offerings can be viewed at

Founded in 1989 by three retired Texas Supreme Court chief justices, TCLE promotes the values contained in the Texas Lawyers’ Creed. The group pursues the original vision of its founders as the leading storehouse of knowledge and resources for legal ethics and professionalism in Texas.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Smaby at 512-427-1477 or at

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