Alumnus Poscover Guides National CLE Transformation

ALI-ABA Leader Inspired by Value of Ongoing Education, Service 

As law schools adopt learning models that incorporate more web-based technologies, those same cutting-edge tools are required of vehicles for postgraduate legal training, says Maury Poscover, JD ’69.

For the past seven years, Poscover has been on the front lines of a significant transformation in the national delivery of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs, working to advance both quality and accessibility. By all accounts, those efforts have paid off.

A partner with Husch Blackwell LLP in St. Louis, Poscover has participated in providing CLE as a panelist and presenter for many years. His interest was heightened through his work as a board member of the American Law Institute–American Bar Association’s CLE (ALI–ABA CLE), a joint effort of the ALI and the ABA formed in 1947. After being appointed to the board in 2005, he served as president for three years with his term ending in May 2012.

Then when the long-standing ALI–ABA CLE was recently phased out by mutual agreement, he agreed to serve a one-year term on the new ALI–ABA committee to help guide the transition.

Historically, the most common way to access CLE programs was through on-site instruction, but in recent years, new learning platforms developed quickly and dramatically, Poscover says.

“Compared to 2005, about 50 percent of current ALI–ABA CLE revenues come from web-based products and services that didn’t exist seven years ago,” he says. “Now, a practicing lawyer who has an issue come up at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday can, at midnight, go online and watch an hour-and-a-half CLE program, which may have been recorded six months ago, but that provides information and background to permit him or her to better understand a particular area of law.”

It’s a constant challenge to keep up with technologies that permit state-of-the-art delivery, Poscover says, but he stresses that ALI–ABA is remarkably agile. “Because ALI–ABA is so current in technology, if, for example, new regulations are announced tomorrow or there’s a Supreme Court decision on the health care law, we can put a program together drawing on a wealth of expertise in less than 10 days,” he says. “In that same time frame, we can have a web-based product available to lawyers whether they’re in New York City or the most remote city in Montana.”

As demand for CLE continues to grow, the ability to deliver immediate, high-quality programs is paramount, Poscover says. Today, most ALI–ABA CLE programs—whether first presented on-site or as distance learning—are available 24/7 online. That is not to say that the in-person, in-depth CLE program is a dinosaur. It has its place and remains a valuable vehicle for providing educational opportunities for lawyers, Poscover says.

Poscover couples his passion for ongoing professional training with service to the law school and the legal community. A longtime law school National Council member, he is currently co-chairing the school’s Scholarship Initiative.

Along with his work to inspire cutting-edge CLE models, Poscover also has served as chair of the ABA’s Business Law Section, chair of the section’s Commercial Financial Services Committee, and co-chair of the section’s Pro Bono Project. He is a past member of the ABA Board of Governors and currently serves on the ABA House of Delegates. He also is a past president of the St. Louis Bar Association.

In what he calls one of his most challenging and rewarding roles, from 2007 to 2010, Poscover evaluated nominees as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary—two of those nominees included Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

In his work with Husch Blackwell, Poscover served 10 years as chair of the firm and has practiced in a variety of areas, primarily those involving transactional work. He currently provides general counsel to middle-market and multinational companies.

He also serves as a mentor for aspiring young attorneys. Each summer, law students who intern at Husch Blackwell gain valuable experience, but they also learn an important lesson from Poscover.

“If you are a very good lawyer, you can be satisfied,” he tells them, “but a great deal of personal development and satisfaction comes from giving back to the community and the profession.”

By Janet Edwards