What’s So Cool About a Career in CLE?

When I first joined PBI I was very intimidated by the faculty I encountered.  I was 26 years old and  well aware that if I had entered a law firm at that time I would barely have had the courage to speak to the people I was now telling what to do.  And yet there I was, calling Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices and having them pick up the phone, directing major partners in huge law firms, meeting with Sections of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and introducing seminars in front of hundreds of people.

I believe when I introduced my very first seminar I shook so hard that the podium shook with me.  I very quickly learned that by taking a position in CLE I had set myself on a road to meet and work with a lot of impressive people.  Over time I have, I must admit, become a bit blasé and it has been a long time since I have been scared, intimidated or overwhelmed by working with a speaker, no matter how well-known or powerful.   It has been my fortune to meet extraordinary people throughout my career and today, as I reflect on my time here, a call from the past happened to catch my attention.   As a result I would like to tell you about one of the most interesting and extraordinary faculty with whom it has been my pleasure to work.

In 2005, PBI was sent a letter by a gentleman who wanted to do a seminar on Polygraphy. I was given the letter and included resume and asked if I would like to create the seminar.   The resume told the story of a man so impressive that for the first time in several years I found myself intimidated by the thought of working with such an extraordinary person.  Mr. Bob Anderson is a historical figure who has been involved in some of the most important cases in our country.  A “primary source,” this gentleman worked as an FBI agent for 27 years and has received over 30 commendations for that work; which included involvement in Watergate.  Later he served as a polygraphist for the Capano and Whitewater cases.  Needless to say, given the opportunity to work with such an amazing person and present such an unusual seminar, I was happy to do so. The seminar went off without a hitch and I have not spoken to Mr. Anderson since then.

Today I was on the phone talking with a new contact I met through LinkedIn (yes really) when I noticed Customer Service was trying to reach me. The phone rang several times so I knew it was important but I wasn’t about to hang up on the person with whom I was speaking. I sent a quick email telling Customer Service that I was on the phone.  When I hung up I saw I had a message to which I listened, “A Mr. Bill Anderson called, he insisted on speaking to you, please call him back. He has a question.”

I had not thought of Mr. Anderson in many years, and yet, I found myself thrilled to hear his name.  I have worked with hundreds of faculty but I immediately knew who he was, called right away, listened to his question and answered it.  We then commenced to chat about his life and how he was doing (he is retired now.)  As we chatted Mr. Anderson mentioned that he does on occasion speak on his past as an FBI agent, sharing anecdotes about his work.  My mind spun quickly to a seminar called the Law Practice Management and Development Institute, a large seminar I am preparing for August of this year.  “Mr. Anderson,” I exclaimed, “would you be willing to be the dinner speaker?”  “Yes,” he said, “I would enjoy it very much.”  “Wonderful,” I responded, “please bring your wife.”

If anyone out there is considering a career in CLE I will point to Mr. Anderson and my experience with him as one of the reasons that this can be such a fulfilling career.  As you can see you never know who you will meet.

I find myself very pleased at the thought of seeing Mr. Anderson again.  And yes, by the way, I do call him Mr. Anderson, that or sir. I cannot begin to imagine calling him anything else. He calls me “Dear.”  Once or twice he has called me, “Jenny.” And you know what? That is A-O.K. with me.

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