Barristers on Beale Street

by Jonathan Wolf

Clerking for Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC has been an incredible adventure. I have gotten to sit in on motion hearings, depositions, and mediation, all of which I found unbelievably interesting. However, if I had to pick one defining event of my first few months of clerkship, it would be Larry Rice’s famous divorce seminar.

In a world where lawyers can fulfill their continuing legal education (“CLE”) requirements via webinar from the convenience of their offices or living rooms, Larry Rice still draws hundreds of enthusiastic lawyers (and their tourism dollars) from all over the country to the historic Old Daisy Theatre on Beale Street. As soon as I took my seat, the lawyer sitting next to me whispered: “If going to CLE usually has the same effect on you as a sleeping pill; Larry’s seminar is the antidote!!” Larry has spoken on family law for the last 27 years throughout North America and recently published the 25th edition of his book, “The Complete Guide to Divorce.”

Larry masterfully lectured on a myriad of topics such as law practice management, maintaining client relations, drafting Marital Dissolution Agreements, conducting client interviews, and mediation. He also shared a plethora of invaluable trial techniques. Additionally, I was lucky enough to hear Dr. John Leite deliver a fascinating lecture on the neurobiology of divorce. According to Larry: “The goal of the seminar is for lawyers to leave with tools to better serve people going through the worst times of their lives.”

Throughout the seminar, Larry kept the audience engaged more like a ringmaster than a lecturer. There was never a dull moment. Another barrister mentioned, “I attended Larry Rice’s seminar years ago and it was the best CLE I had ever attended. When I heard another one was scheduled, I brought my whole team! It is still the best CLE I have ever attended.” Although, I personally don’t have anything to compare it to, I am confident Larry Rice set the bar for future CLE’s impossibly high.