Alternatives for self-education range widely. As I thought back over what I have seen or read about during my consulting career, I came up with the following 17:
Brown bag lunches and informal methods (See my post of May 1, 2005: spreading CLE knowledge to the rest of the law department; and Feb. 19, 2009: collective learning by a leadership group.).
Conferences (See my post of Nov. 16, 2008: conferences aimed at inside lawyers with 11 references.).
Corporate training (See my post of May 7, 2006: in-house training on financial literacy.).
Educational coaching or tutoring (See my post of June 9, 2007: one of three methods used by a department.).
Knowledge base development, including document assembly. This could include checklists and guidelines and annotations (See my post of Jan. 26, 2010: checklists with 9 references.).
Law department offerings (See my post of Feb. 19, 2006 #3: Viacom’s accredited CLE program.).
Law firm instruction (See my post of July 21, 2005: law firms help with training; Dec. 1, 2006: knowledge transfer from firms to departments; May 24, 2007: law firms providing CLE training; May 28, 2007: firm distributes online TV feeds for CLE; and June 15, 2008: partners ought to welcome chances to train in-house clients.).
Lessons learned and recorded on your own (See my post of May 27, 2008: record and circulate nuggets of learning from day-to-day work.).
Online training such as PLI, PLC and other providers of training and educational material.
Planned reading program whereby a diligent lawyer plows through a reading list from a law school course or from some other source.
Online professional network (See my post of Sept. 22, 2008: social networks such as LinkedIn with 7 references.).
Reverse secondment to a law firm (See my post of Jan. 20, 2010: reverse secondments as a training method for legal departments.).
Rotations of lawyers (See my post of Aug. 26, 2007: rotations as experiential learning.).
Shadowing an experienced lawyer (See my post of Aug. 18, 2008: BT’s experience with shadowing by in-house counsel.).
Teaching a course (See my post of Sept. 18, 2007 #1: Graham Packaging general counsel taught an IP course; and April 20, 2009 #1: Hibbett Sports’ general counsel teaches a course.).
University courses (See my post of April 12, 2006: opportunities at universities for law department lawyers to learn about business.).
Write an article, blog or newsletter (See my post of Oct. 24, 2005: inside lawyer wrote about FMC’s use of decision trees; and Jan. 24, 2011: corporate lawyer publishes newsletter on export regulations.).