To no one’s surprise, today the Arizona Supreme Court turned down an Arizona lawyer’s petition that would have required an acknowledgement on all mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) advertising “that the value of MCLE is unproven and that the state bar has a financial interest in CLE marketing.”
And as also expected, there was nary an explanation — just the minute order stating “Denied.”
This past December, I applauded colleague James C. Mitchell’s boldly trenchant petition to amend Arizona Supreme Court the Supreme Court Rule that sets out the Court’s mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) requirements.
His petition amounted to a ‘truth-in-advertising’ disclaimer and would have required all state bar advertising to “align claims for mandated CLE with available evidence of its value, acknowledging that CLE as practiced has little or no verifiable impact on attorney competence or public protection.”
He further explained, “This amendment is needed to create transparency in a significant program of law practice regulation. It would protect the public and lawyers themselves from deception by unproven claims of value in a mandated scheme of so-called continuing legal education, and protect the State Bar from potentially making or embracing false claims of value in products and services that it provides for money.”
(1) there’s no empirical support that mandatory continuing legal education enhances lawyer competency or professionalism and;
(2) the state bar has a financial interest in CLE marketing.
Notwithstanding the old tongue-in-cheek Danish proverb about it being too “difficult to prophesy, especially about the future.” This one was easy to predict when I opined in December, “the Court will never approve this petition and will most likely deny it without explanation.”