Engagingly educational continuing legal education program? I don’t remember when. But who said lawyers were supposed to be engaged let alone entertained at these programs. Continuing legal education is instead meant to supposedly make lawyers more competent and more professional. But the thing is, there’s never been empirical support for that proposition.
All the same, virtually all state supreme courts continue to mandate CLE while state bar program providers continue to pirouette around whether the programs improve attorney competence or enhance professionalism.
Indeed, among my favorite dance meanders are the ones offered by the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Ad Hoc Committee on Continuing Legal Education, which was tasked in 2007 “to determine whether it could find a compelling case against the establishment of mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE or CLE) in New Jersey.”
“Admittedly,” the Committee said in its 2008 report, “empirical data affirming the effectiveness of mandatory CLE do not appear to exist.” But did that bit of obviousness stop the Committee from predictably recommending the comprehensive implementation of mandatory CLE?
Of course not, even as the Committee was admitting that the absence of evidentiary support “has been acknowledged by almost every jurisdiction that has adopted mandatory CLE, perhaps in recognition that the critical problems associated with defining competence and developing a test regimen to measure for improved performance have not been resolved.”
Or just maybe, the better reason for the lingering inability to find a competency testing metric is that it’s preferable to keep offering up that ‘X is true because there is no proof that X is false.’ Or as the Committee said in its report, “Given that continuing education is inherent in the concept of professionalism and the widely held view that voluntary continuing legal education is beneficial, what reasons, other than the absence of empirical data, mitigate against making CLE mandatory? We have found few, if any.”
So as of January 1, 2010, Rule 1:43 has required all New Jersey licensed attorneys to take 24 hours of continuing legal education every two years, including at least 4 hours on topics related to ethics and/or professionalism.
And with that preamble, here’s the latest FREE CLE update. The usual disclaimers about availability, content and jurisdictional creditworthiness apply.
(1) hour on demand CLE
2.5 hours of on demand CLE
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Practising Law Institute