Earlier this year the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) House of Delegates, a group of elected members of the CBA that act to represent the membership, approved proposed rules for mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) in Connecticut.
The proposal is 9 pages long but can be boiled down to this: attorneys licensed to practice law in Connecticut will need to complete 36 hours of accredited legal education in a three year period. The MCLE subject matter must directly relate to legal subjects or the legal profession, including professional responsibility, legal ethics, or law office management.
Sounds good, right? After all, attorneys represent people in important matters that can profoundly affect the life of the client and others. Who wouldn’t want an attorney “up to speed” on the law and related matters?
Well, apparently, a lot of lawyers don’t. The opposition to this proposed rule is strong from a large segment of the Connecticut legal profession.
Connecticut is one of five states in the entire country that does not have MCLE. For the other 45 states MCLE is a “no brainer”.
Prior to the recent proposal by the CBA the last time MCLE was even formally reviewed by the judges that must approve these types of matters was almost twenty years ago. However, that proposal was rejected because the judges were concerned about the effect on small firms and solo practitioners pressed for both time and money.
Give me a break! The argument that attorneys are too busy or too poor for MCLE falls flat, especially since much of the MCLE can be done online. Connecticut lawyers are not any busier or more financially pressed than their colleagues in the 45 states that have mandatory continuing legal education.
No attorney in this Connecticut should be opposed to a well thought out and meaningful mandatory CLE program.
At the firm where I work our attorneys voluntarily seek out continuing legal education and the firm helps contribute to the cost of the CLE because we all want to stay on top of developing legal trends and issues. In addition to good old fashioned experience gained through the “practice of law” one develops over time, continuing legal education makes us all better and in turn we are able to better represent our clients.
Who could argue with that?
Former Stratford, Connecticut Mayor, Attorney at Law and concerned citizen advocating for people, the environment, and personal liberty.