Thursday, December 19, 2013

Continuing Legal Education – The 2014 Version

It’s true when they say that professionals are never done learning.  And when those professionals are attorneys and judges, the learning is mandatory and tied to keeping a law license.

New continuing legal education (CLE) changes will soon apply to Ohio’s judges and attorneys.  The Ohio Supreme Court updated the CLE rules last year to take effect on January 1, 2014.

For attorneys:
Attorneys must continue to complete 24 CLE hours every two years. But now they may double the credit hours they earn online, earn a portion of those hours with approved pro bono activities, and even eat during educational presentations.  

Self-study hours are increasing from 6 to 12 hours each biennial period and attorneys will be able to receive 1 CLE credit for every 6 hours of pro bono service for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

Other changes include:

·         A lower range of recommended fines (upper limit reduced from $500 to $300) for noncompliant attorneys for hour deficiencies.   

·         More flexibility to choose courses within a “professional conduct” category to allow attendance at programs that will more closely meet individual professional and practice needs.          

For judges:
Judges still must complete 40 hours of CLE every two years. The category of “judicial conduct” has also been unbundled so that 3 hours of mandatory instruction through courses offered by the Ohio Judicial College will be more helpful. Judge will be able to choose from among programs in judicial ethics, professionalism, and access to justice and fairness in the courts, along with instruction on alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

View the complete text of the upcoming CLE changes.

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