Thursday, April 4, 2013

Do CLE Requirements Improve the Quality of Lawyering?

The Rules Committee of the Connecticut Superior Court has rejected requiring new lawyers to spend a day in “boot camp” to learn about the practice of law. From the Connecticut Law Tribune (excerpts):

After lengthy discussions, the Rules Committee of the Connecticut Superior Court has voted down a proposal to require new lawyers to participate in one day of career training before launching their careers. The proposed "boot camp" for new lawyers was seen as a compromise to a Connecticut Bar Association plan to bring mandatory legal education for lawyers in the state.

The plan for a one-day training for newly admitted Connecticut lawyers was one of two recommendations that a Rules Committee task force on MCLE came up with earlier this year. The other idea, for an annual "professional day" in each judicial district, during which lawyers would voluntary take part in seminars and legal education discussions, will move forward. That proposal did not need the approval of the Rules Committee.

A main objection is that no empirical evidence indicates that CLE programs improve the quality of lawyering.

Though 46 states now have CLE, Connecticut opponents have also noted that there is no empirical evidence that there is a higher quality of lawyering in places where CLE is required.

Superior Court Judge Elliot Solomon was selected to lead the task force to study the feasibility of an MCLE program, and how much it would cost to run. From the beginning of his assignment last year, Solomon noted deep division among lawyers. Opponents of MCLE included members of regional bar groups like the New Haven County Bar Association. That group polled its members and found 70 percent of its 1,300 members did not like the idea of MCLE, citing concerns about time away from work and costs.


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