Connecticut Establishes CLE Requirement

After years of discussion and debate, the Connecticut Judicial Branch has established a new minimum continuing legal education ("CLE") requirement for Connecticut attorneys, to take effect as of January 1, 2017, approved by the judges of the Connecticut Superior Court.

The new rule will be Section 2-27(A) of the Superior Court Rules, General Provisions in the Practice Book. It is entitled “Minimum Continuing Legal Education” and will state: "On an annual basis, each attorney admitted in Connecticut shall certify, on the registration form required by Section 2-27(d), that the attorney has completed in the last calendar year no less than twelve credit hours of appropriate continuing legal education, at least two hours of which shall be in ethics/professionalism. The ethics and professionalism components may be integrated with other courses.…”

A wide variety of organizations provide CLE that will meet the requirements under the new rule, including the Connecticut Bar Association. Section 2-27A(b)(1) provides that attorneys can satisfy the requirement: “… (1) By attending legal education courses provided by any local, state or special interest bar association in this state or regional or national bar associations recognized in this state or another state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia (hereinafter referred to as ‘‘bar association’’); any private or government legal employer; any court of this or any other state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia; any organization whose program or course has been reviewed and approved by any bar association or organization which has been established in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia to certify and approve continuing legal education courses; and any other non-profit or for-profit legal education providers, including law schools and other appropriate continuing legal education providers, and including courses remotely presented by video conference, webcasts, webinars, or the like by said providers.” The rule also allows for credit through self-study, publishing, and teaching as provided for in 2-27A(b)(2) – (6).

Section 2-27A(c)(6) describes eligibility for education credit: “To be eligible for continuing legal education credit, the course or activity must: (A) have significant intellectual or practical content designed to increase or maintain the attorney’s professional competence and skills as a lawyer; (B) constitute an organized program of learning dealing with matters directly related to legal subjects and the legal profession; and (C) be conducted by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience.”

It is believed that most states that require CLE have more restrictive standards than Connecticut and will count towards Connecticut’s requirement. No nationwide rule exists within the United States for CLE requirements or accreditation. Instead, each individual jurisdiction exercises discretion on how to regulate attorneys within its state. Connecticut had been one of six domestic jurisdictions remaining that did not require CLE, the others being Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia.

Categories: General