Connecticut’s New Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rule
On January 1, 2017, Connecticut attorneys will need to comply with the new rules on minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) as established by the judges of the Connecticut Superior Court. The Connecticut Bar Association is prepared to help members comply with these new requirements by:
An Overview of the New Connecticut Minimum Continuing Legal Education Requirement (CT MCLE Rule)
View the Judicial Branch’s new CT MCLE Rule here
Please note: This information is not to be construed as legal advice or as a substitute for an individual attorney’s judgment as to the meaning of the rule or compliance therewith. The Connecticut Judicial Branch is establishing a continuing legal education commission under Section 2-27A(g): “The charge of the commission will be to provide advice regarding the application and interpretation of this rule and to assist with its implementation including, but not limited to, the development of a list of frequently asked questions and other documents to assist the members of the bar to meet the requirements of this rule.”
What is the basic requirement of CT MCLE rule?
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 states:
“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.…”
Who is excepted from complying with the CT MCLE Rule?
Exceptions to the CT MCLE requirement are described in Sections (a)(1) through (a)(6).
When is the new rule effective?
The rule goes into effect on January 1, 2017. There is no MCLE requirement for 2016.
Who can provide CLE that qualifies under CT MCLE rule?
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).
What kinds of programs might qualify for credit under the CT MCLE rule?
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.”
Does Connecticut certify CLE providers or programs?
Providers are identified in Section (b)(1) of the Rule. The Judicial Branch has not implemented a mechanism to certify or accredit specific providers. The Connecticut Bar Association does not certify or accredit providers.
Will taking a program certified by another state, like New York, count towards the CT MCLE rule?
Yes, we believe that most states that require CLE have more restrictive standards than Connecticut and will count towards Connecticut’s requirement. The Connecticut Bar Association is an accredited provider of New York State CLE and our CLE programs will meet Connecticut’s requirements.
Will taking a program that meets the CT MCLE rule count towards credit in other states?
Generally it will not, unless the program meets that state’s accreditation criteria. Programs offered by the CBA will meet both the Connecticut standard and the New York standard. In our experience, the CBA’s New York accredited programs have also been accepted by some other jurisdictions.
How is credit computed?
Section 2-27A(c) describes how credit is computed:
“(1) Credit for any of the above activities shall be based on the actual instruction time, which may include lecture, panel discussion, and question and answer periods. Self-study credit shall be based on the reading time or running time of the selected materials or program.
(2) Credit for attorneys preparing for and presenting legal seminars, courses or programs shall be based on one hour of credit for each two hours of preparation. A maximum of six hours of credit may be credited for preparation of a single program. Credit for presentation shall be on an hour for hour basis. Credit may not be earned more than once for the same course given during a twelve month period.
(3) Credit for the writing and publication of articles shall be based on the actual drafting time required. Each article may be counted only one time for credit.”
Who is responsible for tracking credits under the CT MCLE rule?
The individual attorney must keep records for seven years. The Connecticut Bar Association will offer members a free Professional Development Journal in their online member account, which will automatically track credits earned at accredited CBA CLE programs. Members will also have the option to enter other CLE credits, including self-study hours, into this online journal. However, the CBA will not certify or otherwise vouch for those credits.
What is the Connecticut Bar Association going to do to help members comply with the CT MCLE rule?
The CBA will:
• Continue producing high quality, accredited CLE accepted under the New York State program. This means that CBA CLE will meet the New York standard and the Connecticut standard.
• Offer members access to free, online self-study materials to enable them to meet the Connecticut requirement as part of their CBA membership.
• Provide members with a free Professional Development Journal, which will automatically track attendance at accredited CBA CLE programs. Members will also be able to enter other CLE programs, including self-study programs.
• Expand our educational offerings to assist government and in-house practitioners.
• Continue the growth of our CLE faculty and continue our tradition of members learning with and from their colleagues.
Is the Connecticut Bar Association involved in administering or interpreting the CT MCLE rule?
No. We are a private, nonprofit association of attorneys and a provider of continuing legal education in Connecticut. We did not establish the rule and are not responsible for administering it.