Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Continuing Legal Education Requirements for NY State

When you work at a law firm, you are likely to rely on the CLE coordinator to keep track of your Continuing Legal Education requirements.  There is at least one expert to explain how new attorneys have to comply with the transitional legal education requirements (live attendance, number of hours per type of CLE, etc).

Newly admitted attorneys must complete at least 16 transitional CLE credit hours in each of the first two years of admission to the Bar, as follows:
Category of Credit Before first anniversary of admission During second year of admission
Ethics and Professionalism 3 3
Skills 6 6
Law Practice Management and/or Areas of Professional Practice 7 7
TOTAL 16 transitional CLE credit hours 16 transitional CLE credit hours

The first set of 16 transitional CLE credit hours must be completed by the first anniversary of admission to the Bar, in the designated categories of credit. The second set of 16 transitional CLE credit hours must be completed between the first and second anniversaries.

If you're struggling to decipher the requirements on your own, it's best to go direct to the New York State Unified Court website's section on CLE requirements for attorneys.  The FAQs are quite clear and a phone call will usually dispel any lingering questions.

FAQs for newly admitted attorneys -
FAQs for experienced attorneys -

I received the reminder of the CLE requirements 1 month before the end of my compliance period. I knew that I had more than enough credits, but I wanted to make sure that I was counting the period properly.  My birthday is in Dec. I was admitted in January 2006. You have 30 days from your birthday to send in the compliance report.  I was confusing the deadline - did I also have 30 days from my birthday to comply with the CLE requirements?  I called to ask -and if you have questions, you can either email or call (212) 428-2105, or toll free from outside of New York City at 1 (877) NYS-4CLE (697-4253).

To determine which months are covered for my latest CLE period,   here's how we figured it out.   First, recall whether the year you were admitted was an even year or odd year.  If you were admitted on an even year, then your compliance period ends on an even year, if an odd year, then an odd year.  Experienced attorneys have 24 months from birthday to comply with the CLE requirement of 24 hours (4 of which must be Ethics).   So, since my birthday is Dec 19 and I was admitted to NY in 2006, I have to make sure that I took 24 hours of CLE from Dec. 20, 2008 to Dec. 19, 2010 AND that 4 of those 24 hours were Ethics CLE.  

It turns out that it's not that hard to figure out the compliance period - but it helped to be able to talk to someone and make sure that I had it right. 

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