September 29, 2005
Mandatory CLE
Posted by Christine Hurt

A faculty member here at Illinois just sent out an informative email alerting us that the Illinois Bar Association enacted rules today making CLE mandatory and creating a mandatory "bridge the gap" type CLE program for new attorneys.  Sigh.

Who argued for mandatory CLE with a straight face?  In my experience (with Texas), mandatory CLE requirements simpy create an industry for CLE providers.  Attorneys can choose to spend a lot on out-of-town CLE programs at nice hotels, perhaps in Cancun, Aspen, or elsewhere, or spend a minimal amount on an online CLE that streams audio and/or video through your computer while you pay rapt attention.  Like any education, one can get either a lot or a little out of CLE depending on how much attention you spend choosing and attending the CLE, but most people I would assume get little out of it. 

I would argue that mandatory CLE raises the cost of being in the legal profession without a commensurate benefit to either the profession or the public.  I can understand how it could be hard to eliminate mandatory CLE once it is enacted, but I would like to know who in Illinois thought that after all these years, mandatory CLE would be a good thing.  Are grievances lower in states with mandatory CLE than in states without it?

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