"I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught." ~Winston Churchill
Aspiring attorneys have committed themselves to the rigors of earning both an undergraduate and a law degree, and sometimes even a masters in law. Studying for and passing one or more state bar exams usually comes next. After basking in the glory of finally adding the title Esquire after their names, fledgling lawyers quickly realize that they are not done "hitting the books." In fact, the fun is just beginning.
Acquiring a deeper knowledge in your field of choice, mastering new techniques and keeping up with current developments is a lifelong process. That is where Continuing Legal Education comes into the picture.
Most attorneys want to excel, and they seek to learn from mentors, colleagues, books, seminars and workshops. New Jersey attorneys have been voluntarily attending Continuing Legal Education classes for years. Beginning January 1, 2010, the Garden State became the 44th state to implement a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement that must be met in order for a lawyer to maintain the license he or she worked so hard to receive.
At first blush, it seems so simple: Lawyers must complete 24 hours of coursework every two years, including at least four hours on ethics and professionalism. Most attorneys know little more than this about these important rules. Since a failure to comply in a timely manner may result in the administrative suspension of the attorney's privilege to be a New Jersey attorney, a thorough understanding of the rules will prove useful.
Questions are being asked: What are the deadlines? Which is my compliance group? How do I satisfy the reporting requirements?
A good place to start would be by reading the regulations themselves as well as FAQs prepared by the BCLE. Check these out at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/cle/index.htm. Also, make sure that you check out this blog regularly since I will discuss various aspects of the requirements on an ongoing basis.