The Appellate Division issued rules regarding continuing legal education on December 15, 1998, which took effect December 31, 1998, and were amended effective July 1, 2000. The Rules are set forth in NYCRR Part 1500. The Appellate Divisons' Joint Rules are posted on the WBASNY website.
A set of guidelines regarding New York State's mandatory continuing legal education, prepared by the New York State CLE Board in March 1999, amended effective December 31, 1999, and again November 15, 2005, provides further details of the New York program. The New York State CLE Board's revised Regulations and Guidelines and the Appellate Division Rules are on the WBASNY website. They are also posted at http://www.courts.state.ny.us.
WBASNY is an approved provider of MCLE, and we will all work together to ensure that those of our programs, which meet the requirements of the Rules and Guidelines, can be offered for CLE credit.
II. CLE Requirements (as stated in the Rules, Part 1500):
Newly admitted attorneys, that is attorneys admitted to practice on or after October 1, 1998 and who have been admitted for less than two years, must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours of accredited transitional education within the first two (2) years of admission to the Bar. The sixteen (16) accredited hours in each year shall be in the following categories: Three (3) hours of ethics and professionalism; Six (6) hours of skills; and Seven (7) hours of practice management and areas of professional practice.
Attorneys admitted prior to October 1, 1998 and attorneys admitted for more than two years must complete a minimum of twenty-four (24) credit hours of accredited continuing legal education each biennial reporting cycle in ethics and professionalism, skills, practice management or areas of professional practice, at least four (4) credit hours of which shall be in ethics and professionalism.
The ethics and professionalism components may be intertwined with other courses.
The category descriptions, excerpted from the Part 1500 Rules are as follows:
Ethics and Professionalism may include, among other things, the following: the norms relating to lawyers' professional obligations to clients (including the obligation to provide legal assistance to those in need, confidentiality, competence, conflicts of interest, the allocation of decision making, and zealous advocacy and its limits); the norms relating to lawyers' professional relations with prospective clients, courts and other legal institutions, and third parties (including the lawyers' fiduciary, accounting and record-keeping obligations when entrusted with law client and escrow monies, as well as the norms relating to civility); the sources of lawyers' professional obligations (including disciplinary rules, judicial decisions, and relevant constitutional and statutory provisions); recognition and resolution of ethical dilemmas; the mechanisms for enforcing professional norms; and professional values (including professional development, improving the profession, and the promotion of fairness, justice and morality).
Skills may include, among other things, problem solving, legal analysis and reasoning, legal research and writing, drafting documents, factual investigation (as taught in courses on areas of professional practice), communication, counseling, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, organization and trial advocacy.
Practice Management may encompass, among other things, office management, applications of technology, state and federal court procedures, substance abuse control, stress management, management of legal work and avoiding malpractice and litigation.
Areas of Professional Practice may include, among other things, corporations, wills/trusts, elder law, estate planning/administration, real estate, commercial law, civil litigation, criminal litigation, family law, labor and employment law, administrative law, securities, tort/insurance practice, bankruptcy, taxation, compensation, intellectual property, municipal law, landlord/tenant, environmental law, entertainment law, international law, social security and other government benefits, and alternative dispute resolution procedures.
III. Program requirements:
As set forth in the Regulations and Guidelines, accredited continuing legal education courses or programs shall comply with the following guidelines:
One (1) hour of continuing legal education credit shall consist of at least 50 minutes of instruction, exclusive of introductory remarks, meals, breaks or other non-educational activities.
The program shall have significant intellectual or practical content and its primary objective shall be to increase the professional competency of the attorney in ethics and professionalism, skills, practice management and/or areas of professional practice.
Thorough, high quality, readable and carefully prewritten materials shall be made available to all participants at or before the time the course or program is presented, unless the absence of materials, or the provision of such materials shortly after the course or program, is pre-approved by the CLE Board.
(i) Materials shall be prepared or compiled specifically for the accredited course or program, and shall specifically address each topic presented in the course or program;
(ii) Materials shall be prepared or adopted and approved by the speaker and shall be distributed to the attendees at or before the time the course or program is to be held;
(iii) Materials shall reflect that they are timely or that they have been updated with specific reference to the course or program;
(iv) Materials shall cover those matters which one would expect for a comprehensive and professional treatment of the subject matter of the course or program;
(v) Brief outlines without citations or explanatory notations shall not constitute compliance with Program accreditation criteria.
The cost of continuing legal education courses or programs to the participating attorney, apart from optional meals, lodging, and travel, shall be reasonable.
IV. Financial Hardship Guidelines & Publicity:
A. The Rules and Guidelines require that all program publicity must include our financial hardship policy: The program provider must notify the public of the existence of WBASNY's financial hardship policy in its continuing legal education advertisements and brochures but need not include the text of its financial hardship policy.
B. If the provider is not charging for the program, the hardship policy is irrelevant.
C. If the provider is charging for the program, all your publicity must state the existence of WBASNY's hardship policy. The following language is mandatory:
FINANCIAL HARDSHIP SCHOLARSHIPS: Full and partial scholarships for this program based on financial need are available. For information on the guidelines and to apply, please contact - Insert name, address and phone number of chapter CLE contact - here. All requests are confidential.
D. It is the job of the liaison to review all requests for financial hardship. WBASNY's policy is as follows: If anyone calls to request a financial hardship discount, you may offer a 50% discount of the program tuition (same policy for members and non-members). We do not need to offer financial hardship for food. Ask the applicant for a letter requesting the discount, but the letter need not disclose any reason or personal or financial information. We will accept anyone's request at face value. The applicant can bring the letter to the program, the liaison does not need to see it in advance. If the applicant cannot afford to pay even 50%, the liaison may, within her discretion; offer a larger discount, as she believes is appropriate. Of course, we do not want to give away our programs, but we do want to encourage people to attend programs and become members. We trust your liaison's discretion, but if anyone has a question or problem, do not hesitate to call your designated WBASNY CLE Co-Chair.
E. Remember that the CLE Board wants information on financial hardship; the program provider must report the number of financial hardship requests and number of requests granted. Please refer to the revised Memo page 6, item F, and the Checklist.
A. Program publicity should include the information that CLE credit is available. The following paragraph is the language from the Guidelines. The Program provider will complete the number of credits and the category. Providers of approved courses and programs may announce in information, brochures or registration materials the following:
"This course or program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board for a maximum of _____ (transitional or non-transitional) credit hours, of which _____ credit hours can be applied toward the ____________________ requirement or the ____________________ requirement, and ____________________ credit hours can be applied toward the ____________________ requirement or the ____________________ requirement. Each hour may be counted only as satisfying one category of ____________ credit; duplicate credit for the same hour of instruction is not permitted."
B. Publicity for programs presented by a chapter must include the chapter name and that it is a chapter of WBASNY, because it is WBASNY which is the accredited provider, not the chapters. For example, a program would be sponsored by the Trusts and Estates Committee of the - Insert chapter name here - , a chapter of WBASNY.
C. Publicity must also include whether the program is transitional (and thus can be used by newly admitted attorneys) or non-transitional.
V. The chapter CLE Liaison & The Program Provider - Summary:
A. The program provider is the committee or chapter producing the program. The Chapter's CLE liaison is the intermediary between the program provider and that chapter's designated WBASNY CLE Co-Chair. Basically, the job of chapter CLE liaison, or her designee - which might be that particular program's chairperson – is to interface with the program provider and to timely send the required materials to the chapter's WBASNY CLE Co-Chair. The CLE liaison has jobs before and after the program as summarized below. The detailed description follows in section VI.
B. Before the program. At least six weeks prior to the program, the CLE liaison must collect from the program provider all necessary documentation and material (see attached: Sample # 1 - CLE Checklist), review the materials to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Rules and Regulations, request additional information from the program provider (if necessary) and forward the checklist and copies of all materials as detailed on the checklist to the appropriate Co-Chair for review and approval. It is also the liaison's job to review all requests for financial hardship scholarships for programs offered by her chapter. Upon final determination of the date, time and location of the CLE program, the chapter's CLE liaison should e-mail the program information to headquarters for posting on the WBASNY website.
C. After the program. The CLE liaison must personally send (or she must arrange for the program provider to send) a final copy of the: checklist, written statement, original materials, faculty list and bios, license agreements and copyright approvals, advertisement or publicity flyer, timed agenda, attendance sheet(s), program evaluation form(s), a typewritten list of all attendee and speaker names, and check payable to WBASNY in an amount equal to $5 multiplied by the number of people who are requesting CLE credit, including speakers if necessary, to Linda Chiaverini, WBASNY's Executive Director (see Section VI(F)). Headquarters, will, in turn, only after receiving all the materials and the check, send the certificates of participation back to the liaison or the program provider (as Linda is directed) who must then distribute the certificates of participation to the program participants.
VI. WBASNY's System for Accreditation - The Details:
The following is the system we have developed to approve programs for CLE credit.
A. At least six weeks prior to the date of the program, and preferably earlier than that, the chapter CLE liaison, or her designee, will collect copies of the following materials from the program provider and forward all of them in one package to the appropriate WBASNY CLE Co-Chair.
1. CLE checklist (see attached: Sample #1 - CLE Checklist)
2. Written statement setting forth the title of the program, and the date, time and location of the program.
3. Timed course agenda or program outlines which must include:
a) Identification of program, date, time, location
b) course content
c) breakout of time devoted to each topic, which must be broken down into a minimum of 15 minute periods (separate out introductions, introductory remarks, breaks and Q & A, none of which can be counted towards program time)
d) identify speakers and their qualifications
4. Copies of the program materials to be handed out. The final program materials must comply with MCLE regulations (III Infra) and cannot be merely a synopsis or outline or merely cases or lists of citations.
5. Sample course brochure, or copy of flyer or other advertisement. Don't forget to include hardship policy (IV, infra) and whether credits are transitional (appropriate for the newly admitted attorney) or non-transitional. Identify the number of credit hours and a breakdown of categories of credit (e.g. ethics and professionalism, skills, practice management, and areas of professional practice) and whether the program is suitable for transitional (newly admitted attorneys) or non-transitional credit. This may be subject to modification upon review of the WBASNY CLE Co-Chair.
6. A typewritten list of the faculty together with faculty biographies or C.V.'s of each speaker.
7. Permission from the speaker to use the materials (see attached: Sample #8 - License to Publish and Reprint, Ver. 1 - [Consideration Paid to Speaker] and Ver. 2 - [No Consideration Paid to Speaker]). Remember that the person preparing the written materials must not violate copyright laws. In the event the writer needs copyright permission, we have prepared a letter requesting copyright permission (see attached: Sample #7 - Copyright Request Letter). It may be simpler for the program provider, to contact the Copyright Clearance Center at 978.646.2523, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, URL: www.copyright.com. There is a charge for this service, but depending upon the number of sources used, the program provider may find this a worthwhile investment.
B. The CLE liaison should review all the documents to make certain that the materials are complete and that they meet the standards set forth in the Regulations and Guidelines, III, supra.
C. The liaison will then send a complete copy of all of the documents to the designated WBASNY CLE Co-Chair.
D. The WBASNY CLE Co-Chair will then review the documents and fax back to the CLE liaison either (i) approving the package (see attached: Sample #2 - Accreditation Approval) or (ii) requesting additional information or materials (see attached Sample #3 - Notice of Failure to Qualify). If approved, a copy of the Accreditation Approval is faxed to WBASNY Headquarters.
E. After we approve the program, the CLE liaison will give the attendance sheets and evaluation forms (see attached: Sample #5 - Attendance Sheet- and Sample #6 - Evaluation Form) to the program provider. Either the liaison or the provider is responsible for (1) filling in the information pertaining to the program on these forms, (2) making certain that every participant (and only participants who stay for the entire program) sign the attendance sheet, and (3) collect completed evaluation forms for each attendee.
F. Within two weeks after the date of the program, the CLE liaison or the provider must send a copy of the checklist and originals of: all documents previously sent to the WBASNY CLECo-Chair, plus a copy of the checklist, completed attendance sheets, program evaluation forms, information as to how many people requested financial hardship (including the requests and how many requests were granted), a type written list of all attendee and speaker names and a check payable to WBASNY equal to $10 multiplied by the number of people requesting CLE credit, to Linda Chiaverini at Post Office Box 936, Planetarium Station, New York, NY 10024-0546, 212-362-4445. The chapter CLE liaison should keep a copy of the attendance sheet. Upon receipt of all required documents, certificates will be issued within a two month timeframe.
All materials for CLE programs must be received by WBASNY Headquarters sixty days post program. For any program held in November or December, all materials must be received by January 15th.
G. Every year, by January 31st WBASNY must submit to the CLE Board: all the program materials, the evaluation summaries, each program's brochure or advertising, a copy of the timed agenda and a year-end report describing the continuing legal education activities conducted during the prior twelve months. WBASNY headquarters will be responsible for storing the attendance sheets, evaluations and other necessary paperwork for the four years required by the Rules.