New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/03/08
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Director of Communications
732-937-7524

Report on Continuing Legal Education Includes NJSBA Recommendations on MCLE

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ-The Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Continuing Legal Education released its eagerly awaited draft report and recommendations today on the implementation of mandatory legal education in New Jersey.

“The report shows that the Committee adopted the spirit of the NJSBA recommendations by suggesting the implementation of an MCLE program that is fair, affordable, flexible and not overly burdensome,” said NJSBA President Peggy Sheahan Knee.

“We extend our thanks to the Committee for consideration of the Association’s comments, and we are pleased that many of our recommendations, also echoed by other groups, were included in the report.” Ms. Knee continued, “I will be establishing an MCLE Committee that will be chaired by NJSBA Trustee and past Family Law Section Chair John F. DeBartolo to study all of the recommendations carefully. We expect to provide constructive comments to the Court by the established deadline.”

The following items were recommended by NJSBA (and others) and included in the Report:

One credit hour should be based on 50 minutes of instruction

No set core requirements, except for an ethics/professionalism component

Up to one-half of the required MCLE credits should be permitted to be met through a wide variety of methods, including audiotape, videotape, teleconferencing and webcasts

Enhanced credit for teaching courses

Reciprocity for courses taken in other jurisdictions

Participation in Inns of Courts programs eligible for MCLE credit (although participation in other programs and committees, such as pro bono work, fee arbitration and district ethics committees as recommended by the NJSBA, is set aside for consideration at a later date).

Requirements would apply to everyone with an active license to practice law in New Jersey, including judges, law professors, all private and public sector practitioners and all in-house and corporate counsel, with certain limited exceptions.

Providers are treated in a uniform manner, are subject to a uniform fee schedule, and must show evidence of their ability to provide quality courses before being eligible for “approved service provider” status.

Courses related to the legal profession that meet certain criteria would be eligible for MCLE credit.

The program would be self-funded and paid for primarily through fees on service providers.

“The NJSBA will continue to study two key recommendations from the Court Committee: the elimination of the skills and methods course and oversight by the Board on Attorney Certification of the MCLE program as well as the certification program,” said Ms. Knee.

The New Jersey State Bar Association incorporated in 1899 is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice. Visit the Association’s website at www.njsba.com.

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