As any attorney knows, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses are required in many states, including New York, for an attorney to maintain the ability to practice law after passing a bar exam. New York's rules can be viewed at www.courts.state.ny.us/attorneys/cle. While there is no shortage of companies and organizations offering CLEs, it can be difficult to find low-cost or free classes, particularly those geared towards public interest, non-profit, or pro bono work.
One thing to keep in mind is that New York and several other states now accept pro-bono work for CLE credit. The New York State CLE Board rules require that providers offer financial assistance based on financial hardship. Look for the scholarship policy of providers whose courses you are considering. Under the CLE rules, the CLE Board defines pro bono as "uncompensated legal services within the State, for clients unable to afford counsel." The program must be accredited by the CLE Board or be done as a court assignment. Under this new rule, passed January 1, 2000, 6 hours of accredited pro bono work equals 1 CLE credit, not to exceed 6 credits every 2 years. More information and details of this ruling in New York can be found on Pro Bono New York State Bar Association Web site. This web site also hosts a newsletter and a guide that may be a helpful resource to attorneys.
The New York State Continuing Legal Education Board has a listing of Pro Bono CLE Providers as of Aug. 28, 2007 in PDF format available for download. The board also features a helpful list of pro bono CLE FAQs and a Regulations and Guidelines section.
Information for other states can be found at the Center for Pro Bono of the American Bar Association Web site
The American Bar Association also offers some free online CLE courses of interest to public service and public interest practitioners, available in formats that include MP3 downloads. There is a range of course offerings for ABA members. Check your state requirements to be sure these courses will be accepted for credit.
Upcoming CLE Seminars
To see any upcoming CLE seminars, please check our events page . Not all events on this page are CLE courses. CLE details will be explicitly noted for those events offering CLE credit.
CLE Credit and Regulations
Please note our CLEs are appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys.
Under Continuing Legal Education regulations, CLE credit will be offered only to those attorneys completing entire sessions; attorneys attending only part of a session are not eligible for partial credit for a session.
Attorneys arriving late are welcome to attend the program but will not be eligible for CLE credit. Attorneys wishing to receive CLE credit must sign in the program’s attendance register prior to and following the CLE program; once a speaker begins the program, the sign-in sheets will be removed. Similarly, attorneys leaving the session early are also ineligible for CLE credit.
While in NYS 50 minutes of CLE training provides 1 hour of credit, all CLEs sponsored by CUNY School of Law run a full 60 minutes, not including introductory remarks or breaks, but including questions and answer periods.