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Year-end rush for CLE set to begin

Jenny Montgomery
November 23, 2011
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After Thanksgiving, an annual tradition begins for Indiana attorneys. It’s what some people call the “mad rush” to finish continuing legal education requirements by year’s end.

A rule adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1986 has required lawyers – beginning in January 1987 – to complete 36 hours of CLE credit per three-year cycle. That means that for many lawyers in the state, the three-year cycle ended in 2010. Even so, 2011 will see its share of last-minute efforts to finish CLE.

Scott King, program director for the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, said around the end of October calls increase from firms and bar associations requesting to host ICLEF video replays.

“It’s human nature. People have a lot of priorities in their lives, and CLE is not always at the top of that list until the fourth quarter of the year,” he said.

Video replays

For those who have been too busy to attend CLE sessions in-person, video replays offer a second chance – or a last chance – to complete requirements.

Maribeth Leininger, executive director of the Allen County Bar Association, said the bar offers five days of “last-chance” video CLE sessions, which are repeat performances of its summer brown bag lunch offerings.

“We have multiple opportunities for attorneys to fulfill CLE requirements, and for those attorneys who call us the first week of December needing their hours, we can accommodate them,” she said.

The Indianapolis Bar Association offers “11th Hour Video Replays” Dec. 27-29, which are also repeats of live CLE sessions it offered throughout the year.

CLECorydon attorney Harold Dillman said his three-attorney law office has been hosting video replays for at least six years. Dillman is hosting a two-day replay of the 2011 Elder Law Institute on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and a daylong probate litigation replay on Dec. 29.

“It keeps me from having to drive to Indianapolis,” he said. And Dillman, who is licensed to practice in Indiana and Kentucky, is able to earn CLE credits for both states by hosting one video replay. Occasionally, attorneys from outside the firm will sign up for the CLE replays.

“You never know – it’s not unusual that there just isn’t anybody, but some years, I’ve had a dozen,” he said.

Online options

Since 1996, the Indiana Supreme Court Commission for Continuing Legal Education has allowed attorneys to earn CLE credit by watching programming online, and ICLEF generally offers between 40 and 55 online programs, King said.

“There’s always something for somebody that’s relevant to watch – and we have people who log into those programs right up until midnight on Dec. 31,” King said.

Anyone who purchases an online CLE through ICLEF can access the presentation for 30 days, which means it can be watched in segments, as time allows. But be warned: if you nod off during an online CLE, ICLEF will know.

“We have what’s called a random verifier encoded in our webcasting programming, and it will at random times check your attendance at the program,” King said. “Two attorneys watching the same program will not get the same verifier popping up on their screen. If you do not respond to it, the program will shut down.”

Meeting the need

ICLEF offers an all-day, in-person CLE on Dec. 31, but most bar associations stop offering CLE before that date. The Evansville Bar Association, for example, will offer no CLE between Dec. 19 and Jan. 5 – a point that was communicated to members in giant red type in the bar’s November newsletter.

Sometimes, people can’t find exactly what they’re looking for at a time or place that works for them. That’s why Leininger sometimes sees lawyers from all over the state – including Evansville – attending last-minute CLE in Fort Wayne. She also sees people registering for CLE programs who may be in town visiting relatives but are trying to make the most of their time.

Many late-year CLE programs will offer some ethics component, as the three-year cycle must include three hours of ethics CLE.

“Ethics seems to be probably the most requested subject matter, but second to that it’s really across the board … estate planning, family law, things of that nature,” King said.

Financial help

Attorneys who need help covering the cost of CLE may apply for a grant from Indiana Bar Foundation’s ICLEF Scholarship Fund. Lawyers must apply at least two weeks in advance of the CLE they wish to attend, and the award covers only six hours of CLE.•

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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