In December, the CBA put on a short CLE course addressing the recent changes in CLE requirements and accreditation. In case you missed it, here is a recap:
C.R.C.P. 250, which governs CLE requirements, recently underwent a few significant changes. Previously, C.R.C.P. 250.2 required attorneys to obtain seven “ethics” CLE credits as part of the requisite forty-five credits. Beginning on January 1, 2023, attorneys will now be required to obtain seven “professional responsibility” credits, instead of “ethics” credits. C.R.C.P. 250.2. “Professional responsibility” education encompasses the following topics: equity, diversity & inclusivity (EDI); ethics; legal professionalism; lawyer wellness; law practice management; and alternate dispute resolution. C.L.J.E. 103.1 (regarding standards for CLE accreditation).
The seven “professional responsibility” credits must include at least two credit hours of “EDI” education and at least five credit hours of “legal ethics or legal professionalism.” C.R.C.P. 250.2. “Legal professionalism” is a new category of continuing education, focusing on civility, integrity, candor, fairness, dignity, and the values espoused by the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Oath of Admission. See CLJE 103.1. “EDI” includes activities or courses that address “equal access to the legal system, competent representation of diverse populations; or the recognition, mitigation, or elimination of bias in the legal profession or the legal system.” Id.
The new requirement to complete seven “professional responsibility” credits impacts those with a compliance period ending in 2023 or after. It does not apply to compliance periods ending in 2021 or 2022.
As to reason for this change, all of the panelists discussed how EDI training is necessary to start important conversations, better understand our clients and our coworkers, build relationships, and ultimately become better humans and better lawyers in a more inclusive legal community.
Lynn Noesner is a Lead Deputy State Public Defender in the Appellate Division. In that capacity, she works to protect the state and federal constitutions and ensure that her indigent clients receive fair process in the criminal system. Lynn received her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in English and Women's Studies from Colgate University. In her free time, Lynn enjoys yoga, hanging out with her four-year-old daughter, and fighting oppression.