In my work in accreditation, we continually get requests for credit for states, and for types of credit, that we haven’t advertised or listed as available for the program. I’ve learned that it is ok to say “no” to some of these requests. But “no,” doesn’t have to mean no credit for the attorney.
In almost every jurisdiction, an attorney can self-apply for credit. There are a few exceptions, but generally the attorney can request credit for a program that has been issued credit by another state.
The key to confidently saying no, I believe, is providing the attorney with the requisite information and resources to apply on his or her own. If this process is relatively painless, and the information required is readily available, most attorneys are willing to complete the paperwork to gain credit on their own.
An attorney will be able to self-apply for credit if you provide attendees with:
• Speaker information, including firm or organization affiliation. A speaker biography is preferable as it will give the accrediting board specific information about the speaker’s expertise, but it is not always required.
• Program agenda, with a breakdown of specific times discussing each topic. This is particularly important when offering ethics or specialty credits.
• Program materials. In some cases, samples of these program materials may be required to be submitted with the attorney self application.
• Certificate of completion. If the attorney has not requested credit in a state for which you are offering credit, you must issue some form of documentation to the attorney so that he or she may provide verification to the state of his or her attendance.
With most of the information above, these items are generally provided to attendees as a matter of course in the presentation of the program. In many cases, you may not even need to provide any supplemental materials to attorneys in order for them to self-apply.
You may also wish to develop or purchase a tool that assists attorneys in the self-application process. For example, we have built a tool that populates the Florida attorney self-application document with the relevant information from our site. While this certainly isn’t necessary, it does make it easier to say no to an attorney who can very easily apply for the credit on his or her own.