As someone who considers herself rather well versed in the rules of MCLE - the volume of pages of rules, regulations, FAQs, interpretations, comments etc. from over 45 regulatory agencies can certainly be overwhelming, even to me.
Complicating this further is the often confusing language of the rules themselves. This is especially true when states require attorneys to complete credits in ethics AND in professionalism. As my friend Tim Baran (barancle.com) points out in his latest post: "Vermont to Clear up Confusing Ethics vs Professionalism CLE Rules for Lawyers" - in at least one case, the state is acknowledging the confusion.
On September 15, 2010, the Vermont Continuing Legal Education Board issued a memo to the bar which stated in part:
Given the breadth of the language of Rule 3(b), the Board is cognizant that there may not be enough guidance as to what constitutes professionalism study versus ethics study.
Now accepting comments, Vermont hopes to better understand attorneys' reaction to the professionalism rule. It is also seeking comments regarding the current library of professionalism courses available to attorneys, including those already completed.
Be sure to let attorneys licensed in Vermont know about the open comment period by sending communications to JUD-AttyLicensing@state.vt.us.
Clarification will certainly be welcomed by me! It may even be beneficial to other states (Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Utah) which have a similar requirement that attorneys complete courses in both categories. Watch here for more details as they become available.