Last Thursday, the Connecticut Superior Court Rules Committee heard testimony from several attorneys, including CBA President-elect Barry Hawkins and New Haven County Bar President Irene Jacobs, regarding a proposal requiring lawyers to complete at least 36 hours of CLE every three years. The proposal, endorsed by the CBA's House of Delegates, has created a deep division within the bar.
Testimony included information from Jacobs (who spoke against the proposal) that New Jersey, the most recent state to adopt MCLE requirements, found that the costs of implementing the program were higher than anticipated. The costs were not covered by the annual $4 per lawyer assessment and the bar borrowed money from the New Jersey Judicial Branch to fund the start-up.
Stating its own concerns about the costs of the program, the Rules Committee then voted to table the proposal. The move essentially puts the mandatory requirement on hold for at least a year.
The Rules Committee has also decided to ask Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers to form a committee of judges to evaluate the administrative challenges and other burdens that may be born if a mandatory requirement is implemented.