By Katherine Suchocki, Senior Director, Law
Practice Management and Continuing Legal Education
State Bar News, September/October 2017
In July, the CLE Board issued two
updates to the CLE program rules (22 NYCRR 1500.2), including the addition of a
new category of CLE credit.
In addition to ethics and
professionalism, skills, law practice management, and areas of professional
practice, a new category was added for diversity, inclusion and elimination of
bias courses. This category of credit is effective January 1, 2018. Providers
of CLE will now be able to classify courses as diversity, inclusion and
elimination of bias courses.
Under the new rule “Categories of
CLE Credit as Defined in the Program Rules,” 22 NYCRR 1500.2(c)-(g), diversity,
inclusion and elimination of bias courses, programs and activities must relate
to the practice of law and may include, among other things, implicit and explicit
bias, equal access to justice, serving a diverse population, diversity and
inclusion initiatives in the legal profession, and sensitivity to cultural and
other differences when interacting with members of the public, judges, jurors,
litigants, attorneys and court personnel.
The CLE Board outlined that these
programs may include, among other things, diversity, inclusion and elimination
of bias based on, for example, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual
orientation, gender identity, religion, age or disability.
The CLE Board also made changes
to CLE Program Rule §1500.22 Minimum Requirements.
At least one credit hour must now
be in the area of diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias. Attorneys due
to re-register on or after July 1, 2018 must meet this requirement. This
requirement applies to experienced attorneys (those admitted more than two
years). No changes were made to rules relative to newly admitted attorneys.
Out of the minimum 24 credit
hours of accredited continuing legal education each biennial reporting cycle,
at least one credit hour must be in diversity, inclusion and elimination of
bias. Attorneys must still complete four credit hours in ethics and
professionalism. The ethics and professionalism and diversity, inclusion and
elimination of bias components may be intertwined with other courses.
Excerpt from the program rules
PROGRAM RULE §1500.22 | Minimum Requirements (a) Credit Hours
Each attorney shall complete a minimum of
24 credit hours of accredited continuing legal education each biennial
reporting cycle in ethics and professionalism, skills, law practice management,
areas of professional practice, or diversity, inclusion and elimination of
bias, at least four (4) credit hours of which shall be in ethics and
professionalism and at least one (1) credit hour of which shall be in
diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias. Ethics and professionalism,
skills, law practice management, areas of professional practice, and diversity,
inclusion and elimination of bias are defined in §1500.2. The ethics and
professionalism and diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias components may
be intertwined with other courses. [effective July 1, 2018]
Attorneys due to re-register on
or after July 1, 2018 must meet this requirement.
For more information about the
CLE Rules, visit www.nycourts.gov/Attorneys/CLE.
State Bar support
The State Bar has a long history
of encouraging and promoting diversity and inclusion and elimination of bias in
the legal profession. New York joins California and Minnesota, two states that
have long required attorneys to fulfill separate diversity and inclusion CLE requirements.
A sampling of recent course
offerings which would satisfy the diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias
• Representing LGBT
Clients After Obergefell
• Constance Baker
Motley Symposium: The Impact of Implicit Bias on Lawyers and the Legal
• Human Trafficking
in NYS: Legal Issues and Advocating for the Victim
• Representing the
Transgender Client Through the Arc of Life
• The Path to
Marriage Equality & Beyond: Representing LGBT Clients in a Post-DOMA World
• Justice, Race and
• Special Education
• Representing LGBTQ
Children in Family Court
• Immigration Cases
in Criminal and Family Law Areas
• Interplay between
DOMA and the Marriage Equality Act
Courses tend to fall into
one or more of the following categories: (1) how lawyers perceive and interact
with each other as employers, colleagues and partners; (2) how lawyers perceive
and interact with those they come in contact with during the course of
practicing law, such as court personnel, witnesses, jurors, judges and opposing
counsel; (3) ways in which lawyers can better understand and represent their
clients who face barriers, biases and discrimination; (4) non-discrimination,
non-harassment and competent representation as part of a lawyer’s ethical
obligations; (5) discrimination and bias in the broader legal and societal
context and the role of lawyers in addressing them; and (6) the law and legal
issues as they relate to diverse groups and protected classes.
The State Bar’s Committee on
Continuing Legal Education met in July 2017. In an effort to assist attorneys
with compliance with the new rules, free programs, including live webcasts,
will be scheduled in 2018 on diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias topics
for NYSBA members.
NYSBA members will be able to
download programs online, on demand about diversity, inclusion and elimination
of bias topics to meet this requirement as part of a member benefit. We will be
designing addition programs on diversity, inclusion and implicit bias. We
welcome your ideas for program topics and speakers. Feel free to email me
at firstname.lastname@example.org with
your course proposals and speaker suggestions.
Follow us on NYSBACLE to learn
more about the latest course offerings which will meet the diversity, inclusion
and elimination of bias category at @NYSBACLE and @NYSBALPM. View upcoming
programs at www.nysba.org/CLE
January 1, 2018
New Category of CLE Credit: “Diversity,
Inclusion and Elimination of Bias”
Effective July 1, 2018
Change to Experienced Attorney Biennial CLE
Requirement to Include One Credit Hour in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination
What is the
New York State’s Continuing Legal Education program, which was
implemented through the collaborative efforts of the bench and the bar, seeks
to enhance the New York Bar’s proud tradition of professionalism in serving
clients and the public.
The CLE Board is authorized to accredit providers of courses,
programs, and other educational activities that will satisfy the requirements;
determine the number of credit hours for which continuing legal education
credit will be given for particular courses or programs; examine course
materials and the qualifications of continuing legal education instructors;
foster and encourage the offering of accredited courses and programs,
particularly in geographically isolated regions.
The CLE Board reports annually on its activities to the chief
judge, the presiding justices of the Appellate Divisions and the chief
administrator of the courts.
The CLE Board consists of 16 resident members of the bench and
bar. Three members are chosen by each of the presiding justices of the
Appellate Divisions, and four members are chosen by the chief judge of the State
of New York. The chief judge designates the chair. Board members serve at the
pleasure of the administrative board of the courts. The CLE Board is currently
chaired by Judge Betty Weinberg Ellerin.
more about the CLE Board, visit www.nycourts.gov/Attorneys/CLE.