This article explores what it takes to comply with New York and New Jersey continuing legal education (CLE) requirements from the perspective of the New Jersey barred attorney who lives in New York and who has been recently admitted. New Jersey continuing legal education requirements have been already explored earlier in this article. The goal of the article is to establish minimum CLE compliance in both states taking advantage of reciprocity rules.
I am not the first, nor I am certain the last commentator about NY-NJ CLE reciprocity requirements. Tim Baran, for example, addressed this issue in his article “Comparison of New Jersey and New York CLE Reciprocity.” Although Mr. Baran’s article seems to be written from the perspective of CLE service provider rather than an attorney consumer, one can still sense a frustration from the jurisdictional disharmony. The CLE industry in New York seems to be adapting well. New York County Lawyers’ Association became New Jersey’s “Accredited Service Provider” and now offers courses that qualify for CLE credit in New Jersey. It is interesting to note that instructions state “[w]hen registering for a live program please indicate on the “customer instructions/comments” section of the online order form that you want New Jersey credit.” Could that be because such indication entails that participating attorneys will not obtain New Jersey credit?
Note on New Jersey
The previous post has established that newly admitted New Jersey attorneys with birthdays from July 1 through December 31 have until December 31, 2014 to complete 24 CLE hours which include:
- 4 ethics hours
- 15 hours in any 5 specified areas
Because the compliance period, as defined under BCLE 401:2, is said to expire on December 31, 2014 (Compliance Group 2), NJ newly admitted attorney can wait until the eve of December 31, 2014 to complete these requirements. However, waiting till the last minute is not wise not only because the of “unforeseen” circumstances that seem to always happen in the last minute, but also because of possible counting of New York CLEs toward New Jersey.
22 NYCRR §1500.12 has following CLE requirements for newly admitted attorneys:
First Year (i.e. before first anniversary of admission) requires 16 CLE hours in the following:
- 3 hours in ethics and professionalism (see definition 22 NYCRR §1500.2(c))
- 6 hours in skills (see definition 22 NYCRR §1500.2(d), no pro bono unless doing 6 CLE carryover)
- 7 hours in law practice management and areas of professional practice ((see definition 22 NYCRR §1500.2(e))
Second year has the same requirements, but allows up to 8 credits to be carried over from the first year. All of the courses must be transitional (i.e. “courses designed to help recent graduates and newly admitted attorneys establish a foundation in the practical skills, techniques and procedures essential to the practice of law,” as defined here).
Note on Reciprocity
According to New York CLE Policy, New Jersey is not on the list of approved jurisdictions. This means that no NJ CLE credits may be transferred over to NY, unless separately approved (see below). The New Jersey, however, is a different story: “Except for the courses required under BCLE Reg. 201:2, all active lawyers will receive 1:1 credit for courses approved as satisfying the continuing legal education requirements of any other jurisdiction.” BCLE Reg. 201:4. This means that by December 31, 2014, NY compliant newly admitted attorneys may be able to apply 9 credits (4 of which are in ethics) duly attained in NY state.
Separate Approval – Exception to an exception
An attorney, can submit Application For Accreditation of an Individual Course Activity for those courses required under BCLE Reg. 201:2. Note that application must be postmarked within 30 days of the completion of the course program. This seems to be a case-by-case evaluation process, but it is recommended throughout FAQ sectionof nycourts.gov. (“If your course is not accredited by the New York State CLE Board or if your course does not fall under New York’s Approved Jurisdiction policy, you may submit an Application for Accreditation of an Individual Course Activity to the New York State CLE Board”). For NJ/NY attorney, this means that s/he can attempt to take BCLE Reg. 201:2 CLEs and attempt to transfer them over to NY jurisdiction through the application.