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Lawyers scramble to meet CLE deadline

Lawyers scramble to meet CLE deadline

The deadline for completing mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) is approaching, writes Jason Elias co-founder, Bulletpoints.com.au

The deadline for completing mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) is approaching, writes Jason Elias co-founder, Bulletpoints.com.au

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was warned to “beware the ides of March” but for lawyers it is the end of March to be wary of. It is the annual deadline for completing mandatory CLE, and the consequences are strict for those that fail to accumulate the allocated number of points (10 for most lawyers and 20 for accredited specialists).

Roughly one in 20 lawyers finds themselves subjected to audits from the regulators. There is a lifeline, and those struggling to meet the requirements can try and seek extensions. But there are no guarantees and this may raise red flags for future years.

The main reason proffered for non-compliance is that the lawyers are “too busy”, but this is a tricky one to justify when it involves only 10 hours a year. Other professionals like doctors, accountants and financial planners require multiples of this to meet their continuing professional development.

With modern technology, courses have never been more accessible. Courses can be done on tablets or smartphones on the way to work, during lunch (dining ‘al desko’) or in down time. The fastest-growing method of acquiring points has been video and interactive online modules.

The old excuse that it is too hard to find relevant courses is also a thing of the past. Sites like Bulletpoints (a partner of Lawyers Weekly www.lawyersweekly.com.au/cle) have aggregated courses from major providers like law societies, conference producers and educational institutions to make finding courses based on topic, speaker or practice area a breeze. 

Speaking to many practitioners, the key is to attend courses throughout the year so that there is no last minute rush competing for limited spots in the most popular courses. CPD alert services are also a great way to keep abreast of what is on the market.

For lawyers still requiring points before the deadline, check out the hundreds of courses available on lawyers weekly.com.au/cle.

Copy and logo supplied by Bulletpoints. For more information visit www.lawyersweekly.com.au/cle.

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