Nov. 8, 2016 – Lawyers could get continuing legal education (CLE) credit for attending courses that enhance awareness about substance abuse, mental illness, and stress management under a proposal recently filed by the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE).
Specifically, the proposal would allow attorneys to obtain up to six CLE credits “for courses designed to enhance a lawyer’s awareness and understanding of substance abuse/dependence disorders, mental illness, stress management, and work/life balance relating to the practice of law.”
The BBE’s proposal comes on the heels of a landmark study, published in February 2016, showing that U.S. lawyers face higher rates of problem drinking and mental health issues. Linda Albert, program manager for the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP), helped lead the study.
In addition, under the BBE proposal, attorneys could get CLE credit for courses on law practice management, “which may include topics such as client communications, trust accounting, record keeping, applications of technology, and other subjects essential to the practice of law,” according to petition 16-06, filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week.
A rule allowing CLE credit for practice management and technology-related subjects would complement changes to the Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct, effective Jan. 1, 2017.
An amended comment in the rules will note that lawyers “should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology,” under the attorney’s duty to maintain competence to practice law.
The BBE is also proposing to increase the number of credits, from 10 to 15, that may be obtained “on demand,” which are online programs that can be accessed via the internet at any time, rather than at scheduled times or in-person. The petition requests an effective date of July 1, 2017.
Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved another petition that will allow attorneys to obtain CLE credit for doing qualified pro bono work, starting Jan. 1, 2017.
Admitted to Practice in an Even-numbered Year? CLE Deadlines Approaching– WisBar InsideTrack (Oct. 19, 2016).