Here in Florida, attorneys are required to meet certain requirements where it concerns their continuing legal education. The Florida Bar sets hourly obligations that attorneys must meet. Specifically, over a 3-year period, each member of the Florida Bar must complete 33 hours of continuing legal education, five of which must be in the area of ethics, professionalism, substance abuse, mental illness awareness, or bias elimination, and three hours in technology.
While this might seem like an easy feat, there are times that attorneys fall behind, especially if they have a heavy caseload. That’s why putting together a schedule for your continuing educational pursuits is a good way to stay on top of your obligations.
Begin by prioritizing your CLE requirements. Which will take longest and be the most intensive? Make a list of those items first. From there, you can move on to the less intensive items, and so on, and so forth.
Second, compare your CLE list with your daily or weekly task list. Find ways to implement your required educational hours into your task list by scheduling them as a part of your day. Get your staff involved—have them set you up the same way they would for your regular tasks and appointments.
Third, keep a record of all your required CLE obligations. Mark off items as you complete them and have your assistant or a staff member submit them to the Florida Bar. Be sure to save all of your receipts and certificates of completion to a file. Back it up along with your other confidential legal documents so you always have proof that you have met your obligations.
Finally, stay positive! Continuing legal education requirements often overwhelm attorneys, particularly if they are already inundated with a busy work schedule. Keeping an open mind, setting up an easy and productive schedule, and maintaining a positive outlook can help diminish overwhelming feelings. It will also increase focus and help familiarize you with your limitations.