Changes Coming to CLE
The Supreme Court of Ohio has implemented changes to the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio (Rule X and Appendix I) and the Government of the Judiciary of Ohio. These changes went into effect on January 1, 2014.
Unbundled professional conduct credit hours
The professional conduct credit hours are now unbundled. The 2.5 hours can be any combination of the following: legal ethics; professionalism; alcoholism, substance abuse and mental health issues including instruction on causes, prevention, detection and treatment alternatives as applicable. In addition, the professional conduct hours can include access to justice and fairness in the courts and how these issues impact public trust and confidence in the judicial system and the perception of justice in Ohio, which should include instruction on any combination of the following: interactions with self-represented litigants, encouraging pro bono representation, accommodating language interpretation, assuring fairness in matters of race, ethnicity, foreign origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status or other relevant topics.
Increase in hours allowed for self-study (online) CLE
In regards to self-study (online) CLE, attorneys are now able to earn up to 12 of their required 24 hours in this manner, an increase from the 6 hours currently allowed. (As with live programming, it is best to ensure the programs have been accredited for CLE through the Supreme Court of Ohio.)
CLE credit for pro bono service
Another change relates to pro bono service. Rule X can allow an attorney to earn one credit hour for every six hours of pro bono service provided, with a maximum of six credit hours earned per the biennial compliance period. This is limited to pro bono service provided to either a person of limited means or a charitable organization in which the legal service is assigned, verified and reported to the Commission by any of the following: an organization receiving funding for pro bono programs or services from the Legal Services Corporation or the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation; a metropolitan (like the Columbus Bar) or county bar association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation or any other organization recognized by the Commission as providing pro bono programs or services in Ohio.
Food allowed during CLE
The regulation prohibiting a meal during CLE has been lifted.
Increase in CLE credit for teaching CLE
Changes are also being implemented regarding CLE teaching credit. The Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education may allow up to three credit hours to an instructor for each credit hour taught for initial presentations at CLE approved programs and two credit hours for each hour presented in a panel format. For subsequent presentations, one hour of CLE credit may be earned for each hour of instructing. If you are interested in earning this credit by presenting at the Columbus Bar, contact Amy Randall, Director of CLE, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 221-4112.