Rules Governing the Utah State Bar – Comment Period Closes December 17, 2020

The Supreme Court Board of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education is proposing changes to the MCLE Rules that govern licensed attorneys.  For more information, please see the attached letter from David Hirschi, Chair MCLE Board.

David Hirschi MCLE Letter



















Utah Courts

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37 thoughts on “Rules Governing the Utah State Bar – Comment Period Closes December 17, 2020
  1. Brian Craig

    All attorneys should be able to complete 100 percent of CLEs through webcasts. I am also admitted as an attorney in Minnesota where all CLE credits can be completed online through webcasts. I find attending CLEs through webcast provide the same opportunities for continuing education. I do not think that a waiver request under Rule 14-413(a) should be required. As an attorney in a more rural area in the First Judicial District, it is more burdensome to find in person CLE courses.

  2. Mat Higbee

    Please eliminte the requirement that any portion of the CLE must be live. No other requirement causes me to waste more money (as live CLE are almost always more expesnive) and time (as I just take whatever I can find and learn next to nothing relevant to my practice). If you wish to incentive live participation,, allow each live credit to count as 1.5 or 2 live credits. Also, please consider waiving all Utah CLE requirements for attorneys who are licensed in more than one state and primarily practice and maintain CLE compliance in another state. Thank you. Utah hass done a great job modernizing its rules, especially with regards to advertising and fee sharing.

  3. Charity Morgan

    If CLE is 12 hours yearly, there needs to be a provision to roll-over CLE to the next year. Some really good conferences have more than 12 credits, and it makes then a waste and disincentives attorneys from attending them.

  4. Roberta Young

    Please eliminate the 12 hours per year requirement, keeping the current 2 year schedule, and eliminate the requirement that any portion of CLE must be live. The argument that attorneys that leave CLE until the end of a compliance cycle and then complete 24 hours will be motivated to change based on a 12 hours per year requirement ignores human nature. This simply means that the “cram session” is a yearly 12 hour session. I have traveled thousands of miles and spent thousands on live CLE courses to meet the live requirement, in many cases taking courses not relevant to my practice. In addition, please consider waiving Utah CLE requirements for attorneys licensed in multiple states who primarily practice and maintain CLE compliance in another state.

  5. Scott Balsmeier

    If the purpose of changing the compliance cycle from 24-months to 12-months is to avoid the concern with practitioners “cramming” during the final months, I’m not sure that this would accomplish that and it may exacerbate the issue. My concern is instead of being able to plan out earning CLE over a 24-month period, practitioners are will now have to plan out earning CLE over a compressed, more frequent cycle, even though the credit requirements are lower during the cycle. For instance, I could earn most of my CLE credits by attending a conference in year 1 because I know that my schedule for year 2 would be prohibitive. My concern is that issue of cramming may occur on a yearly basis now and this solution doesn’t address the underlying issues. And this may further push practitioners into attending courses or conferences merely for the CLE credits and not because it will be helpful for them in their practice.

    However, if it is necessary to reduce the compliance cycle from 24-months to 12-months, I would strongly recommend allowing practitioners to roll-over extra CLE credits to the next year. This would hopefully address some of the concerns raised previously and would make the transition more palatable.

  6. Jacob Hart

    I write in opposition to the proposal to change the MCLE compliance cycle to 12 credits in 12 months instead of 24 credits in 24 months.

    In August of 2019 the Utah Bar submitted a survey to its members on this topic requesting their opinion. I expressed my opposition to the change at the time in the survey. I do not recall seeing the results of the survey, and the survey was not cited in the letter justifying this change. Please release the survey and discuss why the results do or do not support the change.

    Having two years to conduct CLE is important to me and helps balance my life. For example, in a year with a move to a new town, job change, pregnancy, illness, or other major life event, it is helpful to be able to adjust CLE to another year where schedules will be less busy. The idea that someone who does their CLE in year two is just “cramming” due to procrastination is unfair. I imagine most of us like to attend rolling CLEs that interest us without having to worry each year whether we’ve obtained 10 or 14 credits that year.

    Alternatively I would suggest a rolling, two-year compliance cycle that is the same year for everyone. New members would report 12, or 24, credits respectively depending on whether they start in a compliance year or a non-compliance year. Once they move past the initial year, they would move into the same 2-year cycle as everyone else. This would end the bar membership confusion cited as a reason for the change (because everyone has the same year) while allowing us to maintain the flexibility we currently enjoy.

    If the Committee is determined to make this change, I would make two suggestions: 1) allow 4 credits to roll over to the next year. 2) If both bar renewal and MCLE compliance are every year, it should be rolled into the same application and all fees should be incorporated into the annual registration fee instead of a seperate MCLE fee.

  7. David Corbett

    I agree with the plan to do a yearly CLE cycle. While I am not sure whether it will end the “cram sessions” that happen at the end of cycles, it will solve the problem of attorneys forgetting about it or missing deadlines because of the amount of time that passes. I also really like the suggestion that CLE hours can carry over to the following year.

  8. Matt Willie

    Please allow CLE credits exceeding the 12-credit requirement to roll over from year to year. I often attend CLE conferences relevant to my practice areas that account for 20+ credits over multiple days. The Bar should be incentivizing attendance at these (usually expensive) conferences, not incentivizing attorneys to skip out on the final day or two of the conference since the credits wouldn’t count.

    I also agree with other commenters that the Bar should waive CLE requirements for attorneys who live and practice in other states. Most other states do not have a professionalism/civility requirement (even though most ethics courses cover much of the same ground), which means attorneys who complete all CLE requirements for another state must find a way to get that one remaining credit from a Utah source, even if they don’t live anywhere near the state.

  9. William Ralston

    Confusion, procrastination, and irrelevant CLE are not good reasons to change to a 12-month cycle. You should be changing to a 3 or 4 year cycle instead. Anyone who is confused about which cycle they are on is likely unable to competently practice law: it’s pretty clearly spelled out on the bar web page which cycle individuals belong to and could (if not already) be indicated on bar member’s web page. Those who procrastinate will continue to do so, and likely many more will find themselves doing CLE at the last minute every year with even less time to plan. Personally, I have a hard time finding relevant CLE even every two years: annually I will have no choice but to do irrelevant CLE simply to fulfil this requirement. That is the exact opposite of the goals of the proposed rule change: more procrastination and more irrelevant CLE. If you really want lawyers to take relevant CLE, stop requiring unique certification for Utah: it’s too small a market for most CLE providers to bother and your paperwork is onerous. Instead, grant automatic CLE credit in Utah for any program certified by another state. I find lots of CA and NY certified (and high quality) content useful to my practice (and available online). Rarely is available UT CLE relevant to my practice. Look at and learn from how other states handle CLE. Why not go further – allow self certification (get rid of all your paperwork and administrative work tracking CLE – use that time/money to produce more/better CLE content). UT is by far the most administratively complex and useless CLE requirements of the multiple jurisdictions I have to deal with.

  10. Merrilee Boyack

    I agree with the former comments that rollover should be permitted. I am also a member of the California Bar and they only require 25 hours every THREE years so I was surprised that Utah’s requirements are so high. I believe the number of hours should be decreased and the compliance period should be longer. Even on a 2-year cycle, it has been difficult to get in the specific requirements. Having a annual compliance cycle will only make this worse. There should be NO requirements for live–if we’ve learned anything over the last months of COVID it is that flexibility is an asset to learning, not a detriment. I have to say, fundamentally, I believe the CLE requirements are a bureaucratic imposition. We are all professionals. We should be trusted to operate as such and seek the learning we need without it being mandated by the state. Instead, these arbitrary requirements cause us to expend time and effort to check the boxes required by the bar to get the hours needed and often entail taking courses or seminars that are irrelevant to our practice. My vote would be to eliminate CLE requirements entirely and treat us as the true professionals that we are.

  11. Ryan Wilkinson

    It’s a colossal hassle to ascertain and report all 24 hours of CLE every two years. I’ve spent hours at a time calling the sponsors of CLE events trying to get certificates of attendance or to compel them to record my attendance with the Utah State Bar. When I’ve been unable to contact event sponsors, I’ve been forced to complete several hours of emergency online CLE, at a hefty price. Thankfully, I only have to deal with this process once every two years. With the proposed rule change, this ordeal would unfold annually. Practicing law is already hard enough, and expensive enough as well. Don’t make it worse. The current 24-month cycle is fine. Attorneys are used to it, as arduous as it may be. Keep it the same, and save us all more hassle.

  12. Paul Johnson

    I agree with several of the prior comments. If the CLE cycle is switched to 1 year, it would be helpful if (as in other jurisdictions) some amount of credits can be rolled over from year to year. My initial jurisdiction was Arizona, and it allows carrying forward of credits for the entire succeeding year’s requirement. This is very useful for not wasting credits earned at conferences and, additionally, provides more flexibility. It would allow attorneys who like the current 2-year cycle to basically treat it as such by earning all their 24 credits in one year, and just carrying over 12 to the next year. Additionally, I’m very much in favor of allowing all credits to be virtual/self-study. I learn just as much at virtual CLEs than in-person ones, they are often more reasonably priced, and they are easier to fit into a busy schedule because of not needing to travel, find parking, etc.

  13. Travis Elder

    I write to oppose the change to a yearly CLE reporting cycle. The two-year cycle works fine for me. The change will double the time I spend on putting together and submitting compliance reports. I don’t want more reports. I want less. Plus, the new rule requires me to pay for the privilege of making these additional reports. No thank you. A longer (3 year), not a shorter CLE reporting cycle would be preferred.

    Since I already have to pay my bar dues yearly, I would also prefer to have any cost for reporting CLE included with those dues. This is more efficient and undoubtedly would save time and money on payment processing.

    Also, finding a course that qualifies for the professionalism credit is harder for attorneys like myself who practice outside of Utah. It would be great if the Utah Bar provided an online course option that all bar members could take to satisfy the requirement. If there must be an additional cost for such a benefit for bar members, I would want that to be incorporated into my yearly bar dues.

    I also oppose defining “Remote Group CLE” to mean presented from a location in Utah to another location in Utah. I am in federal practice and practice outside of Utah, and during COVID we have done live streaming of classes that normally would have occurred in-person at a training center. These streamed trainings have offered the opportunity to ask questions via chat box and I have found the interaction in some cases superior to that of in-person trainings. These streamed classes have provided “code words” throughout the course to ensure that attendees are participating and when requesting the CLE after the class these code words have to be provided. If I read the proposed rule changes correctly, then these live streamed trainings may not even count as “Verified E-CLE”, which means they would only count as “Self-Study CLE.” Self-Study CLE is limited to only half of the required credits for each reporting cycle, meaning I am missing out on a lot of the credits I would otherwise earn for these live, streamed classes. If true, this seems like a nonsensical result.

  14. Jacob Stewart

    I agree with many of the comments allowing credits to be rolled over and allowing ALL hours to be via webinar or pre-recorded. I do most of my CLEs on WealthCounsel, and the webinars are just as helpful and pertinent if I watch them 2 years later as they are live.
    I also feel that we are perhaps doing a little overkill be increasing the overall number of ethics and professional responsibility hours. While those topics are important, of course, I think one hour a year is more than sufficient to remind us of our duties.

  15. Jake

    I appear to be in the minority here, but given that Utah waived the bar exam this year and that there appears to be a growing movement toward permanent diploma privilege, I see little justification for continued CLE requirements. Law school does not prepare one for practice, and in my many years of practice I have yet to find that CLEs generally help in my practice. When a CLE course has helped my practice, it is because I sought out that specific CLE course, not because of an hours requirement to do so. And I agree with those above–there is little defensible justification to an in-person requirement.

  16. Leslie Slaugh

    The proposed changes to Rule 14-405 permit inactive lawyers and LPPs to return to practice without any refresher course. That is bad policy.

    If a lawyer returns to active practice on July 2, that lawyer will not need to complete any CLE for two years:

    1. The lawyer “must complete the 12-hour Accredited CLE requirement by June 30 of the Compliance Cycle that begins after the lawyer’s return.”
    2. If a lawyer returns to active practice on July 2, 2021, the Compliance Cycle that begins after the lawyer’s return is the July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 cycle.
    3. A lawyer returning to active practice on July 2, 2021, would not need to complete any CLE training until June 30, 2023.

    I recommend that the proposed rule be changed to require completion of the 12-hour CLE requirement by “June 30 of the Compliance Cycle that includes the date of the lawyer’s return to active status.”

    A similar change should be made for paralegal practitioners returning to active status. A similar change should be made in Rule 14-407 for emeritus lawyers returning to active status.

  17. Bradley R. Helsten

    I agree with an annual CLE cycle greatly simplifies compliance and tracking. However, I believe that a number of states (including Nevada where I am also practicing), have a similar annual compliance periods but allow up to 6 CLE hours to roll over to the next reporting cycle. This will ensure that an attorney takes courses that aid in their practice without a hesitation that paying for “extra” CLE hours in a cycle will simply go to waste.

  18. Bradley R. Helsten

    I agree with an annual CLE cycle greatly simplifies compliance and tracking. However, I believe that a number of states (including Nevada where I am also practicing), have a similar annual compliance periods but allow up to 6 CLE hours to roll over to the next reporting cycle. This will ensure that an attorney takes courses that aid in their practice without a hesitation that paying for “extra” CLE hours in a cycle will simply go to waste.

  19. Carl Malouf

    14-404 MCLE’s cycle should remain at two years. This allows for illness, temporary absences from the state or profession and more time to find relevant presentations.
    Finding/remembering one’s report cycle ought not be a burden to the Bar or member if:
    The bar phone menu includes for “MCLE Reporting Inquires” a message to “check your past reporting records” including check register, required retained CLE files for the past submissions, an to check your calendars of up-coming-events (as in statute of limitations, birthdays, etc.). We suggest you enter your smart phone calendar for annual reminders which contains your filing requirement (even or odd year) — and also maybe list with the bar phone number’s “notes”.
    An appropriate extended “wait time for the next operator” for those unable to remember following several “to repeat this message press any even or odd number” might help the caller remember.
    I suspect calls to the Bar office mentioned in David Hirshi’s letter come from not the attorney but rather an assistant.
    In summary, a member’s failed memory is not justification for changing this rule 404’s well reasoned 24 month cycle.


    As an emeritus attorney, I strongly support allowing CLE credits to roll over from year to year. Earning six hours in a year is a snap, but attending a Bar Convention or a two-day seminar leaves a lot of earned but unusable CLE credits if they can’t be rolled over. On a two-year cycle that’s usually not a problem but on a one-year cycle, after six hours are earned, there is actually a disincentive to get more CLE, unless there is a really fresh or unique topic available. Thus, I also favor recognizing virtual credits. It would allow more flexibility and provide a much broader range of topics from which to choose. Further, it would eliminate the hassle of travel, parking, lunch, crowds, etc. It would also make attendance at some seminars available to more people because there would be no limit on the number of attendees. Also, it would make for a broader range of presenters that have something to say but are not in Utah. It has worked well during the quarantine, so why not use it after we can get out again?

  21. Kellie Nielsen

    Would you consider the following:

    Retain the two-year reporting cycle;

    Eliminate the in-person requirement;

    Redefine live as in-person or webinar;

    Require 24 accredited hours (require a minimum of 12 live hours and allow up to 12 self-study hours);

    Maintain an online library of approved/accredited self-study courses and eliminate case-by-case approval;

    Eliminate the filing fee for CLE compliance;

    Allow rollover of up to 12 hours;

    Convert the CLE transcript into an electronic dashboard to simplify the reporting and certification processes;

    Allow submission of a comity certificate if a bar member maintains an active license and is credit compliant in an approved reciprocal jurisdiction (Idaho, Oregon, or Washington); and

    Offer a monthly one-hour live “lunch and learn” webinar (scheduled at noon on the same day every month, e.g., 2nd Tuesday) at no cost to all bar members on varied topics presented by volunteer presenters/bar sections.

  22. Shannon Sorensen

    I support eliminating the in-person requirement. I am barred in both UT and DC (where I live and practice). It is difficult to find in-person CLEs that are approved for Utah credit, and even more difficult to find ones that are relevant to my practice area. Getting them approved adds an extra step of procedural headache and lag.

  23. Paul Maxfield

    With the exceptions of those who request rollover hours, the commenters above seem fairly unanimous in opposition to changing the CLE cycle to 12 months. Aside from adding my opposition to the change, which only adds to the administrative burden of both the bar and it’s members, I point out the futility of CLE in the first instance.

    Most comments above discuss wasted time with irrelevant CLE. Understanding the background of CLE in Utah may explain why. CLE was not intended originally to actually educate attorneys, nor hone their skills. In the 1980’s when Utah first instituted CLE requirements, they existed as a means of funding the “new” bar building which we now know as the Utah Law and Justice Center. The costs associated with the administrative burden and building construction were underestimated then, as they continue to be underestimated today. This nearly bankrupted the bar.

    As a means of funding their organizations, other states also instituted CLE requirements, but not all states operate this way. Several states and the District of Columbia do not even have CLE requirements. Their attorneys are not known for incompetence, in fact, a quick sampling of states shows me that Michigan, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia don’t require CLE and their attorneys can be admitted by reciprocity. Are we admitting incompetent attorneys to practice here or are they just as competent without CLE? Perhaps, these attorneys were incompetent and we made them competent with our exceptional education opportunities?

    Maryland, which does not practice reciprocity with anyone, also requires no CLE of it’s attorneys. Many of the other states I checked have 2 or even 3 year CLE cycles.

    In my experience, some CLE has been useful, but most waste my time and resources. I find Google searches to be more valuable than CLE almost universally and other methods of research exceed Google immeasurably. If we are to modify CLE requirements, I propose we modify them by abolishing mandatory CLE entirely.

    1. Scott Balsmeier

      I would second this notion that we abolish CLE requirements as a whole. I don’t believe they have any appreciable impact on a lawyer’s ability to competently practice law.

    2. Austin Hepworth

      I also support abolishing mandatory CLE entirely as well. I think it is time we have a honest conversation about the real value of CLE and recognize that the CLE program is not keeping our attorneys competent. Attorneys keep themselves competent as they are worried about doing a good job for their clients, and for some, avoiding malpractice, and they will continue to find ways to do that without mandatory hours or requirements.

      When CLE is mandatory, the classes can be subpar and fairly worthless, since we have to sign up for at least some of them. But, if classes were required to provide enough value to convince an attorney to take and pay for the class, in a free market scenario, then the classes significantly improve in their value.

      I have sat through so many hours of CLE that didn’t teach me anything helpful. I have paid a lot of money for some CLE’s, done free ones, and most everything in between, but I find CLE’s as not helpful to my practice or to the public as a whole. I can learn what I need to by relationships with other attorneys, by reading guides, etc.

      Further, when I have to take time to travel to a CLE or otherwise attend a CLE, that is taking away time I have to do pro bono work. We have seen Utah implementing the regulatory sandbox to help make law more accessible to more Utahns, but we could provide a significant amount of additional hours of assistance to Utahns if we freed up the 12 class hours plus the commuting hours for live CLE’s and let attorneys do more pro bono work.

      My suggestions (that follow and second these other suggestions above), since the rules contemplate changes to CLE, is for the following:

      1. Get rid of mandatory CLE entirely. Other states do just fine without it, we will too. If we need to keep it, I would request that it be explained why we are different and more needy than other states where their attorneys stay competent without mandatory CLE requirements.

      2. If #1 will not happen, then reduce mandatory CLE to 1-2 hours of ethics per year with no other CLE requirements. The Bar can choose what ethics items to review and post presentations that attorneys can watch through the year on their own schedule. Then, just reinforce that we are liable if we commit malpractice, and we’ll get the other training that we need while still letting the Bar communicate what it feels are important matters for us to stay aware of.

      3. If #1 and #2 will not happen, then allow for us to do pro bono work instead of CLE hours. I would much rather do 12 hours of pro bono work per year and actually help someone with my time than I would sitting through another CLE that isn’t helping much. I would propose too that you accept an affidavit from us on the pro bono work. I help quite a few people, but I do not ask or expect them to formally report anything to the Bar.

      4. Changing to a 12 hour per year reporting cycle is not helpful in any way. I’m licensed in California as well, where there are way more laws to deal with, and they only have a 25 hour requirement every 3 years. They also accept an statement from us and just choose some people to audit to ensure compliance. We do not need the yearly cycle, and I strongly oppose it.

  24. Chris Parker

    I oppose these rule changes for two main reasons: I think credentialed professionals do not need such rigidity in the rules and cutting the reporting period without cutting the filing fee is either a needless increase in work priced at its cost or an underhanded way of raising revenue (perhaps a little of both).

    With regard to the first objection, if members of the Bar are confused about their reporting date and can’t manage a two-year reporting cycle, they probably shouldn’t be practicing law. A few phone calls to the Bar inquiring about what cycle the attorney is on are pretty meager bones on which to hang this change. Furthermore, I have no idea why the concern over cramming in hours at the end matters. The rules require no nexus between a lawyer’s CLE and practice area. IF this is a real concern, add it to the rule requirement. A change in the length of the reporting cycle is ill-suited to addressing this concern. There is simply no valid reason for the Bar to micromanage the pace and flow of attorneys’ CLE hours. Obviously some reporting period must be established, but there is nothing wrong with the two-year cycle that will be fixed by a one-year cycle; surely there’s nothing in the accompanying letter that justifies the change. I am skeptical that the change will have any bearing whatsoever on attorneys’ knowledge or fitness to practice. Of course, this skepticism arises from my overall skepticism about the value of CLE.

    With regard to the second objection, if the filing fee truly matches the cost of CLE reporting filings, the change seems even more inadvisable. There’s no meaningful justification for increasing the workload at the Bar for this purpose. If the fee doesn’t match the workload required, it ought to be halved, rather than raising revenue for the Bar through a rule ostensibly designed for non-revenue purposes.

    In short, these rule changes are unnecessary and unlikely to provide meaningful value to lawyers or the public while doubling the cost of reporting for lawyers. The changes to the reporting cycle should be rejected.

  25. Yevgen Kovalov

    Awarding the confusion and procrastination, as one of the declared reasons for the change in CLE reporting period, has little sense to me. Perhaps those who confused and delay with getting CLE credits can opt to a more strict regulations. It does not justify stricter regulations for others. Great comments, which I support, to eliminate mandatory live CLE and to either keep 24 months reporting period or allow up to 12 hours of CLE to roll over to the next reporting period. The latter, understandably, negates the entire rule, but the proposed rule ignores the great benefit of many boot-camp-styled CLE options, such as NITA and the State Bar and alumni conventions.

  26. Bruce R. Murdock

    Please keep the reporting requirement at 2 years, or extend it to 3 as some have suggested. Some of us who practice without support staff do all of the reporting paperwork on our own and having to do it every year instead of every two years only doubles the hassle and the work. Attorneys will “cram” in order to meet the requirement whether the reporting period is 12 months or 24 months, so that is a weak argument.

  27. Utah Indigent Defense Commissioners & Staff

    The Utah Indigent Defense Commission (IDC) commends the efforts to facilitate access to quality CLE programming, especially for lawyers practicing in rural communities or areas distant from the Wasatch Front.

    We support the proposed rule changes outlined in your October 19 letter, which allow CLE credits to be completed not only through in-person courses but also through a combination of self-study and verified e­CLE programming. We applaud the effort to allow more flexibility in CLE credits.

    The IDC is mandated by statute to provide training to indigent defense trial and appellate attorneys. During the first year of our training program, on account of the expanded ability to attend online CLE’s due to COVID-19 restrictions, we delivered 13 accredited live, interactive CLE events via Zoom. 541 participants attended, with an average of 42 participants per training. Compared to in-person CLE events, which typically draw 15-20 defenders, attendance in the e-CLEs was phenomenal, and exceeded expectations. The cost of providing this program was less than $2,000, and was open to all.

    What is more, half (50%) of the participating attorneys came from counties other than Salt Lake County. Practitioners from Utah’s 24 smaller 3rd – 6th class counties made up 14 percent of the total participants. And not one attorney had to spend a minute in the car to get to the CLE. This certainly freed up time across the state to dedicate to zealously advocate for clients. Increased e-CLE programming helps address regional gaps in training opportunities for attorneys to keep current with legal developments and best practices and should continue in Utah.

    The new procedures and rules will help ensure access to quality continuing legal education to all members of the Bar in a cost-effective way. They will also support specialization in distinct areas of law, such as criminal indigent defense and appellate advocacy. Therefore, the Indigent Defense Commission urges the adoption of the proposed rule changes discussed above.

  28. Taylor Turner

    If a transition is made to CLE reporting every 12 months, I agree with other comments in favor of allowing carry forward of excess credits. I know many attorneys who benefit from attending multi-day conferences for CLE credit specific to their area of practice, but who may only be able to participate every other year. The Nevada model makes sense, allowing bar members to carry forward up to 20 hours excess general credit and up to 4 hours of excess ethics credit, which could be applied for the next two years ( | Regulation 12),

  29. Peter Webster

    Echoing the comments of others, I recommend (1) rollover of surplus CLE credits from one reporting cycle to subsequent cycles, and (2) allowing attorneys and paralegals to complete all CLE requirements through on-line CLE webinars, Zoom meetings, etc. I think the pandemic has taught us that ‘virtual’ CLE is as effective as live CLE. In addition, I hope that the expanded definition of “Professionalism and Civility CLE” will serve to enhance the quality of Civility CLE offerings which, in my experience, have been of uneven quality in the past.

  30. Oliver B Whaley

    It really shouldn’t be the Board’s role to police when people take and don’t take their CLEs or what information they choose to learn. Personally, I like having a 2 year compliance cycle and would ask that we not move to a 12 hours per year requirement.

    Additionally, if you really feel the need to be progressive, lets eliminate the requirement that any portion of CLE be live, as well as increasing the amount of hours allowed through personal study.

    However, if you insist on transitioning to reporting every 12 months, then let’s do something really crazy and allow us to carry forward excess credits into subsequent years.

    Either way, does it really matter when the education is being taken as long as it is happening? Or what people choose to learn? (regardless of whether some cram at the end of the cycle) If the Board is truly concerned with our well-being, then lets put a premium on making the practice of law easier and more enjoyable for the State’s lawyer. That’s a novel and progressive idea.

  31. Anne Bensard

    I strongly support the elimination of the in-person CLE requirement. I am also licensed in Colorado (which does not have any in-person requirement and has a 3 year compliance period). This would eliminate the time and expense of traveling for in-person CLEs which may or may not be relevant to my practice area. While the addition of E-Verified CLE is helpful, I would encourage the Board to eliminate any requirement that a portion of hours be obtained from “Live CLEs” completely in order to allow practitioners to obtain CLE credits in the way that works best for them. I also support the suggestion of others that the Utah bar consider allowing submission of a comity certificate for practitioners in other jurisdictions (not just Idaho, Oregon, or Washington).

    I am also opposed to an annual compliance period without any option to rollover excess credits. I practice in a fairly niche practice area, and there are very few relevant CLEs (other than those offered at a yearly conference). The conference provides in excess of 12 CLE credits, so the ability to roll over credits to the following year would be extremely helpful. A longer compliance period would be even better and would reduce administrative burden. I echo other comments that people are likely to cram regardless of the length of the compliance period.

    I am also in support of expanding the types of programs that qualify for professionalism CLE credit – these have been by far the most difficult CLEs to find. Thank you!

  32. Jason Ibey

    The two-year compliance cycle for continuing legal education (CLE) should be retained. I am used to an even longer compliance cycle of 3 years for my California license requiring 25 hours per reporting cycle. However, if the Utah Supreme Court changes to an annual reporting cycle of 12 hours per year (I think it should be less at 8 hours per year), any excess credit hours earned should carry over to the following year. Also, whether an individual decides to earn a single credit hour per month or dedicate time to acquire all hours within a few months or less should be up to the attorney.

    There should be no requirement for any amount of CLE hours to be earned through live events or via in-person programs. Attorneys should be permitted to satisfy all CLE hours via webcasts (which can be accessed at any time), with the freedom to elect a combination of webcasts, self-study, in-person or live programming. Webcasts and self-study options are often less expensive and afford the attorney greater flexibility than live or in-person CLE, while still fostering continuing education.

  33. carol lear

    (0403) I’d suggest designating practice areas or situations for Board members. For instance, have 2 Board member positions for sole practitioners, one for gov’t agency lawyers, one large firm position, one inactive position, etc. The current rules favor government agency/big firm attorneys–cost and time are less concerning.
    (0404) I agree with others that a two-year CLE compliance cycle is preferable to a one-year cycle. I was a government lawyer for several decades–the compliance logistics were easy, my secretary/administrative assistant maintained my records and followed up with certificates of compliance. As an of counsel attorney, I do the paperwork; it is tedious and wastes time. I also fear that the Bar will use a one-year compliance cycle to double the cost. Again, not a big deal for lawyers in big firms or government agencies. But is an added cost for attorneys in small practices and sole practitioners.
    (0409) I believe the “self study” credit should be the same for lawyers “lecturing” (part of the problem) to a group of lawyers and for lawyers providing legal information to a mixed group. In fact, it is harder to present and refine a session for non-lawyers, than for lawyers.
    (0412) If a CLE is approved once, the same CLE in the same format should retain a presumptive accreditation.
    I would support more credit for pro-bono service and activities. In many cases, these activities encourage lawyers to broaden their knowledge and improve skills in areas of expertise.
    Civility, professionalism and ethics should be combined into one requirement–increase total requirement at Board’s discretion.
    In short, simplify requirements and reporting wherever possible.

  34. Timothy Hawkes

    I would like to second many of the comments made here: in particular (1) the change from 2 year reporting to 1 year reporting doesn’t seem to solve the reporting challenge and, indeed, seems to create more work and expense all around (wasn’t the point of having a two-year cycle to reduce the burden of annual reporting?); and (2) I do find a relative lack of quality CLE and that, coupled with the confusing in-person v. self-study or online requirements simply adds complexity without adding value. For that reason, I oppose the first proposed change and support the second.

    Most importantly, however, I think the proposed changes do not go far enough. The Bar should consider either eliminating CLE requirements altogether or reducing the requirement to a periodic ethics training only. I would venture to guess that there is no evidence that mandatory CLE requirements actually improve the quality of legal services provided in the State of Utah (or elsewhere). In the vast majority of cases, we are either attending events that we would attend regardless of whether CLE is offered because it touches on our area of expertise or, in far too many cases, signing up for worthless, boring, and utterly irrelevant CLE just to check the box and get it done. Seems to me like a revenue-generator for the Bar and for CLE providers but I find much of it utterly worthless in terms of ensuring that lawyers practicing in Utah have adequate skills or expertise. The one exception is Ethics and Civility, where I find a periodic refresher helpful.

    I am admitted to three state bars: DC, which requires no CLE whatsoever; Maryland, which requires one mandatory Ethics course at the start of practice; and Utah, which for some reason requires 12 hours/year at considerable expense, and the CLE is either redundant (for the reasons stated above) or utterly useless. Does anyone seriously believe that Utah lawyers are any more capable than Maryland lawyers or DC lawyers?

    In that regard, this paper from a Georgetown Law Professor is instructive: In it, the author observes that “The vast majority of attorneys in this country are required to complete 10 to 15 hours of continuing legal education (“CLE”) every year, an experience well summarized by one attendee’s observation that ‘[k]nowledge is good, but coerced seat time is wasteful [and] insulting.’ The primary rationale for mandatory CLE is to help ensure competent client representation, but the mandatory system fails to achieve that goal. Instead, mandatory CLE has become a self-perpetuating industry that earns hundreds of millions of
    tuition dollars for course purveyors.”

    Why do we continue to prop up that industry without a serious conversation about whether mandatory CLE has any real connection to its stated goals?

  35. Virginia Walker

    For the most part these are positive and long overdue changes. However, the rules are still too complicated and should be simplified further. Attorneys need more flexibility in taking quality CLE courses in various formats, and from providers other than Utah State Bar. Why can’t the requirement for 12 hours of CLE each year include live webinars from CLE providers out of state? There are excellent live webinar courses provided by national organizations who are presumptive providers in Utah that should qualify in Utah as live credit. It makes absolutely no sense to limit “live” credit to just those courses where the instructor is live in Utah. I am also concerned about the proposed live credit requirement because the number of quality live courses in Utah has dwindled over the past few years. Currently live credits are predominantly Bar section meetings. These courses are irrelevant unless you are member of a particular section. If there is an annual CLE requirement, the Utah State Bar needs to offer many more low-cost courses that are of general interest and practical application: improving research and writing skills, improving litigation skills, or instruction on the use of technology tools. With rapid changes in technology, there should be more offerings for technology training and courses; there have been very few offered in the recent past.

    If the Utah State Bar imposes an annual CLE requirement, I recommend simply requiring 12 hours of CLE each year, including one hour of ethics and one hour of professionalism. Remote learning is here to stay. Therefore, the 12 hours should include any live in-person, live webinar, on-demand, or self-study courses, from any CLE provider, and any hours over the 12-hour minimum should carry over to the next year. Make it simple and easy to fulfill the annual requirements.