Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: September 16, 1998

Seal of the Unified Court System
Lawyers Go Back to School with Court System's Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Program
NEW YORK - The Administrative Board of the Courts has approved the start of mandatory continuing legal education for all attorneys practicing in New York, beginning December 31, 1998. The court rules delineating the program are being released today for a 60-day public comment period. The requirement will affect nearly 150,000 attorneys.

Under the program, all attorneys admitted to the New York State bar who practice law in New York will be required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of accredited continuing legal education (CLE) courses over a two-year period: 16 hours of professional practice, including law office management; 4 hours of skills; and 4 hours of ethics and professionalism. Lawyers who practice outside of New York will be required to certify compliance with the CLE requirements of the jurisdiction in which they practice.

Mandatory CLE is the latest step in the court system's comprehensive program to enhance the legal profession, which has included the creation of standards of civility for the bar, bench and court employees, sanctions against frivolous litigation, and a statement of client's rights and responsibilities.

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye said, "The continuing legal education program aims to fortify the already high level of competence and professionalism within the New York State bar and to confirmthe rightful status of its members as learned, honorable professionals dedicated to public service and the administration of justice. In a field as dynamic as the law, sharpening the skills of both new and seasoned attorneys through continuing legal education will serve the best interests of the legal community and the public alike."

Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman noted, "The continuing legal education program would not have been possible without the substantial input and assistance of the New York State bar. Working together as partners, the bar and the judiciary have made important strides toward strengthening professionalism in New York State. I look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership as we move toward the final refinement and implementation of this new program."

Copies of the proposed program rules can be downloaded from the Unified Court System web site ( or obtained by calling the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board at (212) 428-2105, or for calls outside of New York City, toll-free at 1-877-NYS-4CLE. Questions about CLE requirements should be directed to the CLE Board, which can also be reached by e-mail at:

Comments on the proposed rules can be sent to:

Michael Colodner, Counsel

New York State Office of Court Administration

25 Beaver Street, 11th floor

New York, NY 10004

Comments must be received no later than November 16, 1998.

Web page updated: August 16, 2006