Effective January 1, 2017, each attorney admitted in Connecticut, including Authorized House Counsel, must complete at least 12 credit hours of continuing legal education each calendar year (MCLE Rule).1 See Connecticut Practice Book § 2-27A.
To qualify for credit under the MCLE Rule, a seminar, course or publication must contain "significant intellectual or practical content" aimed at increasing or maintaining an attorney's legal competence and skills; be "an organized program of learning" that addresses issues directly related to legal topics and the legal profession; and be presented by "an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience." Id., § 2-27A(c)(6). Credits may be obtained through:
- Educational programs provided by any private or government legal employer, bar associations in Connecticut or another state, any court in Connecticut or another state, and/or any other legal education provider. Courses may be attended in person or via video conferences, webcasts and webinars
- Self-study programs or courses that relate directly to substantive or procedural legal topics
- Writing articles that appear in legal publications and are aimed at enhancing legal professional competence
- Teaching legal courses and seminars, including as a panelist, speaker or moderator
- Serving as a full-time faculty member at an ABA-accredited law school
- Serving as a part-time or adjunct faculty member at an ABA-accredited law school
Under the MCLE Rule, credits for attorneys receiving instruction are based on actual instruction time, including question-and-answer periods. Credits for attorneys preparing for instruction are one hour of credit for each two hours of preparation, with a six-hour maximum for preparing for a single program. Attorneys providing instruction receive credits on an hour-for-hour basis. Credits can be earned only once per course during a 12-month period. Credits for writing and publishing articles are based on actual drafting time. For all attorneys, two of the 12 mandatory minimum credits must be in the areas of ethics and/or professionalism. Attorneys who obtained continuing legal education credits in 2016 may carry over up to two credits to apply to the 2017 12-credit minimum.
Failure to meet the credit requirement constitutes "misconduct" and may subject the noncompliant attorney to discipline by the Statewide Grievance Committee. Attorneys must maintain records demonstrating compliance with the MCLE Rule for seven years.
For the remainder of 2016 and in 2017, Day Pitney will present programs and provide other opportunities to earn qualifying credits under the MCLE Rule. Day Pitney offerings include presentations on:
- Hot topics for in-house counsel, including ethical issues
- The ethics of cyber breach disclosure
- Current energy issues in project development, purchases and sales of power, and regulatory compliance
- Current issues in reinsurance
- Insurance regulation
- Rule 30(b)(6) depositions
- Contract and tort law for healthcare lawyers
- Dealing with distressed customers before and during bankruptcy
- The role of in-house counsel in an enterprise crisis
- Best practices in data security provisions in services contracts
- HIPAA compliance
- Best practices in business communications and social media
- Current issues in electronic discovery
- Legal ethics in social media
- Understanding patents, copyrights and trademarks
- New developments in FMLA regulations
 Few exceptions to the MCLE Rule apply. The principal exceptions include attorneys who earned less than $1,000 for providing legal services in the reporting year; resigned, are on inactive status or retired; are serving on active duty in the armed forces for more than six months of the reporting year; and are exempted from the requirement for "good cause" by the Statewide Grievance Committee.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.