Monday, July 22, 2013

Maryland May Require Mandatory Continuing Legal Education

Maryland is one of only five states that does not have a continuing legal education (CLE) requirement.  However, this may soon change.  In 2010, the Professionalism Commission, now called the Maryland Professionalism Center Inc., created by the Court of Appeals and headed by the Judge Lynne A. Battaglia, submitted its proposal for CLE.  That proposal was set to take effect on January 1, 2011; however, the Court of Appeals has not yet approved it.  Judge Battaglia would like Chief Judge Robert M. Bell’s successor to “be part of the decision.”  Chief Judge Bell retired on July 6, 2013, his 70th birthday, in compliance with the mandatory retirement age for judges in Maryland.
            The issue of mandatory CLE has been debated since the mid-1970s, but has yet to succeed.  Mandatory CLE has both supporters and opposition.  The Maryland Professionalism Center, proposes that attorneys licensed in Maryland should complete a minimum of 10 CLE hours every year.  Attorney Paul Mark Sandler of Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler, speaking in support of mandatory CLE stated that CLE “is not a burden.”  Both Glenn M. Grossman, bar counsel for the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Julia B. Weatherly support CLE.  However, the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) opposes mandatory CLE.  Attorney Peter Makuski of Goozman, Bernstein & Markuski, speaking on behalf of the MSBA cited to the lack of evidence that mandatory CLE will result in fewer attorney grievances and the added expense to attorneys, particularly new attorneys, of paying for mandatory CLE. 

            Only time will tell whether Maryland will join the majority of the states in requiring CLE. 

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