Volume 22, Number 2

Revisiting MCLE: Is Compulsory Passive Learning Building Better Lawyers?

Featured Stories

Revisiting MCLE: Is Compulsory Passive Learning Building Better Lawyers?

A leading legal ethics scholar and her Stanford Center on the Legal Profession colleague take a hard look at the effectiveness of mandatory continuing legal education programs across the nation and conclude that the profession’s huge investment in CLE is not delivering on the promise of improved lawyers. A new approach is proposed.

A veteran legal ethics practitioner and expert proposes that uniform and consistent ethics rules across the states are essential if the profession is to survive in an increasingly integrated national economy. His suggestion: Have the Conference of Chief Justices promulgate uniform rules.

A pre-eminent legal ethics scholar replies that the huge variances in state lawyer professional responsibility rules are anchored in a locally autonomous legal culture unlikely to be transformed, and not worth the cost and effort of trying. In any event, the writer concludes, it is unrealistic to look to the Conference of Chief Justices to take up the enormous task of promulgating uniform rules.

A Western bar leader drills down on both the unique and the all too common challenges to lawyer professionalism found in a region of endless horizons where people are scarce and lawyers even more so. A revealing regional perspective is offered on the concerted effort of the Western states’ bars to build programs and communication lines to support lawyers in a still-tough legal economy, especially new lawyers struggling to find a foothold.

A law professor and former dean acknowledges the substantial benefits of and best intentions behind the Uniform Bar Exam. In the end, however, the writer worries that the proliferation of the UBE among the states would deliver less than it promises, in terms of lawyer mobility, while inadvertently impeding the important search for a better bar admissions process designed to ensure that those who are admitted have the capacity to function as effective, professional lawyers.

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