Friday, May 11, 2012


Every two years, three letters send lawyers scrambling.  Hearts beat against chests, threatening to break rib cages.  Sweat beads on the brow and drops onto a single piece of paperwork in their hands.  It's the biennial certification to remain an active attorney.  The three letters?  CLE.  It stands for continuing legal education.  Requirements vary by state, but in New York we must acquire 24 hours of CLE credits every two years.  The state sends out a form the month before your birthday asking you to send a check (of course) and the CLE certification.

It's going to be hard to believe, but lawyers are procrastinators.  Especially, with things like CLE credits.  In the private sector, CLE classes mean that the attorney is losing money.  Instead of billing clients, they are in class.  Naturally, lawyers wait until the last minute to get their credits in.  That means you can find most lawyers the month before they must submit their paperwork, scouring for all day CLE conferences.

With the advent of technology, CLE's are now available online.  This makes it much easier to get CLE credits.

So, why a post on this?  Well, the life of a prosecutor goes beyond the courtroom. One of the perks is that when you gain enough experience you can become one of the CLE presenters.

Next week I'm returning to where my career started - New York City.  This time to give a CLE on prosecuting juveniles in supreme court.  Of course, friends sent the requisite messages wondering what I could possibly teach them.  They're attending just to heckle me.  That's what friends are for.

I thought I knew juvenile law and procedure before I prepared for this presentation.  Turns out, I only scratched the surface.  I've spent hours preparing this and only now, on the eve of the presentation, feel confident about this area of the law.  Every aspect of the law holds so many intricacies and important procedural details.  I can't imagine being a general practitioner, handling every type of law for every type of client. 

All the attendees provide a review of the speakers.  Who doesn't love instant feedback from almost two hundred attorneys who all think they can do better than the speaker?  Especially with some friends mixed in?  We'll see how this goes.

Check out Mark Pryor's blog about how Texas decides who is prosecuted as an adult and who as a juvenile in family court.  Next week, I'll let you know how the presentation went and discuss New York law on the issue.

Also, some updates on future posts.  Expect a post of a day in the life of a New York City ADA, beeper duty and a normal day.  There will be some interesting interviews in the coming weeks as well.  I'll let word out in advance because I want you to submit questions prior to the interview.

1 comment:

  1. I cracked up reading this, especially the first paragraph. I know this phenomenon well and have haggled with the CLE on many occasions about getting credits in under the deadline. It is true--lawyers are great procrastinators! Good luck with your presentation!