The NC State Bar Council met in July 2022 for the third quarterly meeting of this year. A synopsis of the action taken by the Council can be found here. 2022 FEO 2 and 2022 FEO 3 were both adopted by the Council. An amendment to the Rules Governing the Paralegal Certification Program and an amendment to NC RPC Rule 1.19 (Sexual Relations with Clients Prohibited) were both adopted by the Council and submitted to the NC Supreme Court for approval.
The Council voted to publish for comments the proposed rule amendments regarding (1) discipline and disability rules, (2) administrative reinstatement, (3) trust accounting, (4) a technical correction to RPC Rule 4.1, and most notably (5) the sweeping proposed amendments to the rules governing the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program.
Assistant Executive Director of the NC State Bar Peter Bolac presented these proposed changes to the CLE requirements on June 8, 2022 to the Greensboro Bar/24th JD. The original proposals were published in the Summer 2022 Journal and recently republished in the Fall 2022 Journal (beginning on page 14). A brief summary of the key changes are as follows:
Increase in the reporting period (from one year to three years).
- Eliminate the requirement to file an annual report.
- Restructure of the CLE fees (eliminates the $3.50 per credit hour and institute an annual CLE attendance fee).
- No “grace periods” for meeting the credit hour requirement.
- Carry-Ovcr Credit: currently, the proposed rule amendments allow up to only six hours of carry-over but at the October 2022 Quarterly meeting, the CLE Board will propose the carry-over credit back to twelve hours.
- Improved enforcement of credit hour requirements.
- As part of the 36-hour requirement over three years, lawyers must complete at least:
- 6 Ethics hours (Professional Responsibility, Professionalism, or Social Responsibility)
- 1 Professional Well-Being and Impairment (PWI) hour
- 1 Technology Training hour
- On-Demand programs will be approved for three years and thereafter may be renewed annually as long as the program continues to meet accreditation standards.
- The designation of “Registered Sponsor” is eliminated. (Note: The Board is evaluating whether to propose a new “registered” or “accredited” sponsor status.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health program definition is modernized and is now called Professional Well-Being (PW).
- A new type of ethics program called “Social Responsibility” is created and is defined as “a program, directly related to the practice of law, devoted to education about diversity, inclusion, bias, or equal access to justice.”
- Exemptions will be claimed during the annual membership dues renewal process.
- The CLE Board intends to maintain its historical funding in support of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism (CJCP) and the Equal Access to Justice Commission (EAJC).
If you have concerns or comments and would like to submit them anonymously, please feel free to complete this form and I will submit them on your behalf.
The October 2022 Quarterly meeting of the NC State Bar will be held in Raleigh, NC from October 18-21, 2022 and the meeting schedule can be found here. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions in the meantime!