CLE Do’s and Don’ts: Best Practices for Staying Compliant

Meredith Cohen | August 16, 2018

The end of the year is a busy time for most attorneys who need to complete CLE. So before we get too far into crunch time, here are some of Lawline’s DO’s and DON’Ts for staying compliant!

Top Tips for Staying Compliant

DON’T: Wait until the last minute. One of the most stressful situations attorneys find themselves in is trying to fit 24 hours worth of CLE into 30 hours of actual time until the clock runs out.


DO: Space it all out over time. Compliance periods are always at least one year, and often two or three! We highly recommend taking courses throughout the year to avoid both the hassle of cramming and the risk of not meeting compliance requirements.

DON’T: Feel pressure to take a course just because it fills a requirement. It can be tempting to choose courses - or providers - solely based on how many CLE credits they offer for your state, especially if you’re trying to get your requirement done at the last minute. Completing your CLE requirement should ultimately be about learning, so don’t pick random courses to check the boxes. Choose a provider that offers a wide variety of content so you’ll find the best content for you!

bigstock--196164262DO: Select courses that will help you in your practice or grow as a professional. The entire point of taking CLE courses in the first place is to stay on top of changes in the law so you can provide the best possible legal services to your clients. If you give yourself ample time to select and complete courses at a leisurely pace, you can completely tailor all your credits to be the most relevant, interesting, and engaging topics for you and your specific needs.

DON’T: Forget about Ethics and specialty credit types. Nearly every state that requires CLE requires some of the credits to be in Ethics, and many states also require other specialty credits such as Substance Abuse/Mental Health, Professionalism, or Diversity/Inclusion. These credit types are not only vitally important to keeping you compliant for CLE, but also for combating real problems within the legal profession.

DO: Utilize your Credit Tracker. Keep close tabs on everything you’ve completed this reporting period to ensure you’re doing what you need to do for your requirement, including Ethics and specialty credit types.

DON’T: Watch or listen passively. It’s easy to sit back and space out if you’re not actively engaging with the courses you’ve chosen, but you won’t retain the information if you’re too passive.

DO: Ask questions, take notes, and stay engaged. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn! Ask the presenter questions and take notes on interesting points you want to come back to or remember. If a course is particularly long or dense, and you find you’re not giving it your full attention after a while, don’t be afraid to hit pause and come back to it later when you’re ready to focus again.

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About the Author

Written by Meredith Cohen

Meredith is the Director of Customer Experience at Lawline but has taken on a number of diverse roles within the company over the years, and has handled just about everything from managing customer databases to doing post-production work on courses. Since joining the Lawline team in 2012, she has gotten her MBA online, done some world traveling, and hand-fed an ostrich. She loves singing off-key in the car, shouting out the questions on ‘Jeopardy!’ and eating dessert first.


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