The New Jersey Supreme Court passed several amendments to the Regulations of the Board of Continuing Legal Education on October 23, 2012. The rule changes are effective immediately. The Court also determined that the changes to 201:8 (alternative verifiable learning formats, detailed below) shall be applied retroactively. The remaining amendments shall be applied prospectively.
The amendments are:
- BCLE Reg 103:1 (j) - definition of credit hour for ethics courses
- BCLE Reg 103:1 (l) - definition of inactive member
- BCLE Reg 201:4 - reciprocity and New Jersey requirements
- BCLE Reg 201:6 - teaching CLE to non-lawyers
- BCLE Reg 201:8 - alternative verifiable learning formats - allowing for 100% alternative coursework in certain specific circumstances
- BCLE Reg 202:2 - fee charged for waiver applications
- BCLE Reg 202:3 - fee charged for extension of time applications
- BCLE Reg 302:4 - course announcement submission requirements for approved service providers
- BCLEReg 302:10 - addition of new certificatation specialty area
- BCLE Reg 402:1 - noncompliance and undue hardship
- BCLE Reg 402:2 - when noncompliance fees attach
- BCLE Reg 402:3 - effect of failure to comply
BCLE Reg 103:1 (j) - "credit hour" shall mean an increment of time of 50 minutes of instruction. No CLE credit will be awarded for any period of instruction of less than a credit hour, INCLUDING ETHICS CREDITS WHICH ALSO MUST BE A MINIMUM OF A TOTAL OF 50 MINUTES. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 103:1 (l) - "inactive member" shall mean a member of the NJ Bar on EXEMPT status as defined in Rule 1:28-2(b). (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 201:4 - All active attorneys will receive 1:1 credit for courses approved as satisfying the continuing legal eduction requirements of any other jurisdiction, SO LONG AS THEY COMPLY WITH ANY COURSE ACCREDITATION RESTRICTIONS IN NEW JERSEY. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 201:6 - A lawyer who teaches an approved course designed principally to maintain or advance the professional competence of lawyers and/or expand an appreciation and understanding of ethical and professional responsibility of lawyers, AND/OR TEACH TO NON-LAWYERS is entitled to twice the credit hours authorized for that portion of the course taught by the lawyer claiming teaching credit. NO MORE THAN SIX TOTAL CREDITS OF CLE CAN BE OBTAINED IN ANY ONE COMPLIANCE PERIOD FOR PARTICIPATION IN MOOT COURT OR MOCK TRIAL EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 201:8 - LAWYERS WHO RESIDE IN, WORK IN, AND ARE LICENSED IN A MANDATORY CLE JURISDICTION THAT ALLOWS FOR 100% OF CLE COURSES TO BE TAKEN THROUGH ALTERNATIVE VERIFIABLE LEARNING FORMATS SHALL, THROUGH RECIPROCITY, BE ABLE TO SATISFY THEIR CLE OBLIGATION IN NEW JERSEY THROUGH 100% ALTERNATIVE VERIFIABLE LEARNING FORMATS. (emphasis added) [NOTE: This amendment will be applied retroactively.]
BCLE Reg 202:2 - An application for a waiver shall be in writing addressed to the Board, WITH PAYMENT OF THE REQUISITE FEE, shall be certified as true under penalties of perjury, and at a minimum, set forth: the reason(s) the lawyer cannot comply with the minimum requirements of these regulations; the efforts the lawyer made to comply; and a plan for compliance during the waiver period or upon termination of the waiver period. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 202:3 - Upon a written and certified application, WITH PAYMENT OF THE REQUISITE FEE, and for good cause appearing, the Board, in its discretion, may extend the time of compliance for a lawyer upon such terms and under such conditions as the Board shall require. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 302:4 - Approved service providers also shall file with the Board, prior to the presentation of any CLE activity or course, BUT NO LATER THAN 30 DAYS AFTER THE PRESENTATION OF THE COURSE, an ONLINE COURSE announcement of such CLE activity that shall specify, AMONG OTHER THINGS, the areas of law covered in the activity or course and the credit hours claimed for the activity or course. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 302:10 - When a CLE activity or course has been accredited or the CLE activity or course is offered by an approved service provider, the provider shall set forth prominently in its brochures and/or registration materials the following: "This program has been approved by the Board of Continuing Legal Eduction of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for _____ hours of total CLE credit. Of these, _______qualify as hours of credit for ethics/professionalism, and ___________ qualify as hours of credit toward certification in civil trial law, criminal trial law, workers compensation law, MUNICIPAL COURT LAW, and/or matrimonial law. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 402:1 - Grace periods shall not be extended or renewed, UNLESS FOR GOOD CAUSE SHOWN. (emphasis added)
BCLE Reg 402:2 - Late fees were reduced for applications for waivers and extensions of time reduced from $50 to $25, for late compliance reporting and late completion of compliance with the CLE requirement from $150 to $50, and for failure to complete the CLE requirement from $150 to $100. The fee reductions are effectively immediately and shall be applied prospectively only.
BCLE Reg 402:3 - A lawyers who fails to comply in a timely manner with the CLE reporting requirement may be DEEMED administratively INELIGIBLE TO practice law in New Jersey. (emphasis added) The former language read: A lawyers who fails to comply in a timely manner with the CLE reporting requirement may be administratively suspended from the practice of law in New Jersey.
I'm sure that many attorneys will be especially happy about the changes to 201:8 which allow many attorneys to fulfill their entire obligation online - especially those who live and work in New York and are licensed there. This rule change brings much more parity to the rules between New York and New Jersey.
ONE IMPORTANT NOTE ON THIS: New Jersey is requiring that attorneys, in order to use the 100% alternative verifiable learning format "exception", must reside in AND work in AND be licensed in a mandatory jurisdiction that allows for 100% of CLE to be taken through AVLF. All three conditions must be satisfied. If an attorney lives in New Jersey but works in and is licensed in New York, he or she would still have to take at least 1/2 of the requirement with live course credits. States that allow for 100% of credits to be taken with AVLF include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.