By Marshal S. Willick, Esq.
After five years of proposals, comments, public hearings, and debate since 2014, Nevada has a radically re-designed CLE program. The current regulations, which are still being amended, are posted at https://www.nvcleboard.org/pdfs/BoardRegulations.pdf. For the full history of CLE in Nevada, and a fuller explanation of what happened and why, see Legal Note Vol. 68 – The Past, Present, and Future of CLE in Nevada, posted at https://www.willicklawgroup.com/newsletters/.
1. The burden is on you
As of 2019, CLE reporting requires annual certification each year by each lawyer of CLE attended, subject to random audits for compliance with the 13-credit annual requirement, and sanctions for misrepresentation.
Pursuant to SCR 210(3), CLE reporting is to be by submission of an “Affirmation of Attendance and Compliance” online at www.nvcleboard.org. As of November 2019, no such reporting form is posted, but it is promised.
2. CLE should be cheaper
Under the 2014-2019 rules, the CLE Board charged high fees to those providing and receiving CLE, even if it was provided for free. Under the 2019 regulations, the $40 annual CLE fee was made a sum-certain cap for attendees. The per-credit-hour fees assessed for seeking additional education out of state were abandoned.
3. You again have lots of options, and (mostly) free CLE should return
From 2014 to 2019, free and local high-quality CLE largely disappeared because of the fee structure demanding large payments from those providing or receiving such CLE.
Under the 2019 regulations, there are no fees for writing scholarly articles and publications. State and county bar associations, courts, and non-profits are largely exempt from fees for providing CLE programs. But the CLE Board still wants money from most anyone else who provides CLE – whether or not the provider charges those attending. To be an “accredited provider” you have to pay $500 per year, and to provide CLE to others, even for free, you have to pay the CLE Board $30 to $75, depending on the number of credit hours.
4. The public still will not see your CLE
The CLE Board has flatly refused to make public each lawyer’s CLE history to assist those seeking legal representation to compare the continuing education of prospective counsel.
5. Some oddities and problems remain
The 2019 regulations still have some contradictions and uncertainties. For example:
The Nevada Supreme Court directed the CLE Board to enact regulations to “discover and encourage the offering of courses and programs which will satisfy the educational requirements of these rules, whether offered within or without the State of Nevada.” But the board’s regulations require each member to get “pre-approval” of out of state programs at least 45 days in advance of attending. And credit will only be given for teaching elsewhere if the program has been approved by the board; other states’ CLE programs normally are not “approved.”
Regulation 6 says that if you want to put on a CLE, you must submit an application “within thirty days” of the program. It probably means “at least” but several of the regulations have similar clarity issues.
There is a “rat rule.” Regulation 3(D)(1) requires every attorney who witnesses another lawyer not remaining present for a CLE course to “submit such information concerning the alleged violation to the program monitor” and if the program provider does not do something about it “to report the conduct to Bar Counsel for the State Bar of Nevada.”
Our CLE rules remain a work in progress.
Marshal S. Willick, Esq. is the Principal of the WILLICK LAW GROUP, an A/V-rated Las Vegas family law firm, and QDROMasters, its pension order drafting division. He can be reached at 3591 East Bonanza Rd., Ste. 200, Las Vegas, NV 89110-2198. Phone: (702) 438-4100; fax: (702) 438-5311; e-mail: Marshal@WillickLawGroup.com.
This article was originally published in the “Five Things” issue (January 2020) of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association.
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