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New York Cle - Facts About New York CLE

the continuing legal education board credit hours previous credit certification

New York CLE stands for New York Continuing Legal Education. This is a program instituted in New York State that requires legal professionals (most newly admitted ones) to continue their education as their careers progress, insuring that they remain the most competent and up to date professionals possible. The New York CLE consists of a series of courses that attorneys and other legal professionals who have been admitted to the Bar must complete in order to remain legally eligible to practice law in New York State. These programs must be accredited by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board.

The Continuing Legal Education Board

The Continuing Legal Education Board consists of 16 board members all of whom are members of the Bench and Bar. These are state appointed board members chosen by the Chief Judge and the Presiding Justices of the State of New York. This board is overseen by another state appointed organization called the Administrative Board of the Courts.
So it is clear that there is a high degree of governmental involvement at the state level in the New York CLE process. In the New York State legal profession, it is seen as especially important to maintain high standards and insure that legal professionals are fully competent. Thus accreditation of schools that offer CLE courses is not left in the hands of private professional organizations but rather state level organizations agencies.
The Continuing Legal Education Board is essentially where the New York CLE process starts in that they generally accredit and structure the CLE educational programs. The Board determines things like the number of credit hours that will be required to satisfy CLE requirements, evaluate and examine course materials, decide which schools are considered competent to give CLE courses, and so on. This organization also fosters the offering of CLE educational opportunities in areas of the state that are, for instance, geographically remote and may not have the educational infrastructure of more developed areas.

New York CLE requirements

Many of the New York CLE program requirements are set up as a kind of transitional educational stage for attorneys newly admitted to the bar in New York State. It covers a number of practical professional issues for practicing law in the state that may not have been thoroughly gone over in law school. Though law school covers all of the fundamental aspects of the profession, areas such as legal practice management, ethics, and practical bar skills may be gone over in a kind of secondary way in law school. So the CLE courses and programs aim to educate lawyers in a more practical sense so that they can be considered fully competent to practice.
The following are a few of the requirements for CLE study:

Credit Hours

The newly admitted attorney is required to complete 32 credit hours of CLE study (16 per year) within the first two years after their admission to the Bar. But the breakdown is more specific than this: each year, 3 credit hours are devoted courses in ethics and professionalism, 6 credit hours to bar skills courses, and 7 hours to law practice management courses. If the attorney accumulates more credit than this, the credits can transfer over to the second year. But only a maximum of 8 credits may “roll over” this way.
Accredited Schools and Programs

The New York CLE courses that an attorney takes must be given by schools that are accredited by the above mentioned Continuing Legal Education Board. Various formats such as online programs, correspondence courses, self study, etc. are not considered accreditable and aren’t accepted.

Previous Credit

Attorneys that have taken CLE courses prior to passing the Bar examination may use those courses to satisfy the CLE requirements as long as they are accredited courses. But the limit for this is 16 credits.


The CLE attorney must certify that they have completed the courses by showing certificates of attendance when they submit their biennial attorney registration statement.

These and other requirements must be fulfilled in order for a newly admitted attorney (or other attorney required to satisfy them) to be legally eligible to practice. So if you’re a newly registered attorney, make sure you get this taken care of. More detailed information on the New York CLE program can be found at the New York Unified Court System website at: http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/cle/index.shtml.

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