A proposal to require new lawyers to participate in a day of career training met with some push back last week by members of the Rules Committee for the Superior Court, who questioned whether the responsibility of career training should fall on the state Judicial Branch.
The proposal for a so-called "boot camp" for new lawyers came recently from a Rules Committee task force that had been looking into whether the state should adopt minimum continuing legal educaton for lawyers. The task force, chaired by Judge Elliot Solomon, noted deep divisions among lawyers in the state over MCLE and recommended that it's not something that should be pursued at this time.
Instead, the task force recommended creating a rule to require a one-day basic skills course for the estimated 700 newly admitted lawyers in the state each year.
In discussing that proposal, several Rules Committee members expressed concerns about the potential cost of running the boot camp program. That expense, they said, said would fall upon the already strapped Judicial Branch.
The program "would be free to the participants, but it wouldn't be free to the Branch," Judge Jon M. Alander said, questioning why the court system should be responsible for training lawyers
Alander wasn't convinced that requiring MCLE for just some attorneys was the right thing to do. He found it a bit unfair that the state would try to impose a CLE requirement on new bar members, who have no lobbying voice, and keep the status quo for established lawyers.
When other committee members pointed out that Connecticut is only one of a few states that doesn't have MCLE, Alander shot back that Connecticut might be a state "that doesn't need MCLE."
"Sometimes doing nothing is better," he said, "rather than assuming responsibility for something that is someone else's responsibility."
Alander further suggested that the responsibilty for making graduates practice-ready is best placed on law schools, which already have resources to provide the type of legal training new lawyers need.
Judge Richard W. Dyer, in defending the proposal that had been reached as a compromise among members of the task force, suggested requiring new lawyers to take the class might be a good way "to build a stronger voluntary CLE program in the state."