MORGANTOWN – For 36 years, the West Virginia State Bar and West Virginia University College of Law worked together to manage the primary continuing legal education program for lawyers who practice in the state.
There was no bad blood or acrimony in the decision.
“For over 30 years, the CLE had been jointly offered by the WVU College of Law and the West Virginia State Bar, pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding,” Gregory Bowman, dean of the College of Law told The West Virginia Record. “Last year, the State Bar and the College of Law decided that it was time to revisit the Memorandum.”
The State Bar wanted to focus on other efforts, but the College of Law desired to stay active with CLE programming.
“It was a very friendly and mutual decision,” Bowman said.
Under the auspices of the West Virginia College of Law, the WVCLE program offers a variety of classes to help state’s lawyers maintain a professional, competent, ethical course throughout their careers. For a sense of scope, the WVCLE provides a variety of training for 2,200 lawyers each year. It is the only in-state CLE provider accredited by all 39 mandatory CLE jurisdictions and State Supreme Courts.
Will the reorganization have a noticeable effect on those who use the program? “The WVU College of Law will offer the same excellent CLE programming that it always has, and at very competitive rates,” Bowman said. “Our CLE customers will see no change in that regard.”
But that doesn’t mean there will be no changes at all. “We are exploring new programs and topics that we can offer as well,” according to Bowman. “Taking over WVCLE is an opportunity to make our excellent CLE programs even better.”
As mandated by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, an attorney must complete 24 CLE credits every two years in order to continue practicing in the state. That makes the WVCLE an important member of the legal community.
Mr. Bowman offered a further hint about developments in the pipeline. “We are exploring new offerings and delivery methods,” he said. “We will have more news about this soon.”
Attorneys interested in perusing CLE offerings, or anyone else who wants to stay updated about the WVCLE program should visit the official website at WVCLE.WVU.edu.
As in many professions, continuing legal education is an important requirement in the West Virginia court system. The West Virginia State Bar devotes an entire chapter to the topic in the Association’s governing document. Classes offered by the newly independent WVCLE include topics such as law office management, legal ethics, substance abuse, the elimination of bias in the legal profession, and more.
Fifty minutes of an approved CLE activity is equal to one credit. Up to 12 credits can be obtained via the use of CD or DVD training.