Pa Supreme Court Approves Pilot Program Allowing CLE Credit for Pro Bono Service
May 3, 2018
Recognizing the importance of pro bono service, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has approved the creation of a new continuing legal education (CLE) pilot program aimed at increasing support for civil legal aid for low-income Pennsylvanians. The pilot program will allow licensed Pennsylvania lawyers to earn CLE credit for approved pro bono service in the community through certified legal service providers. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is committed to providing access to justice for all and has a long-standing history of support for providing civil legal aid for those with limited resources,” Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy said. “This pilot program furthers our commitment to legal aid while providing opportunities for licensed attorneys to fulfill their annual CLE requirements. “I am grateful for the efforts of former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Alan Feldman and former chair of the CLE Board Robert Heim for their tireless advocacy on behalf of the pilot program.” Developed in conjunction with the Continuing Legal Education Board, the three-year pilot program will allow registered Pennsylvania lawyers to receive one CLE credit for every five hours of pro bono legal work completed. On an annual basis, registered Pennsylvania lawyers are required to earn 12 CLE credits, including two hours of ethics credit. Lawyers participating in the new pilot program can earn up to a maximum of three credits per year toward their annual requirement. “This pilot will serve as a continuation of the CLE Board’s ongoing efforts to blend legal education initiatives with assistance for Pennsylvania’s legal service programs,” CLE Board Chair Anthony Aliano said. “The Board considers this a win-win situation for volunteer lawyers and legal service providers.” The Supreme Court will work closely with the CLE Board and participating legal service providers on the mechanics of recording, reporting and tracking of CLE credits earned through this pilot. Participation in the program by legal services providers is voluntary. Those seeking to participate in the program need to apply for Approved CLE Provider status from the CLE Board. The Court anticipates the program to be available by early 2019. The CLE Board is responsible for administering the rules pertaining to continuing education for attorneys. This responsibility includes monitoring each attorney’s compliance with the requirements, notifying attorneys of CLE status, and accrediting CLE providers and activities. More information about the pilot program will soon be available on the CLE Board’s website: https://www.pacle.org/.