Professional Responsibility Course Development Checklist

This course development checklist was created for teachers of professional responsibility continuing legal education courses to helps guide course design so that it meets the CLE credit requirements.

Guiding principles:

  • In professional responsibility continuing legal education, the focus is to raise the professionalism of behavior. Therefore, when developing course content, consider not what material “should be covered” but what the participants will learn to do, e.g., “As a result of this participating in this course, the lawyer will be able to…”
  • In addition, provide active learning experiences in which participants apply knowledge or practice skills in furtherance of the learning objectives because active learning delivery methods, such as hypotheticals or case simulations, are significantly more effective than a lecture.

Minimum criteria for professional responsibility credit:

  • The professional responsibility course or activity has significant intellectual, educational, or practical content with a primary objective to increase each participant’s competence as an attorney.
  • The professional responsibility course or activity relates primarily to the practice of law.
  • The substance of the professional responsibility course or activity is one or more of the following: professionalism, diversity, mental illness, and addiction issues (wellness), civility, and legal ethics.

Note: To illustrate the above, a diversity/professionalism course on generational issues will not be approved unless the course focus is on the lawyer’s understanding and competency , e.g., to prevent incivility, miscommunications, and misconceptions across generations in the practice of law; be that lawyer to lawyer, lawyer to client, lawyer to judge.

Reminders for completing online application:

  • Learning objectives describe why the course is being offered and explicitly show how the course relates one or more of the five categories of the professional responsibility CLE rule and the practice of law, g., “To increase the lawyer’s understanding of situations that present conflicts of interest; to strengthen the lawyer’s ability to act to avoid these conflicts by considering the nuances of Rule 1.7 in the context of representing corporate clients.”
  • Faculty are qualified by education and experience to provide effective learning experiences for lawyers.
  • Each credit hour is based on 60 minutes; partial credit hours are rounded down to nearest quarter hour; and credit hours do not include breaks, introductory and closing remarks, keynote speeches or business meetings. A course shall include at least one-half hour of instruction.
  • Written resource materials that support the course learning are provided to participants before or at the course.
  • Faculty are available to participants when the course is not offered with faculty in room with participants. This may include participant phone access to qualified faculty; email or chat access to qualified faculty; or other faculty interaction access.