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NC Bar Association OKs move to expand scope of CLEs

Tech know-how may become a requirement for lawyers

The push to make technical competence a requirement for the state’s lawyers has moved ahead with the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors’ approval of a resolution to liberalize CLE requirements.

The board approved the resolution, drafted by its Law Practice Management Section, when it met Oct. 6. The resolution favors more leeway for designers of state-mandated continuing legal education courses to cover topics of practice management, including technology and innovative delivery of legal services.

Attorney Stephanie Kimbro, who drafted the resolution, said she would like to see the North Carolina State Bar, change the CLE guidelines.

“It would be great if North Carolina were ahead of the game,” she said.

The bar has indicated it is open to the resolution’s proposals. The state bar creates the CLE course requirements, and the N.C. Supreme Court approves them.

Kimbro said the bar should work with the NCBA’s Center for Practice Management because it serves many of the state’s solo practitioners and small firms, and has a solid understanding of what these lawyers need in terms of technology and practice management training. Kimbro said North Carolina is home to a number of experts who could lead CLEs on these topics.

The move toward increased technology education is in line with changes the American Bar Association made this summer to comments on Model Rule 1.1. According to the change, competency includes keeping abreast of “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”
Kimbro said the state’s guidelines should help lawyers stay ahead of the tech curve.

“That’s not one-time compliance,” she said. “It should be an ongoing duty.”

Follow Amber Nimocks on Twitter: @NCLWTechTalk


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