.1602 Course Content Requirements
(a) Professional Responsibility Programs on Stress, Substance Abuse, Chemical Dependency, and Debilitating Mental Conditions - Accredited professional responsibility courses on stress, substance abuse, chemical dependency, and debilitating mental conditions shall concentrate on the relationship between stress, substance abuse, chemical dependency, debilitating mental conditions, and a lawyer's professional responsibilities. Such courses may also include (1) education on the prevention, detection, treatment and etiology of stress, substance abuse, chemical dependency, and debilitating mental conditions, and (2) information about assistance for chemically dependent or mentally impaired lawyers available through lawyers' professional organizations. No more than three hours of continuing education credit will be granted to any one such course or segment of a course.
(b) Law School Courses - Courses offered by an ABA accredited law school with respect to which academic credit may be earned may be approved activities. Computation of CLE credit for such courses shall be as prescribed in Rule .1605(a) of this subchapter. No more than 12 CLE hours in any year may be earned by such courses. No credit is available for law school courses attended prior to becoming an active member of the North Carolina State Bar.
(c) Law Practice Management Programs - A CLE accredited program on law practice management must satisfy the accreditation standards set forth in Rule .1519 of this subchapter with the primary objective of increasing the participant’s professional competence and proficiency as a lawyer. The subject matter presented in an accredited program on law practice management shall bear a direct relationship to either substantive legal issues in managing a law practice or a lawyer’s professional responsibilities, including avoidance of conflicts of interest, protecting confidential client information, supervising subordinate lawyers and nonlawyers, fee arrangements, managing a trust account, ethical legal advertising, and malpractice avoidance. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that may earn CLE credit: employment law relating to lawyers and law practice; business law relating to the formation and operation of a law firm; calendars, dockets and tickler systems; conflict screening and avoidance systems; law office disaster planning; handling of client files; communicating with clients; and trust accounting. If appropriate, a law practice management program may qualify for professional responsibility (ethics) CLE credit. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that will NOT receive CLE credit: marketing; networking/rainmaking; client cultivation; increasing productivity; developing a business plan; improving the profitability of a law practice; selling a law practice; and purchasing office equipment (including computer and accounting systems).
(d) Skills and Training Programs- A program that teaches a skill specific to the practice of law may be accredited for CLE if it satisfies the accreditation standards set forth in Rule .1519 of this subchapter with the primary objective of increasing the participant’s professional competence and proficiency as a lawyer. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that may earn CLE credit: legal writing; oral argument; courtroom presentation; and legal research. A program that provides general instruction in non-legal skills shall NOT be accredited. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that will NOT receive CLE credit: learning to use software for an application that is not specific to the practice of law (e.g. word processing); learning to use office equipment (except as permitted by paragraph (e) of this rule); public speaking; speed reading; efficiency training; personal money management or investing; career building; marketing; and general office management techniques.
(e) Technology Training Programs – A technology training program must have the primary objective of enhancing a lawyer’s proficiency as a lawyer or improving law office management and must satisfy the requirements of paragraphs (c) and (d) of this rule as applicable. Such programs include, but are not limited to, education on the following: a) an IT tool, process, or methodology designed to perform tasks that are specific or uniquely suited to the practice of law; b) using a generic IT tool, process, or methodology to increase the efficiency of performing tasks necessary to the practice of law; c) the investigation, collection, and introduction of social media evidence; d) e-discovery; e) electronic filing of legal documents; f) digital forensics for legal investigation or litigation; g) practice management software; and h) a cybersecurity tool, process, or methodology specifically applied to the needs of the practice of law or law practice management. A program that provides general instruction on an IT tool, process, or methodology but does not include instruction on the practical application of the IT tool, process, or methodology to the practice of law shall not be accredited. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that will NOT receive CLE credit: generic education on how to use a tablet computer, laptop computer, or smart phone; training programs on Microsoft Office, Excel, Access, Word, Adobe, etc.; and instruction in the use of a particular desktop or mobile operating system. No credit will be given to a program that is sponsored by a manufacturer, distributor, broker, or merchandiser of an IT tool, process, or methodology unless the program is solely about using the IT tool, process, or methodology to perform tasks necessary or uniquely suited to the practice of law and information about purchase arrangements is not included in the accredited segment of the program. A sponsor may not accept compensation from a manufacturer, distributor, broker, or merchandiser of an IT tool, process, or methodology in return for presenting a CLE program about the IT tool, process, or methodology.
(f) Activities That Shall Not Be Accredited CLE credit will not be given for general and personal educational activities. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that will NOT receive CLE credit:
(1) courses within the normal college curriculum such as English, history, social studies, and psychology;
(2) courses that deal with the individual lawyer's human development, such as stress reduction, quality of life, or substance abuse unless a course on substance abuse or mental health satisfies the requirements of Rule .1602(c);
(3) courses designed primarily to sell services or products or to generate greater revenue, such as marketing or advertising (as distinguished from programs dealing with development of law office procedures and management designed to raise the level of service provided to clients).
(g) Service to the Profession Training - A program or segment of a program presented by a bar organization may be granted up to three hours of credit if the bar organization's program trains volunteer attorneys in service to the profession, and if such program or segment meets the requirements of Rule .1519(b)-(g) and Rule .1601(b), (c), and (g) of this subchapter; if appropriate, up to three hours of professional responsibility credit may be granted for such program or program segment.
(h) In-House CLE and Self-Study. No approval will be provided for in-house CLE or self-study by attorneys, except as follows:
(1) programs exempted by the board under Rule .1501(c)(10) of this subchapter; and
(2) live programs on professional responsibility, professionalism, or professional negligence/malpractice presented by a person or organization that is not affiliated with the lawyers attending the program or their law firms and that has demonstrated qualification to present such programs through experience and knowledge.
(i) Bar Review/Refresher Course. Programs designed to review or refresh recent law school graduates or attorneys in preparation for any bar exam shall not be approved for CLE credit.
History Note: Authority - Order of the North Carolina Supreme Court, October 7, 1987, 318 N.C. 711.
Readopted Effective December 8, 1994
Amendments Approved by the Supreme Court: March 6, 1997; March 5, 1998; March 3, 1999; March 1, 2001; June 7, 2001; March 3, 2005; March 2, 2006; March 8, 2007; October 9, 2008; March 6, 2014; June 9, 2016; September 20, 2018; September 25, 2019