On Monday, the ABA House of Delegates approved a Resolution amending the ABA Model Rule for Minimum Continuing Legal Education which includes a requirement for lawyers to receive at least one hour of mental health or substance use disorder programming every three years. It also calls for one hour of diversity and inclusion programming every three years. The Resolution was sponsored by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education, Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Law Practice Division.
The comments detail that while these types of programs generally count toward general CLE or ethics requirements, this Model Rule distinctively recommends a stand-alone requirement. The Resolution’s accompanying Report explains that it may reduce the concern of lawyers who are reluctant to attend due to stigma.
According to the Report, the 2016 study by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation was a catalyst for the change, stating, “Many organizations, including [CoLAP], have seen the study’s findings as a call to action, which led to this Model Rule’s recommendation that all lawyers take one credit of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programming every three years.”