To better prepare law students to practice in the 21st century, the Illinois Supreme Court recently adopted changes to the minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) rules that emphasize the increasing importance of simulation training for educating law students.
Last month, the court broadened the MCLE credit available to Illinois attorneys who judge any type of simulation training for law students. The new rules apply to law student simulations beginning July 1, according to a release issued by the Illinois Supreme Court.
“The court adopted these changes as part of its ongoing effort to enhance continuing legal education opportunities for members of the Illinois bar,” said Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, who serves as the court’s liaison to the MCLE Board. “The changes, which are based upon the experience in other jurisdictions, as well as feedback from course providers and practicing lawyers, are designed to make CLE requirements more consistent and easier to follow and to recognize additional activities for which CLE credits may be earned while educating future lawyers."
Previously, Rule 795(d)(6)(i) limited MCLE credit to judging moot court arguments conducted by law students. With the changes, attorneys may earn Illinois MCLE credit for judging all types of simulation exercises, including mock trials, transactionals, negotiations, arbitrations and mediations that are offered to law students by law schools or other sponsors.
Additionally, the court approved revisions to Rule 795(a)(6), (7) and (8) and added Rule 795(d)(1) and (6), which aim to simplify the application process for course providers. These changes not only simplify the definition of delivery methods for MCLE courses, they make the minimum requirements more uniform for all courses. This includes those courses sponsored by government entities, law firms and corporate legal departments.
The amendments adopted by the court were proposed by the MCLE Board and its director, Karen Litscher Johnson.
“Thanks to their input, Illinois’ MCLE rules already meet or exceed national standards set by the ABA (American Bar Association),” Karmeier said. “With these changes, we hope to keep Illinois at the forefront of continuing legal education for attorneys and, in so doing, improve the quality of legal representation available to the people of Illinois.”