Florida Attorneys May No Longer Be Permitted CLE Credit for ABA Programs

On April 15, the Florida Supreme Court banned CLE course approval for any program “that uses quotas based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation in the selection of course faculty or participants.”

The court order took immediate effect and applied to any CLE programs still pending review.

This has caused a major problem for the American Bar Association, because its Diversity & Inclusion CLE Policy states that all of its sponsored CLE programs must include members of diverse groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

The ABA policy specifically states that any CLE programs with three or more panelists, including the moderator, must have at least one member from a diverse group. Programs with five to eight panelists must have at least two diverse members, and programs with nine or more panelists must have at least three diverse members.

These policies put the ABA in direct conflict with the Florida ruling.

ABA President Patricia Lee Refo has said “we will urge the Florida Supreme Court to modify its new CLE rule.”

In the meantime though, Florida Bar’s CLE approval department has determined that it can not award CLE credit either to any organization with quotas, such as the ABA, or to self-applying lawyers seeking credit for the ABA’s courses.

“Florida Bar regulators have stated that attorneys will not receive Florida credit for any ABA program that was not approved prior to the date of the Florida Supreme Court order, even if they self-apply,” Refo said. “Speakers will not receive Florida credit for their participation in our programs; and self-application forms submitted by attendees or speakers will not be approved.”

You can read more about this issue here.

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