NJ Supreme Court amends CLE requirements to include diversity, inclusion, elimination of bias credits - NJSBA supported along with county and affinity bar organizations

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October 28, 2020
Contact: Paula Saha
NEW BRUNSWICK - The New Jersey Supreme Court has amended the mandatory continuing legal education requirements to include credits on diversity, inclusion and the elimination of bias, a change that the NJSBA has supported for several years.
The Supreme Court posted a notice to the bar last week that amends Rule 1:42 regulations to “increase the total credit hours required for professionalism and ethics from four to five credits (of the overall total requirement of 24 credits per two-year reporting cycle) and require that at least two credit hours of those five credit hours in professionalism and ethics include the completion of qualifying coursework on diversity, inclusion, and elimination of bias.” The change is effective January 1, 2021.
The notice specifies that attorneys in the two-year reporting cycle that ends December 31, 2020 are not required to comply with the new requirements. Attorneys in the two-year reporting cycle that ends on December 31, 2021 will have to meet the new requirements. 
The NJSBA, as well as a number of county bar and affinity bar organizations, had written in support of such a change earlier this year. 
In addition, in 2016, the NJSBA supported a proposal of the American Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission – created by former ABA President and esteemed New Jersey attorney Paulette Brown -- to make diversity and inclusion a separate CLE requirement. The concept was ultimately adopted by the ABA’s House of Delegates among a group of recommendations designed to achieve the goal of fostering diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.