How likely am I to be disbarred here?
May 27, 2008 3:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm an attorney, admitted to the New York Bar in February, 2007. I've recently discovered that I did not complete the required number of CLE credits in my first year. How to I best rectify the error and what consequences can I expect to befall me?

Until this morning, I was under the impression that I had the full two years to complete the CLE requirements for newly admitted attorneys. It turn out that I am short several credits.

(If it matters, I have more than enough skills credits, and am short 3.5 professional practice credits and 3 ethics credits.)

Advice from anyone who's been in a similar situation would be much appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total)
I would say the odds you will be disbarred are low. First, you can put yourself into compliance relatively quickly. Second, you get tons of due process even if they go for your license. I think compliance at any of these levels is likely to be enough to ensure that you will not lose your license. Finally, you gotta expect that this is a common occurance in any state--enough people make this mistake that you can expect that it is probably considered pretty routine.

Finally, I'm certain you're aware that your first step will be to look at the rules to see whom to contact. If it looks at all daunting, just get an attorney who does this sort of ethics work to take care of this--you don't need to worry about billing and doing this at the same time.

I know some people barred there and I might be able to get a referral for you if you send me an mefimail.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:10 PM on May 27, 2008

I'm admitted to the New York Bar and am consistently behind in CLE credits. Get yourself a 90-day extension here:
posted by pokeydonut at 4:35 PM on May 27, 2008

The right thing to do is contact the bar and let them know about your mistake. Rectify it as soon as possible by taking the extra CLE courses. The legal profession, more than any other, has a right to expect that its members play by the rules, and admit errors when they make them.
posted by profwhat at 4:45 PM on May 27, 2008

If you were admitted to the Second Department, then you should already have three ethics credits from the mandatory orientation.
posted by ionnin at 4:48 PM on May 27, 2008

Wait, you're a newly admitted attorney, right? So you have to re-register in 2009, having completed sixteen credits between February 2007 and February 2008, and another sixteen credits between 2008 and 2009. I'm guessing your confusion arose because of when your birthday falls, compared to when you were admitted (I was conveniently admitted within days of my birthday). If I'm understanding your dilemma correctly, you've failed to get your sixteen credits by February 2008. If so, then the Courts FAQ has the answer for you, and it's what pokeydonut says -- file for an extension retroactively, and make sure you get all 32 credits before February 2009. Because they've posted an answer to this particular question on the website, I suspect you're not the first new attorney who's made this mistake, so perhaps the consequences will be minor. Good luck!
posted by lassie at 5:14 PM on May 27, 2008

I'm not a NY attorney, so I'm not even going to try and decipher their CLE scheme. But in Illinois, we have a number to call anonymously where we can get advice on any and all ethical situations. It's not authoritative, but it's a safe first step to see which direction you should go.
posted by MrZero at 4:32 PM on May 28, 2008

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