Increased communication and efforts to advance a more user-friendly reporting system have proved beneficial for Nebraska lawyers who reported annual education hours earned in 2012. Lawyers have shown a greater ability to use the on-line system, according to Carole McMahon-Boies, Director of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Commission, “We have been quite pleased with the cooperation and dedication of lawyers using the system, it has been a good reporting season.”
The Supreme Court amended the MCLE rules in 2012 extending the annual deadline for filing a report until January 20 of each year, although the busiest time for MCLE staff remained the week leading up to January 1.
Beginning December 1, attorneys were eligible to begin filing their 2012 reports. The first report came in shortly after midnight on December 1, a Saturday morning. From December 1 to January 20, the Commission staff fielded 1,856 phone calls and responded to 1,889 e-mails regarding the process for reporting. Staff was available on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and the final weekend for reporting to insure that attorneys had adequate assistance to file timely reports.
A Commission priority is to provide rapid processing of requests for course approval to comply with credit deadlines. Accordingly, staff was able to provide same-day processing of courses, ensuring that no attorney waited more than 8-hours to have a course processed. During the week of January 14, personal reminder calls were made to over 635 attorneys who still had not filed an MCLE annual report.
One week after the filing deadline, only 3.9% of attorneys had not filed their annual report for 2012. The compliance process requires that certified letters be sent to all those who did not file a report outlining the steps toward compliance. The help desk remains available at 402-471-3137 to assist with any questions.
The MCLE Commission received many statements of appreciation as staff worked with individual attorneys on submission of their annual reports. The staff of the MCLE Commission is employed by the Nebraska Supreme Court Office of Judicial Branch Education with offices in the State Law Library. The Commission has just completed the third year of tracking MCLE compliance.
“We want to extend our sincere appreciation to all attorneys who filed their reports within the deadline period,” said McMahon-Boies. “Our response and compliance rates are on the rise as lawyers become more familiar with the Court’s rule.”
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