Kentucky - the Only Bar Assn to Offer Free CLE

We belong to the State Bar Associations in both Kentucky and Ohio, along with a number of local bar associations. Kentucky, however, is unique in what it gives back to its members.

In a time of tightening budgets, Kentucky's judicial centers have suffered the same budget cuts as other states, if not worse. 282 employees statewide were cut, $25.2 million cut from the Judicial Branch funding, and repeated trimming. They even imposed three furlough days during 2012 when all non-elected court personnel stayed home and offices closed.

But the state Bar Association continues to do the one thing they have done for years for their members. Free CLE.

It's All the CLE You Need and it's Free.
Like other states, Kentucky has a mandatory continuing legal education requirement - but with a difference. They also give an annual Fall program that meets the CLE requirements for free to KBA members, the Kentucky Law Update. It is a remarkable member benefit in these continuing tight times for the legal profession.

The program goes back to 1984 and is presented annual in various cities across the state so it is convenience for all bar members. It is designed to be of value and use to all members, regardless of their years in practice. It is a terrific member benefit.

You may think that membership dues for KBA must be a lot higher than other states, right? Wrong. It is actually just a few dollars apart from our Ohio State Bar Association membership dues ($305 in Ohio, $310 in Kentucky) - where there is no free CLE for members. So five bucks gets you all the CLE you need, including ethics. That's a bargain.

It seems obvious but also seems to be ignored - the fact that CLE programs are often presented by association members who get paid nothing for their effort (although they do get "bonus" teaching CLE credits), so why doesn't EVERY state and local bar association do what Kentucky does? You'll have to ask your state and local bar associations that question.

This is one area of a lawyer's life where Kentucky does it better than the other 49 states, without a doubt. But for those of us who are also Kentucky lawyers, we just smile.

Ron Burdge
Helping Lawyers Help People, Everyday