Practicing with professionalism no longer optional: new admittees must attend course within 18 months of admission

Did you just pass the bar exam? Congratulations.

Now, then, I have some good news, and I have some bad news. Want the good news first? OK, yu're a lawyer. Nice job; all the hard work has paid off. The bad news? You're one of the first groups of new admittees required to attend a professionalism course as a condition of your licensure.

Well, it's not really bad news. I mean, you'll get to hear more about best practices from me and the Law Office of Management Assistance Program (LOMAP) -- so that's good, right? There will also be some other excellent presenters at these sessions, who will provide you with tremendously valuable pointers on practicing law the right way, avoiding professional and ethical faux pas.

Now, you could trudge through a mandatory training, and complain about an additional requirement; or, you could try to milk this for all it's worth. At any of these programs, you'll learn from important local legal community stakeholders (like LOMAP, the Board of Bar Overseers and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers), as well as active practitioners, who can combine to help you to avoid mistakes common to new lawyers. You won't be constantly reinventing the wheel. You'll learn to practice efficiently, while avoiding ethics issues and maintaining your sanity amid the stress that often envelops the beginnings of a legal career.

With more than 20 trainings taking place throughout the year, offered by various official providers, you have some options respecting the place and time of your attendance. The Massachusetts Bar Association is hosting programs in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts system.

The MBA's Practicing with Professionalism Resource Center offers course and registration information, as well as FAQs about the new rule.

You can read the new Rule 3:16 in its entirety here. The Supreme Judicial Court offers its own resource page on the new requirements here.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published January 16, 2014


To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Cynthia E. MacCausland or Vice Chair Damian J. Turco.
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