December 1, 2002 Regular News Online CLE is only a click away for the busy Florida lawyer Online CLE is only a click away for the busy Florida lawyer As important as maintaining the academic edge is in the practice of law, many busy Florida lawyers wait to the last minute to fulfill their continuing legal education requirement.It’s a problem Florida Bar Director of CLE Mike Tartaglia is eager to solve – and he believes online CLE may be one of the answers.Today CLE is mandated in many states, but interest in CLE programs initially developed following World War II when lawyers, returning from service, recognized the need to be refreshed and updated.“As lawyers helped themselves by bettering their knowledge and skills, they also helped their clients and the general public,” Tartaglia said.Florida is now among the 40 states where CLE is mandated and is one of more than 25 states that delivers CLE via the Internet.“Florida’s response to its lawyer’s request for online CLE has enabled The Florida Bar to become a national leader in offering online CLE to its members,” Tartaglia said.Court rule requires that Florida lawyers fulfill 30 hours of CLE every three years, all of which can be taken online. Tartaglia said in addition to the many rich “home-grown” live programs the Bar presents every year, the Bar streams the best and most topic-relevant programs on the Internet so that its members can fulfill their CLE requirements cost effectively when they are unable to attend a seminar.Online CLE also offers the opportunity to reach the 18 percent of The Florida Bar’s 70,790 members who reside outside the state.“We have a very high level of obligation to our members,” Tartaglia said. “We are committed to do all we reasonably can to make CLE affordable and available to our members at times and locations that are convenient for them.”He said online CLE offers convenience that is often difficult to find during the busy workday.“Online CLE brings an affordable and convenient option for busy attorneys who need to complete their CLE requirements with relevant topics,” Tartaglia said.The CLE compliance deadline is the other challenge for Florida lawyers, who often find they need more CLE hours at the last minute.“And one of the biggest problems for these lawyers is the desire for relevant courses close to the filing period,” Tartaglia said, adding that while most CLE providers do a good job of making courses available throughout the year, when a lawyer’s individual deadline nears, live programming is often difficult to schedule. “With online CLE, lawyers can both take a course that is relevant to their specialty as well as fulfill their CLE requirement from their desktop, at the last minute.”The Internet and its applications within the practice of law are in Florida to stay. And although lawyers should attend live programs for the benefits of human interaction, Tartaglia said those who need a few more courses can be sure that high-quality CLE is only a click away at www.taecan.com/Florida or www.legalspan.com/TFB/catalog.asp.