Are wandering thoughts about your stressful or complicated CLE administrative responsibilities keeping you up at night? Or perhaps you are simply frustrated with the technology (or lack thereof) that your team uses to deliver and manage Continuing Legal Education. Either way, that’s not a good feeling! And when you’re responsible for the professional well-being of so many people, that feeling is surely compounded.
We understand that the world of CLE is complex. The ins and outs are hard to follow for someone unfamiliar with the industry. Luckily, we get it. And we know how much of a difference the right management platform can make. If you’ve experienced any of the following “administrative CLE nightmares”, we can tell you how a topnotch CLE platform can be a true game changer.
CLE Nightmare #1: Varying Approval Code Expiration Dates
It’s no secret that the CLE accrediting bodies in each and every state or province in the US and Canada have their own expiration date regulations associated with various credit approval codes. For example, one state’s approval code for a specific online CLE event (from which attorneys can obtain CLE credit) might have a hard year-end expiration no matter when the credit was obtained, while another state’s approval code for that same event could be valid for a rolling year. The “nightmare” is in the administrative workload to manually track all of the expiration dates associated with all of the approval codes generated when attorneys complete their CLE compliance requirements.
With the right CLE technology in place, the correct expiration date will populate in your platform every time you enter a specific approval code for a CLE event. In a nutshell, the system accepts the approval code and approval date and automatically sets the expiration date based on the appropriate state or province rules—and will not allow credit generation for that CLE event in that specific state once the expiration date has passed. Think of this technology as a refrigerator that knows exactly when your salad dressing has gone bad and automatically puts it in the garbage for you!
Yet another great advantage of a proper CLE solution (like our own Beacon360! *hint hint, nudge nudge*) is that you can filter the events you offer to your customers and see all the CLE courses that will expire in the coming months. This provides you or your team the opportunity to start planning next steps. Some state accrediting bodies won’t allow you to offer previously used content, while others may require a review and/or update before a new approval code can be generated. Regardless of the circumstance, being able to automatically track expiration dates and plan ahead puts this nightmare to bed for good.
CLE Nightmare #2: Lost Certificates
Like we mentioned before, CLE compliance requirements vary from state to state and province to province. And so do the number of years for which CLE credits—and the accompanying certificate— are valid (one year, two years, sometimes three years). These rules determine how often an attorney must complete Continuing Legal Education courses. And, in most states, legal professionals must keep their certificate (even if it’s an old one) for four or five years, just in case they are audited by an accrediting organization.
The CLE “nightmare” happens when attorneys lose or misplace their CLE certificate(s). And this is actually a lot more common than you might think! When a certificate is mailed out to the attorney, or even when it is emailed, they often don’t have to report it right away, depending on how far in advance they’ve earned their CLE credits. And in the meantime, there is oh so plenty of opportunity for the certificate to get lost in the shuffle.
An effective CLE platform enables users to manage all of their Continuing Education certificates in one convenient location. If someone does happen to lose their certificate, they can print or email a carbon copy of it. This capability may sound super simple, but it’s important. With a click of a button, the end user should be able to generate the actual certificate, have it emailed to them, and have it displayed in their account if an account has been created for them.
CLE Nightmare #3: Tracking Credit Approval Codes
Let’s say you’re a CLE vendor that runs 100 events per month—all with different approval code numbers (and, as we mentioned before, expiration dates) for both the live and OnDemand versions of each course. Many states treat obtaining credits for these types of events differently, and it’s a “nightmare” to have to track all of them manually in confusing, error-prone spreadsheets.
With the right system in place, you can simply input the information, and your CLE platform automates the certificate delivery once the approval comes in. No cumbersome spreadsheets necessary! Depending on the state or province, sometimes it can take one week, sometimes eight weeks, and the right CLE technology will know exactly what the process should and will be. And what’s more, for the rest of any given event’s lifecycle, you can run reports against this data.
Continuing Legal Education doesn’t need to be an administrative nightmare. Not only should the experience for the end user be smooth, it should be pleasant for those operating the backend, as well! If you have any questions about our technology, please reach out to our team. Or you can simply request a guided tour of the Beacon360 platform to see for yourself how easy your CLE life could be!