70 Percent Opposed
New Haven County Bar Association Association President Sung-Ho Hwang inherited the group's longstanding opposition to MCLE. He said a recent survey of the group's members mirrored earlier studies. "We polled our members and they are opposed by about 70 percent," he said.
While no one is opposed to learning more about his or her practice area, the cost of mandatory courses and a possible fee to support the program is the tipping point, Hwang said. As far as the new proposal, he said New Haven bar leaders have not had time to discuss it yet.
Not all solo practitioners are against required legal training. Renee C. Bauer, a solo family law practitioner in Hamden, said an MCLE requirement would encourage lawyers keeping up to date on the law and add the benefit of networking opportunities. "You get to learn and refresh what you already know about a certain area of law and learn about other areas," she said. "I don't see a downside to that."
Another side of the solo attorney perspective was offered by Susan Cartier Liebel, who runs a service that consults lawyers on how to create solo practices, called Solo Practice University.
"I've never been a proponent of mandates," Liebel said. "To mandate MCLE would be a hardship for attorneys who are already struggling. It's not just a struggle financially, but it's the struggle to find the time."