Are written materials required for all courses?
Supreme Court Rule(s) cited in this FAQ: Rule 795
Yes. Each course must have quality written materials distributed to participants before or during the class. Such written materials are a requirement for accreditation.
Providers should not plan a course to be presented without thorough, carefully prepared written materials because they fill a valuable role in the overall learning experience. There are essentially three reasons to require the provider distribute written materials during or before the course:
Requests to offer a course without written materials should be the rare exception and submitted to the Board before the course start date. When a provider submits such a request for the Board’s approval, it must establish that the course meets all other Rule 795(a) accreditation standards and that the absence of written materials is reasonable. MCLE Rule 795(a)(5).
- Written materials make it much more likely that the speaker is organized and prepared to teach;
- Written materials alleviate the need for attorneys to take extensive notes, allowing them to concentrate on the oral presentation; and
- Written materials are a valuable reference for attorneys after they leave the course.
As an example of the type of application that the Board would consider as qualifying for CLE credit without written materials:
- Individual course providers should submit the application and application fee in PCAM no less than 45 days before the course start date for advance accreditation.
- Accredited Providers should contact the MCLE Board no less than 30 days before the course start date for advance accreditation.
Congress just passes a new law. The provider establishes that the law takes effect soon, and those affected by the new law must undertake advanced planning. Given the short brief time between the law’s passage and its effective date, the provider can provide only a copy of the new law and a quick bullet point outline of the new law’s major elements and issues as written materials. The provider establishes a need to offer a course soon after the new law passed and before thorough, carefully prepared written materials can be written.
A speaker’s failure to produce written materials is not an excuse for the provider’s failure to work with the speaker to create or otherwise secure written course materials from other sources, such as other speakers at the course, authorities in the field, or the internet. Please note that any required copyright clearance is the provider’s responsibility. If the provider waits until after the Board denies the application to assert the reasonableness of not distributing written materials or its efforts to secure written materials, it has waived those arguments in any request for reconsideration or appeal.
If the course has not started when the Board denies the application, the provider may elect to secure qualifying written materials. When that happens, the provider may submit a new application to accredit the course before the application deadline. Rule 795(c)(2).
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