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Alston & Bird’s continuing legal education coordinator, Christy E. Holmes, is spearheading an effort to encourage law firms to provide CLE credit. Holmes has founded the 21-member CLE Association of Atlanta to address the current lack of interest in teaching and taking in-house CLE seminars. On April 24, she said, she’ll meet with other local law firm administrators, recruiting coordinators and CLE coordinators to address the declining quality and quantity of in-house CLE. The group will network and brainstorm for in-house CLE ideas and share feedback on CLE providers with each other. Holmes said Alston & Bird partners and senior associates have taught in-house CLE courses in the past. But attendance has fallen, she said. First-, second- and third-year associates at Atlanta-based Alston & Bird are “strongly encouraged” to take six to 12 hours of in-house legal education, Holmes said. Those credits are in addition to the State Bar requirement that all attorneys, except those newly admitted, complete 12 hours, including one hour each in ethics and professionalism. Newly admitted attorneys must complete the Bridge-the-Gap seminar offered by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia and six additional hours in either the year of admission or the following year. But Holmes said new attorneys need “far more training” than the seminar provides. Timothy J. Buckley III, who co-chairs the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia’s Bridge-the-Gap committee, said the one-day program isn’t intended to be comprehensive training for newly minted attorneys. But the CLE does provide a survey of career issues for fledgling lawyers, he added, such as professionalism, ethics and practice management. Jennifer S. Queen, director of hiring and professional development at Long Aldridge & Norman and a member of CLEAA, said she’ll tap the group for resources on in-house professional development training like public speaking, legal writing skills and client development.

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