The answer to this question is a resounding yes. All attorneys must have twelve (12) hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) each year. But, this is not a very stringent requirement. Essentially, it’s two day-long seminars. Many attorneys go to a weekend conference and get their CLE hours in one weekend.
It is very important for your attorney to understand the law and the changes. The law changes daily with new decisions from appellate courts and new statutes passed each year. These changes can impact your case and the advice you receive.
For example, a client recently hired us who had contacted another law firm. That law firm told the client she didn’t have a case. She was a passenger in a vehicle, and it was alleged that the driver of her vehicle was partially at fault. In such a case, it’s irrelevant if both her driver AND the other driver caused the wreck. As long as she can prove some fault on the other driver, she has a potential case. Why? Because she wasn’t driving and couldn’t be at fault in the wreck, so if she can prove the other driver caused the wreck, she has a claim.
In another case we recently settled, two law firms told our client to accept a $15,000 settlement. The client was not satisfied with that, and she came to our firm. Good thing she did. After filing suit and conducting the appropriate discovery, we settled her case for over $200,000.00.
The attorney you hire matters. Whether those attorneys keep up with the law matters. What do we do to continue to stay abreast of legal issues? we attend several conferences each year. Jon just returned from the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting, and he received updates on ERISA subrogation (Especially the new U.S. Airways v. McCutchen Supreme Court Case) issues as well as current Workers Compensation laws and changes. We read the Alabama Law Weekly and slip opinions to continue to be apprised of Court decisions. We belong to various listservs and organizations such as the Alabama State Bar Association, The Birmingham Bar Association, the Alabama Association for Justice, the American Association for Justice, and InjuryBoard. Danny Feldman recently attended hearings in Irondale regarding a potential new cycling law which would have affected all cyclists in the Birmingham area. Danny Lehane continues to read and learn about new Social Security Disability issues.
Ask your attorney what he/she does to keep abreast of current law. It can matter to your case.