Sleeping During CLE

I do a lot of CLE speaking.  People say I’m funny and I try to scare people into the realities of patent practice and malpractice.  I’ve seen folks who read newspapers, play on their computers, and work during CLEs, and of course there’s a zone of reasonableness about what is required before someone can say they “attended” a CLE.

Fair enough.

I’ve also observed folks leave CLEs before I speak — often they sponsors put the ethics guy last to keep people present — and wondered if they claimed to have attended my hour of ethics.  That seems… unethical.

This case doesn’t get me that precedent, but it’s close.  A lawyer was snoring at a CLE and had to be woken up, and also he apparently had been drinking at it, and eventually had been led out of the room by someone to stop disruption.  Both DC and Virginia gave the fellow a six month suspension — not for sleeping, it seems, but for denying it.  In re Hartke, (D.C. Ct. App. No. 15-BG-984, May 12, 2016).

About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.

3 thoughts on “Sleeping During CLE

  1. 2

    First, I’d love to attend one of your CLEs, can you post a link or something giving us your upcoming CLE engagements so we can see if you are in our region?

    Second, this situation has crossed my mind (purely academic, of course). I am in a state which allows some online CLE credits but also requires some in person CLE credits. People attending the in person CLEs are routinely doing other work on their laptops. What do you think might be the result if someone attends an in-person CLE and also completes an online CLE on their laptop at the same time (thus earning two CLE hours for each real hour)? Ethics violation?

    1. 2.1

      Budz, I hadn’t thought of the two-for-one special, but somehow that seems unethical: just as you can’t bill the same hour of time to do different clients, you shouldn’t be able to do that.

      I’ll try to post upcoming talks. I do remember to do that every once in a while. ..

  2. 1


    I have not attended one of your CLEs, but it seems that presenters’ stock-in-trade is a parade of horribles. These are amusing the first time around, but are so extreme that they don’t provide much real guidance. If you would provide a link to a recent CLE of yours, I would endeavor to provide constructive comments.

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