What is Bridge the Gap?
Several states require newly admitted attorneys to complete a bridge-the-gap continuing legal education (CLE) program. These programs are intended to provide foundational skills and knowledge that newly admitted attorneys need to practice that they weren't taught in law school, thus “bridging the gap” between law school and legal practice.
Newly admitted members are required to attend the Arizona State Bar's professionalism course within the first year of admission or registration. The professionalism course is a one-time requirement and is 4.25 hours in duration. The CLE credits earned (4.25 total hours, all of which are professional responsibility) may be claimed on the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) affidavit in the applicable educational year.
New attorneys in California are required to complete 10 hours of training under California’s new attorney training program. The training must be completed within the first year of an attorney's admission. New attorneys have one year from the last day of the month in which they were admitted to complete the training. Credits for the program can be applied to an attorney's regular MCLE requirement.
Newly admitted lawyers in Florida are required to take Florida’s Basic Skills Course Requirement (BSCR). The course is a two-phase requirement for new lawyers. Phase I is titled Practicing with Professionalism, and Phase II is constituted of Young Lawyers Division courses. The BSCR phase I and II are a one-time only requirement.
Prior to 2005, Georgia administered a program titled “Bridge the Gap.” Today, all lawyers newly admitted to the State Bar of Georgia must complete the Transition Into Law Practice Program (TILPP), also known as "The Mentoring Program." According to the State Bar of Georgia, the goal of TILPP is “to afford beginning lawyers with meaningful access to experienced lawyers equipped to teach the practical skills, seasoned judgment, and sensitivity to ethical and professionalism values necessary to practice law in a highly competent manner.”
Within 12 months of admission to the Idaho State Bar, new attorneys are required to complete at least 10 New Admittee Credit-Approved (NAC-Approved) CLE credits. NAC-Approved CLE credits address Idaho practice, procedure, or ethics. Of these 10 NAC-Approved CLE credits, attorneys must complete courses specifically addressing Idaho substantive law on ethics, civil and criminal procedure, and community property.
Within 12 months following the date of admission to the Kentucky bar, each attorney must complete Kentucky’s new-lawyer program. The program is offered twice a year. The program is free to members required to take it. Other attorneys may take the program at a cost of $250.
The Maine State Bar Association’s bridging-the-gap seminar is intended for lawyers newly admitted to the Maine Bar. The seminar provides ongoing discussions on practical topics that new lawyers need to know. Attendance at the two-day seminar typically fulfills a new lawyer’s annual CLE requirement.
The Young Lawyers Division of the Mississippi Bar sponsors a program entitled Bridge the Gap: Rule 3 - New Lawyer Program. This program offers new lawyers four opportunities to get the required 12 actual hours of CLE, which includes six hours of basic skills training and six hours of ethics/professionalism.
All new Nevada attorneys are required to participate in Transitioning into Practice (TIP): A Mentor Program for Nevada Attorneys.
- assist new lawyers in acquiring the practical skills and judgement necessary to practice in a highly competent manner;
- train new lawyers on Nevada-specific rules and procedures not specifically taught in traditional learning environments;
- sharpen and enhance the practical skills necessary to compete in today’s legal environment;
- match new lawyers with more experienced lawyers for training in professionalism, ethics and civility;
- provide support, foster relationships and create networking opportunities for newly admitted attorneys; and
- provide a means for all Nevada attorneys to learn the importance of organizational mentoring, including the building of developmental networks and long-term mentoring relationships.”
The State Bar of New Mexico offers a Bridge-the-Gap Mentorship Program. The goal of this program, according to the state bar, is to “ease that transition by providing practical information regarding best practices and by pairing new attorneys with a mentor who will help introduce the new attorney to the legal community.”
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has mandated the bridge-the-gap CLE program to be a post-admission requirement for newly admitted lawyers. Newly admitted lawyers have until their first CLE compliance deadline to complete the four-hour, bridge-the-gap requirement.
According to the Rhode Island Bar Association, attorneys admitted to the Rhode Island bar on or after January 1, 2011 must complete the bridge-the-gap program. The program must be taken by the end of the first, full mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) calendar year after the attorney is admitted to the Rhode Island bar. The bridge-the-gap program is offered by the Rhode Island Bar Association. It is held as a live seminar and made available online.
Before the end of their first required reporting year, newly admitted members of the South Carolina bar must complete what the state bar association calls an “Essentials Series” course. Hours earned by attendance at an Essentials Series course will be applied to the member's first required reporting year.
All newly licensed lawyers in Texas are required to complete a four-hour professionalism course, Justice James A. Baker Guide to Ethics and Professionalism in Texas, no later than 12 months after the date of licensure.
New Utah lawyers are required to complete the 12-month New Lawyer Training Program (NLTP) mentoring term during their first year of admission to the Bar. Upon completion, new lawyers will receive 12 NLCLE hours.
Newly admitted lawyers in West Virginia are required to complete West Virginia’s bridge-the-gap program. The program requires mandatory in-person attendance at one of two seminars to be held annually. The training sessions will occur once at the State Bar Annual Meeting and a second time at a different location each calendar year. Attendance will count toward the mandatory CLE attendance requirements.
If you’re a newly minted attorney, we wish you well as you begin your career. And once you’re ready to start fulfilling your CLE requirements, we hope you’ll consider using Quimbee CLE. At Quimbee, we believe that CLE courses should be enjoyable and accessible. We bring the same fun, quality content that law students know and love Quimbee for to the CLE market. The result is CLE courses that you'll actually enjoy watching. No matter where you are—in the office, commuting to work, or relaxing at home—we have you covered. Backed by an awesome customer-support team, you can be confident that Quimbee offers the best CLE experience on the market. Find out more by visiting Quimbee’s website.