Comments on Colorado Lawyer, Mandatory CLE Requirement, December 2020, page 4
Although I am elder exempt from CLE, I still feel obliged to comment on the recent article proposal. The article promotes a mandatory CLE requirement for racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, with the catchy acronyms of "REDI" or a shortened "EDI." The number of hours is not specified. The purposes of CLE, according to the website, are "to promote competence and professionalism and to remain current on the law in our rapidly changing society." The proposal doesn't promote competence or touch upon current law. That only leaves professionalism, which is defined, at great length, in the Rules of Professional Conduct. Those are the duties and responsibilities that are generally referred to as ethics. We already have mandatory CLE for ethics, and there is no pretense in the proposal that it relates to the rules. Indeed, a headline in the proposal is "Join the EDI Movement," a slogan reserved for political campaigns or social protest. If EDI training, which may be commonly referred to as cultural reeducation or social engineering, is deemed suitable for CLE, the Board of Continuing Legal Education should be prepared for pleas from various other groups that deem themselves under appreciated and want the pulpit.
The proposal envisions training us in "topics related to gender, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, as well as anti-racism and elimination of bias." Implicit bias (perhaps a pejorative term for simple intuition) is mentioned in the article. We will be taught that hidden and unconscious biases cause us to act in discriminatory ways toward others, even though we do not consciously intend to do so. We will certainly hear about critical race theory: that the law and legal institutions are racist and that race is a construct of white people to keep everyone else broke and powerless. I don't accept these theories.
EDI training and the theories propelling it are highly controversial. Almost every lawyer would agree that the ethical responsibilities of the Rules of Professional Conduct are properly stated and should be followed, but I'll wager that many lawyers would think EDI is a load of bricks.
Should the theories be sound, there is no evidence that mandatory EDI training...