Beginning in 1947, the American Bar Association and the American Law Institute partnered as ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education to provide continuing legal education to American attorneys. The American Law Institute Council and the American Bar Association Board of Governors both voted to dissolve the longstanding partnership this spring. Both groups will continue to provide CLE programming, but as individual entities. The ALI-ABA.org website now announces its new name as ALI CLE, and ABA CLE programs can be found at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/cle.html.
The two entities making up this long-standing purveyor of continuing legal education are both much older than their recently-ended partnership. The American Bar Association was founded on August 21, 1878, by 100 lawyers from 21 states. The American Law Institute was established in 1922, after a study found that uncertainty and complexity were the two major problems of existing American law. The ALI was incorporated in 1923, formed by prominent lawyers, judges, and law professors with the mission of improving the law and its administration.
The two groups came together in 1946, when the ABA asked the ALI to collaborate in the formation of a continuing legal education program for practicing attorneys. At this time, young lawyers were returning home from service in World War II and needed refresher courses in the law. In addition, the regulations begun with the New Deal only expanded in the war years, giving an additional impetus for providing continued legal education for all attorneys, veterans or not. In 1947 the two organizations created a "Committee on Continuing Education of the Bar of the American Law Institute Collaborating with the American Bar Association" and began work with the help of a $250,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation. By 1958, ALI-ABA was able to deliver CLE programs to 44 states, a venture that progressed with the advent of new technologies.
In the 65 years of the partnership, ALI-ABI has produced programs of study, published books and periodicals, and implemented satellite and internet methods of CLE delivery. Now with the partnership dissolved, ALI CLE has absorbed most of the intellectual content and technology of ALI-ABA, and the ABA will produce independent CLE materials and programming. With both entities poised to provide excellent continuing legal education services, American attorneys will have increased opportunity and resources for staying up to date and enhancing their professional development.
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