According to Carolyn Elefant, the answer is simple: money. Lawyers don’t want to spend any, so CLE providers can’t afford to, either. But mandatory CLE requirements mean CLE providers need to come up with a lot of seminars. That means the majority of people who present are mostly (1) selling something, or (2) unprepared, because their preparation time is uncompensated.

As a result, we get tripe like the iPad for lawyers seminars cropping up around the country. Or the parade of self-interested consultants I regularly see at seminars and conferences.

If mandatory CLE is making quality CLE harder to find, do we really need it? Elefant thinks not:

Good lawyers do what it takes to stay current and learn new skills to serve clients without need of a requirement, while lawyers who simply don’t care will spend a CLE session returning email or playing games on their smart phones. But if bars are going to have a CLE requirement, it should be meaningful or they shouldn’t have it at all.