RULE 10. Guardian Ad Litem Continuing Legal Education

(a)      Continuing Professional Education Credit.

(1)   Unless these requirements are waived by the Chief Judge, a guardian ad litem shall attend and complete any continuing professional education events or seminars designated as mandatory by the Chief Judge. In addition, in each calendar year, a guardian ad litem must participate in a total of at least 6 credit hours of approved continuing professional education programs applicable to one or more of the issues identified as core training issues in Rule 2(b)(2)(B). At least one credit hour shall be primarily concerned with ethics and professionalism education. Qualifying professionalism education topics include professional responsibility as a guardian ad litem; legal ethics related to guardian ad litem work; conflicts of interest; diversity awareness in the legal profession; confidentiality of guardian ad litem records in Title 18-A, Title 19-A, and/or Title 22 cases; communication with parents involved in Title 18-A, Title 19-A, and/or Title 22 cases and their children; and complaint avoidance topics such as file management and billing practices. If a guardian ad litem is subject to this rule for more than 3 months of a calendar year but for less than the entire year, the number of credits required for that year shall be prorated according to the number of full months of the year in which the guardian ad litem is subject to this rule.
(2)   A guardian ad litem who completes more than 6 credit hours in a calendar year may carry forward up to 5 credit hours to satisfy the requirement of the following year, provided that the professional responsibility requirement is satisfied for each calendar year.
(3)   The requirement of Rule 10(a)(1) may be met only by teaching (as provided in Rule 10(a)(5)), attending courses, or completing any continuing professional education activity entitled to credit as provided in Rules 10(c) and 10(d).
(4)   Except as provided in Rule 10(a)(5), credit is earned for the time of actual participation in an approved course or activity.
(5)   A guardian ad litem subject to this Rule who makes a presentation in an approved course or activity not offered for academic credit by the sponsoring institution will earn two hours of continuing professional education credit for every 30 minutes of actual presentation at the approved course or activity if the guardian ad litem has prepared substantial written materials as defined by the Review Board to accompany the presentation. If substantial written materials have not been prepared, the guardian ad litem will earn one hour of continuing professional education credit for every 30 minutes of actual presentation. A guardian ad litem who teaches a regularly scheduled guardian-ad-litem-related course offered for academic credit at an accredited post secondary educational institution will earn six hours of continuing professional education credit under this Rule for every hour of academic credit awarded by the institution for the course. A guardian ad litem who assists or participates in such a regularly scheduled course will earn one hour of continuing professional education credit for every hour of actual participation, up to a maximum of six hours.

(b)      Reporting Continuing Professional Education Credit.

(1)   Included with the registration documents required by Rule 8, a guardian ad litem subject to this Rule shall annually submit a report to the Review Board providing the course title, date, location, sponsor, and number of credit hours of all courses or other activities taken for credit pursuant to Rule 10(a) during the preceding calendar year, or carried over from a prior year. If a reported course or other activity has not previously been approved in accordance with Rule 10(c), the guardian ad litem shall also submit the information required by Rule 10(d) to support a request for such approval.
(2)   At any time, the Review Board may require a guardian ad litem to provide documentation supporting any information reported in accordance with Rule 10(b)(1).

(c)      Courses and Other Activities Entitled to Credit.

(1)   The Review Board shall maintain a list of approved sponsors of professional education programs.
(2)   Upon payment of the requisite fees in accordance with Rule 10(d), all courses or other continuing professional education activities entitled to credit for purposes of Rule 10(a) must be reviewed and approved by the Review Board in accordance with Rule 10(d).
(3)   The Review Board’s determination shall be final.

(d)      Approval Procedure.

(1)    Sponsor Approval. A sponsor may be approved by the Review Board upon payment of the requisite fees and submission of evidence establishing to the satisfaction of the Review Board
         (A)    That the sponsor has been approved or accredited by a guardian ad litem continuing professional education accrediting authority established by court rule or statute in another state; or
         (B)    That, during the immediately preceding three years, the sponsor has sponsored at least six separate courses that comply with the requirements for individual course approval under Rule 10(d)(2).
         The Review Board may at any time review the status of a sponsor or specific courses offered by a sponsor and may revoke approval if the status has changed or the courses offered by the sponsor do not comply with the requirements of Rule 10(c) and 10(d). Requests for approval shall be submitted on a form prescribed by the Review Board, supplemented by such supporting documentation as would assist the Review Board in determining whether the sponsor meets the requirements of this Rule.
(2)   Individual Course Approval. The Review Board may approve individual courses for credit under this rule upon written application from a non-approved sponsor or the submission of supporting documentation from an approved sponsor, together with the requisite fee.

         An attendee may file such a request together with the requisite fee at any time up to and including the filing of the annual report under Rule 10(b) for the year for which credit is sought for the course. The Review Board shall grant the request if the Review Board is satisfied that the course meets the following criteria:

         (A)    The course or activity must contribute directly to the professional competence or skills of guardians ad litem, or to their education with respect to their professional or ethical obligations and, where possible, should include a professionalism education component.
         (B)    Course leaders or lecturers and the authors of written materials must be persons sufficiently competent to accomplish the educational goals of the course.
         The Review Board may, prior to granting approval, request any approved sponsor, non-approved sponsor, or attendee to submit further information concerning a course, including the brochure describing the course, a description of the method or manner of presentation of course materials, a statement as to the actual date and place of presentation and the number of persons in attendance, and a copy of the course materials.


Reporter’s Notes

Rule 10 establishes and describes guardian ad litem continuing professional education requirements. It is based on and largely consistent with procedural requirements in Maine Bar Rule 5.


Advisory Notes – September 2016

Rule 10(a)(3) is amended to eliminate the provision that no more than one half of the credit hours required in any reporting period may be earned through in-house courses, self-study, or a combination thereof.

Rule 10(c)(1) is amended to eliminate the following language: “All publicly available courses or other publicly available continuing professional education activities offered by approved sponsors are deemed automatically approved and entitled to credit upon payment of the requisite fees in accordance with Rule 10(d).”

Rule 10(c)(2) is amended to provide that, upon payment of the requisite fees in accordance with Rule 10(d), all publicly available courses or other continuing professional education activities are entitled to credit, without regard to whether they were “sponsored or presented by any other individual or organization,” and to require that the activity be reviewed and approved by the Review Board.

Rule 10(c)(3) is amended to eliminate the following language: “The Review Board shall delegate all approval and other functions under this Rule to a designated staff person of the Board of Overseers of the Bar. Upon request, the Review Board shall review any decisions denying approval of any sponsor, individual course, or other continuing professional education activity.” Rule 10(c)(3) is further amended to eliminate reference to “any such issue” and simply provide that the Review Board’s determination shall be final.