Well this is interesting. For as long as I’ve been a lawyer, the name ALI-ABA has been synonymous with high-quality continuing legal education. Now, after 65 years together, ALI and ABA are going their separate ways. ALI gets custody of the kids.

Here’s the announcement that went out this week from the ABA:

The American Law Institute and the American Bar Association today announced that they have agreed to end their joint arrangement to provide education for the legal profession via ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education. This change will increase flexibility as each organization continues to offer legal education programs that help lawyers navigate the rapid changes in legal developments and technology. Staff members who operate ALI-ABA will continue to work for the ALI.

Meanwhile, ALI put out its own version of the announcement. It said:

The American Law Institute has begun a new chapter in its efforts to provide education for the legal profession. Since 1947, the ALI has cooperated with the American Bar Association to offer CLE through ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education. Now the ALI will begin producing CLE separately, under its own name, as will the American Bar Association. Staff members who operated ALI-ABA will continue to work for the ALI, producing hundreds of live courses each year and offering thousands of hours of on-demand CLE.

At the helm of ALI’s new CLE division will be Nancy Mulloy-Bonn, who has been ALI-ABA’s acting executive director. All of the former ALI-ABA products — which include live courses, webcasts, telephone seminars, on-demand courses, and periodicals such as The Practical Lawyer — will continue, the announcement said. No word on whether there will be a change in the www.ali-aba.org URL.

According to the ABA announcement, the relationship started just after World War II.

The joint arrangement between the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association started in 1947, when a demand for legal refresher courses for returning World War II lawyer-veterans revealed a need to ensure the continuing education for all lawyers.  The American Bar Association asked the American Law Institute to undertake the first national program of continuing education and the two organizations formed ALI-ABA.

No doubt, these are challenging times for CLE providers — not to mention for bar associations.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.