As the legal profession attempts to work its way back into the office, the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to pose problems. Many law firms have pushed back their return-to-office dates, and many others have mandated vaccinations for all employees. When we do finally round the bend and commence with our “post-pandemic” way of life, lawyers will likely be expected to resume attendance at in-person CLE programming to remain in good standing with their state bars.
If the concept of attending an in-person CLE event seems a little nervewracking right now, we don’t blame you one bit. Attorneys and faculty alike want to know that they’ll be safe from harm. Thankfully, PLI, one of the oldest CLE providers around, knows how you feel, and wants to protect lawyers’ health as best they can.
About 95% of the Am Law 100 (and many others) are PLI members, and to launch a safe return for each and every one of the attorneys at these firms, PLI will be requiring proof of vaccination to attend CLE programs in person upon its reopening this fall. We believe that PLI is the first CLE provider to announce a vaccination requirement for in-person programming.
Starting on October 1, PLI will be welcoming attendees and faculty back to its conference centers in New York and San Fracisco, as well as other offsite locations. As part of its “Safe Return” program, proof of vaccination can be uploaded to the PLI website using a quick, secure tool. If people are unable to provide this proof for any reason, they will still be welcome to join CLE programs via live webcast.
Here’s what Kara O’Brien, Vice President, Programs, had to say of the PLI’s plans:
All of us at PLI have missed hosting our onsite programs and seeing our exceptional volunteer faculty, Members and customers in-person each day. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to enjoy all the benefits afforded by in-person learning starting on October 1. Our preparations, which have been thoughtfully coordinated over many months, have prioritized safety and we recognize that the safest thing we can do is ensure that everyone at our programs, attendees, faculty and PLI staff, is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of course, any faculty volunteer or program attendee who cannot, or prefers not to, submit a vaccination record for any reason, has the option to continue to present and attend remotely via live webcast on PLI.edu.
CLE will be in person again soon, and when it is, lawyers can be confident in the fact that with PLI, they’ll be surrounded by colleagues who care about the health and safety of their communities. “We can’t wait to personally welcome the legal community back,” O’Brien said. “As we’ve done throughout this unprecedented time, we will continue to evaluate and update safety procedures for our in-person programs based on developments in federal, state, and local guidance.” This is an announcement worth celebrating, and it’s cause for other CLE providers to evaluate their reopening plans and make similar moves.
(Disclosure: PLI is an Above the Law advertiser.)
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.