The U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market was valued at USD 4.85 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach USD 7.98 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 8.65%. The legal field continuously evolves, so the associated law education needs to keep pace with these factors. From the entry of technologies to the shift in law employment, several factors are working together, and predictions are shaping the future of the U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market. Technology integration (transforming the traditional delivery mode of CLE courses to distance learning (e-learning) or on-demand) has also transformed the whole industry and legal education. Integrating advanced technologies, changes or new lawsuits, and the requirement to stay updated with the changing industry landscape accelerates market growth. In the U.S., legal employers continuously seek attorneys with practical skills and experience, not just theoretical knowledge. CLE courses improve the understanding of knowledge, deliver live experiences and sessions to adopt these skills, and help deliver job opportunities for lawyers.
MARKET TRENDS & OPPORTUNITIES
Shift Towards Competency-based CLE
The increasing competition in the legal industry propels the demand for competency-based education models and interactive online CLE in the U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market. One of the primary challenges facing lawyers and legal professionals is how to remain competitive in the ever-changing legal sector. The competency-based education model offers what is required for attorneys in today's competitive world. Rather than quantify attorneys’ development by the time spent in the CLE course, the competency-based model measures their aptitude.
Attention Towards Trending Lawsuits
There is a huge development registered in the U.S. legal industry. The U.S. legal sector witnessed tremendous changes and entries of new laws. The cybersecurity field has gotten more attention recently as various organizations recognize the essential role of attorneys in protecting critical data, both their clients and their own. Currently, cybersecurity and data privacy law, AI & technology law, environmental law, cannabis law, health & telemedicine law, blockchain & cryptocurrency law, and space law are rapidly growing areas in U.S. legal practices.
Technology Integration on Continuing Legal Education
Technology has shifted from a predigital to a digital era in the legal field, opening the door for advanced tools and services in CLE deliveries and monitoring. Technologies have made CLE more accessible than ever, ensuring deep content. The U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market is rapidly transforming from traditional to advanced tools in course delivery, learning assistance, and practices. Integration of machine learning, cloud computing, and AI (Chat GPT) are some factors offering revenue growth opportunities.
Mandatory CLE Credits in the U.S.
In the U.S., the CLE credit is mandatory in almost every state but varies by state and jurisdiction. Generally, every individual attorney must complete a certain number of hours of CLE every year to maintain their license and practice law. In addition, three states do not have mandatory CLE credit requirements but still demand high CLE courses in these states for professional development in the field. CLE programs are not only essential for credit systems and maintaining a license, but they also work to update all single regulations and laws that are changed or improved per the conditions.
Continuously Rising Employment in The Legal Profession
The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics states that employment in lawyer professions is expected to increase by 4% from 2020 to 2030. From 2011 to 2020, the number of lawyers in the U.S. grew by more than 82,000 and increased by around 6.8% during the same period. The increasing number of lawyers is accelerating the demand for CLE programs. Every state of the U.S. has mandatory CLE credit, accelerating the U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market growth.
Increasing Emphasis on Diversity, Ethics, and Inclusion
In the United States, the significant offers continuing legal education courses associated with Diversity, Ethics, and Inclusion (DEI) at the current time. In 2018, most U.S. states started to mandate DEI continuing legal education components for attorneys. In the U.S., most states also advance their credit needs, answering to the legal society's increasing emphasis on diversity, ethics, and inclusion.
INSIGHTS BY DELIVERY MODE
The U.S. continuing legal education market by delivery mode is segmented into classroom training, distance learning, and other delivery modes. The classroom training segment accounted for the highest segmental market share in 2023. Classroom training is familiar with attorneys to conduct and complete CLE courses. It offers live experience and training sessions that increase demand for CLE courses and accelerate segmental growth. Further, the annual conference is one of the most popular options in the U.S. to complete CLE credits in the legal profession. The annual conference offers various classes that attorneys can choose per the requirement, where they can complete most of their hours. On the other side, distance learning is the second leading and rapidly growing segment in the U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market. The shift towards distance learning due to convenience, easy access, and reliability accelerates segmental growth.
INSIGHTS BY PROVIDERS
The educational companies providers segment holds the most significant U.S. continuing legal education market share in 2023. Educational companies continuously offer emerging and new CLE topics with several promotional and marketing strategies. In addition, offering CLE courses per the client’s requirements, convenience, and cost efficiency are accelerating the segmental growth. Most of the top CLE providers in the U.S. are educational companies, and each one offers unique, deep learning, entertaining format, and on-demand formats that make them stand out from others. Also, some educational companies offer discounts or bundles of courses that are mandatory and essential for attorneys. The best service delivery is a unique selling price (USP) for educational companies. These overall factors accelerate the segmental growth. On the other hand, other CLE providers segment, including non-profit organizations, bar associations, federal organizations, and judicial branches, also offer a wide range of CLE programs in low-cost, free-of-cost policies challenging the market growth.
The Western region dominates the U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market, accounting for over 29% in 2023. The region has more attorneys, mandatory CLE credit hours, and many developed states. Also, the mandatory CLE credit requirement is higher in most states than in other regions and states. Across the region, three major states, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, demand 45 credit hours, which is challenging for the attorneys. However, the mandatory CLE credit hours requirement led to a high demand for CLE courses in these states. Further, in Washington, Lorman Education Services has been one of the leading providers of convenient and affordable CLE programs for over 35 years. The company offers a broad range of more than 1,000 online and in-person CLE programs. Further, the Northeast region witnessed New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut, where attorneys continuously look for professional development and are willing to attend new CLE courses and mandatory CLE areas such as Ethics, diversity, inclusion, cybersecurity, data management, protection, etc. These factors accelerate the high demand for CLE courses and drive the U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market growth.
The U.S. continuing legal education (CLE) market witnessed huge competition with several law organizations, educational and publishing companies, and industry-sponsor CLE providers. Educational companies (i.e., vendors), multi-disciplinary educational institutions, standalone law schools, non-profit organizations, Bar Associations, and federal organizations are the key CLE providers creating a highly competitive market. Currently, educational companies are the leading CLE providers across the U.S. market. Some leading educational companies offering CLE programs are National Business Institute, Lawline, Lorman Education Services, CeriFi (West LegalEdcenter), ALM Global, Attorney Credits, mylawCLE, National Academy of Continuing Legal Education, and TRTCLE, Corp.
There is a significant and growing demand for quality and affordable legal and educational services across the United States. Industries are always evolving, and with unpredictable technological changes, CLE providers must stay on top of all the newest techniques. CLE participation has also continued to develop. Further, some multi-disciplinary educational institutions (law universities) in the U.S. continuing legal education market are leading CLE providers and offer more than 1,000 legal topics CLE programs. Currently, many law universities are connected with thousands of legal students, alumni, and professionals, achieving a high market penetration for CLE courses and leading to increased competition among CLE providers.