AELE’s Certified Litigation Specialist ™ program
• Certified Litigation Specialist ™ (CLS) designation for non-lawyers, or
• Litigation Professional (LP) recognition for members of the bar
To earn the designation, a person must attend the qualifying seminars in a 50-month period, and satisfy supplemental reading requirements. The designation is conferred at no additional cost to the applicant. Beginning in 2015, The Jail Legal Workshop counts as two qualifying seminars.
AELE was chartered as an educational organization in 1966 by four active or former professors – all of whom had law enforcement or prosecution experience (Note 1) AELE is a research driven, not-for-profit Illinois corporation that provides seminars and monthly publications to criminal justice and public safety professionals. AELE does not engage in partisan political activities and is not a subsidiary or component of another entity.
AELE has published legal periodicals since 1973 and has sponsored nationally acclaimed legal seminars since 1974. The cumulative attendance is more than 17,000.
AELE has an Academic Committee that sets the standards for the Certified Litigation Specialist ™ designation and for recognition as a Litigation Professional. (Note 2)
Non-lawyers can earn the Certified Litigation Specialist ™ (CLS) designation by attending different qualifying seminars within the past 50 months and familiarizing yourself with two documents provided as “resource materials”.
Lawyers can qualify for recognition as a Litigation Professional by fulfilling the same requirements.
There are no other educational, occupational or experience requirements.
What are the categories for Certified Litigation Specialist (or Litigation Professional)?
There are three CLS categories: “Police” “Campus Law Enforcement” and “Corrections” litigation. The seminars required for each of these categories are:
1. Lethal and Less Lethal Force
2. Discipline & Internal Investigations
- or -
Sudden and In-Custody Death (IPICD) -or-
Camera-Based Systems Symposium (IPICD)
1. Jail & Prisoner Legal Issues and
2. Discipline & Internal Investigations
Campus Law Enforcement Litigation
2. Lethal and Less Lethal Force
3. Discipline & Internal Investigations
Are there time limits to complete the qualifying seminars?
Yes. All qualifying seminars must be completed within a 50-month period.
The designation expires at the end of the 60th month from the date of the first qualifying seminar.
Examples: If you attended the qualifying seminars, the first of which was in March 2007, the designation expired March 31, 2012. If the first seminar was attended in Dec. 2009, the designation expired Dec. 31, 2014.
A new or renewal application must be completed and faxed to AELE. It must list at least the qualifying seminars during a 50-month period preceding the application
What are the “additional resource materials” reading requirements?
Attendants are furnished a CD-ROM at each seminar, containing articles, research studies and other documents. The Academic Committee has chosen two of these that merit close attention, and a CLS or LP recipient must indicate, in the application form, that he or she is generally familiar with the content of the selected documents. Each person’s knowledge of a subject is different, and the familiarization process could vary from a short period to several hours. The documents are (PDF format)
• Principles for Promoting Police Integrity, U.S. Dept. of Justice
(Online article discusses training and policy failures).
Because these are “resource” materials, they do not have to be read like a novel. It is sufficient to page through the articles and documents with enough attention to remember the basic contents, in general terms. There is no test or qualifying examination.
Can I qualify in more than one category?
A person may qualify in two or three categories by taking the qualifying seminars in the last 50 months. A person could have different expiration dates for each category, depending on the sequence of the subjects.
è Click here for a list of qualifying seminars for certification (including dates and places offered).
What is the purpose of the Police Use of Force Law Instructor’s Guide?
CLS designees receive a CD which they can use as a resource or to build lesson plans if they instruct on legal topics. This is an exclusive benefit, as the Guide is not available to instructors that have not earned the CLS designation. Click here for additional information.
There is no fee to receive the CLS designation (or LP recognition). The CLS application form (or LP recognition form) should be printed, completed and faxed to AELE. After an applicant’s attendance at the qualifying seminars has been verified, AELE will send a personalized, diploma-style document suitable for framing, imprinted with the person’s name, the category they have qualified in, and the dates of validity. If a person has qualified in multiple categories, the document will list the valid dates for each category. A sample CLS certificate and LP recognition document are on the AELE website.
How can I identify myself as a Certified Litigation Specialist or a Litigation Professional?
In addition to receiving the diploma-style document, Certified Litigation Specialists will be sent a “Litigation Specialist” pin.
The pin is ¾-inch diameter
You may also indicate your status on business cards, letterhead and elsewhere – while in good standing. Lawyers who are Litigation Professionals may indicate the status on their résumés, if consistent with state bar rules of professional conduct.
What are the benefits of becoming a Certified Litigation Specialist ™ or a Litigation Professional?