May 28, 2020

MCLE Rules Changes

In reaction to the evolving situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, most live in-person CLE events have been cancelled across the world. In response, several states have temporarily suspended the requirements that their attorneys attend in-person CLE to fulfill their MCLE requirements or adjusted deadlines, fees, or other aspects of their rules.

States with temporary changes:

Arizona

The Supreme Court of Arizona has issued an Order extending the deadlines for both the completion of mandatory continuing legal education hours and the required affidavit of compliance, solely for the educational year 2019-2020. The deadline for completion of the necessary hours is extended through December 30, 2020; the deadline for submission of the affidavit of compliance is also extended through December 30, 2020.

California

The State Bar of California has issued an order extending the late CLE deadline, which was previously June 30, 2020, to September 30, 2020 for attorneys in Group 3 who have not yet completed their MCLE requirement. Failure to complete the requirement by September 30, and pay any outstanding license fees, will result in being enrolled in Involuntary Inactive status.

Connecticut

The Connecticut Supreme Court has suspended the MCLE Rule for 2020 (attorneys not required to obtain 12 credits per previous). No further guidance has been provided by the Rules Committee. https://jud.ct.gov/Committees/rules/Appendix_A.pdf

Delaware

The Supreme Court of Delaware issued an order regarding make-up plans for attorneys who are non-compliant for 2019. The traditional live requirement is waived. In addition, the deadlines have been extended – transcript verification is now due 4/30/2020; completion of the make-up plan is due by 5/31/2020; and reporting of completion is due by 6/15/2020. 

The Supreme Court of Delaware also issued an order waiving the live in-person attendance requirement for the two year periods ending December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2021. All 24 credit hours may now be earned with live webinar or on demand programs.

Florida

Update: CLE reporting deadlines for February, March, April, May, June and July 2020 have been extended to a new reporting deadline of August 31, 2020. This includes the Basic Skills Course Requirement.

Previously, the Board of Governors Executive Committee approved extending the reporting cycle to August 31, 2020, for anyone reporting in February, March, April and May. https://www.floridabar.org/news/releases/covid19/

Georgia

The Supreme Court of Georgia has issued an order temporarily suspending Regulation 8(e) and (15) to State Bar Rule 8-106(B) which previously limited credit earned through self-study, in-house, or distance learning CLE activities. Effective immediately, attorneys may earn all 12 of their required credits with live webinars or on demand programs. Activities must be completed on or before March 31, 2021.

The Supreme Court of Georgia had previously issued an order temporarily waiving the requirement that Georgia-licensed attorneys attend 6 hours of in-person CLE. Georgia attorneys may complete all 12 hours of their requirement online though webinars or on demand programming through March 31, 2020. The Georgia Commission on Continuing Lawyers Competency has also extended the late fee deadline to April 30, 2020 for lawyers who have not completed their 2019 CLE requirement.

Illinois

The IL Supreme Court will provide attorneys with last names beginning A-M who are in the 2018-2020 reporting period the option to secure a no-cost, three-month extension to complete their credits.

  • Attorneys who complete their credits by June 30, 2020 will report compliance at any time by July 31, 2020 at no cost.
  • For attorneys who do not complete their credits by June 30, 2020, they will report “Not Yet Complied” to the Board online at www.mcleboard.org by July 31, 2020 to secure the three-month extension at no cost.
    • No reason for the extension is needed.
    • Those attorneys then have until September 30, 2020 to complete their credits and report compliance to the Board.

https://www.illinoislawyernow.com/2020/04/attorneys-with-june-20-2020-as-their-mcle-compliance-deadline-may-choose-a-three-month-extension-at-no-cost/

Indiana

The Indiana Supreme Court has waived the credit-hour limitations on distance education courses for attorneys whose three-year Educational Period ends on December 31, 2020. Those credit-hour limitations are amended for all other attorneys whose educational periods expire on or before December 31, 2022 may obtain no more than 24 hours of distance education. https://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-other-2020-20S-ms-239.pdf

Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court has temporarily lifted the 6-hour cap on unmoderated CLE set forth in Rule 41.3(3). Iowa attorneys may now complete all 15 hours of their requirement online through webinars or on demand programming.

Kansas

The Kansas Supreme Court issued and Administrative Order modifying continuing legal education attendance and reporting deadlines, and waives the limitation on prerecorded programming through September 30, 2020. The deadline for attendance remains June 30 but there is an automatic extension without penalty through September 30 for those who cannot meet that requirement. https://www.kscourts.org/KSCourts/media/KsCourts/Orders/2020-RL-033.pdf

Kentucky

The Kentucky Supreme Court recognizes that many attorneys prefer live programs and it may be challenging to find free or low-cost non-live programming in 2020. Accordingly, to avoid uncertainty and financial hardship, they have issued an order which moves the 2019-2020 CLE compliance deadline to June 30, 2021 and moves the reporting deadline for the 2019-2020 period to August 10, 2021. https://kycourts.gov/courts/supreme/Rules_Procedures/202015.pdf

Louisiana

The Louisiana Supreme Court has issued an Order lifting the online MCLE limit from 4 hours to 12.5 hours for the 2020 compliance period ending December 31, 2020. Louisiana attorneys may now complete their entire requirement online through webinars or on demand programming. https://www.lsba.org/documents/MCLE/SCOrder2020.pdf

The Louisiana Supreme Court has agreed to suspend the 4-hour limitation on the number of self-study credits for members who are delinquent for the 2019 compliance.  Members who are currently delinquent for 2019 may now complete their CLE requirement through unlimited online continuing legal education credits. This allowance applies to those members who are currently delinquent for 2019 and who become compliant by earning and reporting credits by the May 15, 2020 deadline. https://www.lsba.org/MCLE/

Maine

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued an Emergency Order suspending the in-person requirement for Maine Bar Rule 5 CLE programs – programs on recognition and avoidance of harassment and discriminatory communication or conduct related to the practice of law.  Maine attorneys may now complete this credit with live webinars, but are still not allowed to take the credit with on demand programming.

The Maine Board of the Overseers of the Bar has also extended the 2018/2019 CLE reporting deadline to May 1, 2020. The Board also decided to forgo the imposition of late fees for the 2018/2019 reporting period.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Supreme Court has suspended the 15-hour cap on earning credits with on demand programming for Category 3 lawyers due to report August 31, 2020, for the July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020 reporting period. While all Minnesota attorneys may complete all 45 credits online with live webinars, attorneys in Category 3 due to report in 2020 may now complete all 45 credits with on demand programs for the current compliance period only.

Mississippi

The Supreme Court of Mississippi approved the waiver of the in-person requirement for MCLE so that attorneys may earn all their credits through online programs or live webinars. The Court also extended the deadline to September 30, 2020 with a reporting deadline of October 15, 2020.  This waiver and deadline extension also apply to newly licensed attorneys whose new lawyer requirement deadline is July 31, 2020. https://courts.ms.gov/appellatecourts/docket/sendPDF.php?f=700_496517.pdf&c=91465&a=N&s=2

Missouri

Pursuant to a Supreme Court of Missouri order, the reporting year for 2019-2020 will be for the 15 months between July 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020. Any extra credit hours earned during the 2019-2020 reporting year may be carried over as prescribed in Regulation 15.05.5. The reporting deadline for the 2019-2020 reporting year is now extended until Oct. 31, 2020. https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=153193

Nebraska

The Nebraska Supreme Court has suspended the live requirement for 2020. Nebraska attorneys may now complete all 10 credits online with live webinars or on demand programs. 

New Hampshire

On May 5, 2020, the NH Supreme Court issued an order regarding filing the NHMCLE Affidavit of Compliance. Active attorneys practicing in the State of New Hampshire must earn 720 minutes of continuing legal education (CLE) that meet New Hampshire Supreme Court Rule 53 criteria by June 30 of each reporting year and file the annual NHMCLE affidavit by July 1 of that reporting year. However, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an attorney who fails to file the certification of NHMCLE compliance on or before July 1, 2020, will receive an automatic extension of time to September 1, 2020, to file that certification, without imposition of a delinquency assessment or fine.  In the event that an attorney fails to comply with the extended NHMCLE requirement, a one-time delinquency fee of $300 will be assessed on September 2, 2020.  The extension of time does not apply to the date of payment of the 2020/2021 annual bar dues and court fees; nor does it apply to the date for filing the Trust Account Compliance Certification. https://www.nhbar.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/5-5-2020-order-extending-deadlines-for-MCLE-compliance-and-delinquency-fee-assessment.pdf

New Jersey

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has issued an order temporarily waiving the requirement that New Jersey-licensed attorneys attend 12 hours of in-person CLE. Until further notice from the Court, New Jersey attorneys may now complete all 24 hours of their requirement online through webinars or on demand programming.

New Mexico

The Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico has an issued an order extending the MCLE late reporting deadlines. The new deadlines are:

  • April 30, 2020: 2019 credits reported with a $100 late fee
  • May 31, 2020: 2019 credits reported with a $350 late fee
  • June 1, 2020: The list of non-compliant attorneys sent to the Supreme Court

https://www.nmbar.org/NmbarDocs/coronavirus/NMSC-20-8500-010-BarDuesMCLEDelinquency.pdf

New York

Effective March 11, 2020, the New York State CLE Board implemented the following policy change: Newly admitted attorneys (those admitted to the New York State Bar for two years or less) may participate in Skills CLE courses in the following live, nontraditional formats, where questions are allowed during the program: (a) webconference; (b) teleconference; and (c) videoconference. This change is effective through June 30, 2020, and should conditions warrant, may be extended.  For more information and the latest updates, please go to the CLE Board website at: http://ww2.nycourts.gov/doc/29251

North Dakota

Effective immediately and continuing until further notice attorneys in Reporting Group 3, who report in 2020, will be allowed to earn all or a portion of the required 45 credits through self-study. Three (3) ethics CLE hours will still be required. https://www.sband.org/news/496604/Important-News-from-the-ND-CLE-Commission.htm

Ohio

The Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education has extended the deadline for attorneys with regard to CLE Late Compliance for the 2018/2019 period, with completion now required for all hours by June 29, 2020. They have also waived the self-study cap for the 2018/2019 Late Compliance period. http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/AttySvcs/CLE/default.asp

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily waiving the six (6) hour limitation on distance learning credits for 2020 compliance deadlines. Attorneys licensed in Pennsylvania may now complete all 12 hours of their 2020 CLE requirements through webinar or on demand programming. http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Supreme/out/Order%20Entered%20-%2010439644899571598.pdf?cb=1

Pennsylvania attorneys in Group 1 with a compliance deadline of April 30, 2020 have been granted automatic extensions until August 31, 2020. http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Supreme/out/832spct-amend.pdf?cb=1

Puerto Rico

Update: The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico determined that all terms provided in the Regulations of the Continuing Legal Education Program that expire between Monday, March 16, 2020 and Sunday, May 17, 2020, will run through Monday, June 1, 2020. During this period, the PEJC will not notify notices of noncompliance against the attorneys whose period of compliance with the continuing legal education credits expired or expires on or before May 31, 2020.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an order suspending the annual CLE requirement for the 2020 compliance year. All CLE credits that would have been used to satisfy the 2020 requirement can be carried over to satisfy the CLE requirements for the 2021 reporting year.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Supreme Court waived the 8 hour cap on distance education, thus permitting attorneys to earn all or any portion of the required annual 14 hours of MCLE credit for the 2019-2020 annual reporting year (ending on February 29, 2020) through pre-approved alternatively delivered programing. The eight-hour live credit requirement for the current 2020-2021 reporting year ending on February 28, 2021 is still in place.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order allowing attorneys to use unlimited online hours to establish their compliance for the 2020 compliance year. Attorneys seeking reinstatement in 2020 are also covered by the order. https://www.cletn.com/images/Documents/OrderUnlimitedOnline_2020.pdf

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order to allow Tennessee-licensed attorneys to complete all of their required hours online for the completion of their 2019 compliance. The order allows attorney through March 31, 2020 to earn all of their credits with live webinar or on demand programming to establish their MCLE compliance for the 2019 compliance year.

Texas

Under the Twelfth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster, the Supreme Court of Texas has ordered all deadlines, whether prescribed by statute, rule, or order, that expired or would have expired between March 13, 2020, and June 1, 2020, are extended:

  1. in attorney professional disciplinary and disability proceedings; and
  2. relating to the issuance or renewal of certifications, licenses, or registrations issued by the Judicial Branch Certification Commission, or for fulfilling mandatory continuing education.

Deadlines have been extended as follows: 

  • March will have until May 31, 2020
  • April will have until June 30, 2020
  • May will have until July 31, 2020

November and December attorneys who are subject to suspension have been extended through June 30, 2020. Attorneys born in January or February will also be granted an automatic 60-day extension, which will prevent further non-compliance fees from being assessed. Any non-compliance fees currently owed will still be due at the end of the extension period. Attorneys born in January and February will have until May 31, 2020, to comply with MCLE requirements.

Utah

The Supreme Court Board of Continuing Education issued an order suspending all requirements for live in-person attendance to fulfill their MCLE requirements for Utah-licensed attorneys. Utah attorneys may now complete all 24 hours of their requirement online through webinars or on demand programming. The order is effective through June 30, 2020 and applies to attorneys who report in either 2020 or 2021.

The Supreme Court Board of Continuing Education has also extended the compliance and reporting deadline for the compliance year ending in 2020 only. Attorneys complying in June 2020 now have until September 1, 2020 to complete their required hours without paying a late compliance fee, and have until September 15, 2020 to file their Certificate of Compliance reports without paying late filing fees.

Vermont

The Vermont Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily waiving the 10-hour credit limit on self-study for the 2018-2020 reporting period. Attorneys with an upcoming deadline on June 30, 2020 may now complete all 20 hours of their requirement online through webinars or on demand programming.

https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/sites/default/files/documents/AO%2049%20-%20Declaration%20of%20Judicial%20Emergency%20and%20Changes%20to%20
Court%20Procedures%20with%20amendments%20through%203-24-20.pdf

Virginia

The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued an order extending the 2020 MCLE deadline to midnight EST December 31, 2020 (usually October 31). The required CLE hours must be reported no later than 4:45 p.m. EST February 15, 2021. https://www.vsb.org/docs/part6_sectIV_COVID_em_041420.pdf

 

West Virginia

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
has issued an order suspending the live CLE requirement through June 30, 2020. West Virginia attorneys may now complete all 24 hours of their requirement online through webinars or on demand programming.

On Thursday, April 16, 2020 the Court issued a second order extending the general CLE reporting deadline from June 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020, as well as extending the time to complete the Bridge the Gap program, which is mandatory new attorney training. Attorneys admitted between July 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019 now have a one-year extension of the original 24-month requirement for completion. The extension of the Bridge the Gap compliance deadline was due to the live course requirement and the cancellation of the April 2020 training session.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily suspending the cap on CLE credits earned with on demand programming. The order is effective through December 31, 2020. Wisconsin attorneys may now complete all 30 hours of their requirement online through webinars or on demand programming.