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:
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.
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.
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
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.
Update: CLE reporting deadlines for February through November 2020 have been extended to a new reporting deadline of December 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, May, June, and July.
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 has extended the waiver of the 6-hour in-person requirement through May 31, 2021. They have also extended the automatic grace period for compliance to May 31, 2021. The new order reads, in part:
“Effective immediately, and continuing through May 31, 2021, lawyers may earn all or any portion of the required twelve hours through self-study, in-house, or distance-learning continuing legal education activities under Regulations 8 (e) and (15), so long as those activities otherwise satisfy the requirements of those Regulations. This temporary, partial suspension of Regulations 8 (e) and (15) shall apply to continuing legal education activities completed on or before the extended grace period of May 31, 2021.”
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.
The Indiana Supreme Court has waived the credit-hour limitations on distance education courses until further notice by the Court. https://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-other-2020-20S-ms-239.pdf
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.
The Kansas Supreme Court issued and Administrative Order modifying continuing legal education attendance and reporting deadlines, and waives the limitation on prerecorded programming for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 reporting periods. 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-098.pdf?ext=.pdf
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, combing the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 reporting cycles. All Kentucky attorneys must complete a total of 24 credits, including 4 ethics, by June 30, 2021 and certify their compliance by August 10, 2021. https://kycourts.gov/courts/supreme/Rules_Procedures/202015.pdf
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/
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.
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.
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
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.
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 due on or before January 20, 2021. This includes the 2020 requirement.
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
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.
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
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 January 31, 2021. For more information and the latest updates, please go to the CLE Board website at: http://ww2.nycourts.gov/doc/29251
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. In addition, the North Dakota Supreme Court has extended Reporting Group 3’s completion deadline to September 1, 2020 and their reporting deadline to October 1, 2020. No extensions have been given for any other Reporting Groups. https://www.sband.org/news/496604/Important-News-from-the-ND-CLE-Commission.htm
The Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education has waived the self-study caps for attorneys and judges with the last names beginning with M-Z to complete the CLE requirements for the 2019-2020 compliance period ending December 31, 2020. Accordingly, attorneys and judges may complete all CLE requirements through approved self-study courses, including live interactive webinars and on demand programs for the compliance period ending December 31, 2020.
The Supreme Court of Ohio has issued an order temporarily waiving the self-study CLE limitation for the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 compliance cycles. . https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2020/2020-Ohio-4946.pdf
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.
Effective January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, Live Webinars will be considered live (non-capped) credits. Group 1 and 2 attorneys are still limited for distance learning courses completed after their 2020 deadline and before January 1, 2021. However, they can complete live webinars after their 2020 deadline and before December 31, 2021 for the 2022 reporting cycle.
Pennsylvania attorneys in Group 1 with a compliance deadline of April 30, 2020 have been granted automatic extensions until August 31, 2020. All other compliance deadlines remain the same.
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.
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.
The South Carolina Appellate Court has waived the restriction that no more than eight credit hours of CLE via online or telephonic course may be earned for the current annual reporting year.
Accordingly, lawyers and judges may earn all or any portion of the CLE credit they are required to obtain for the 2020-2021 annual reporting year (March 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021) through online webinars or on demand programs.
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.
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.
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.
Update: The State Bar of Texas has granted the following automatic extensions for their CLE requirement:
- August compliance deadlines with 90-day extension to November 30th
- September compliance deadlines with 90-day extension to December 31st
- October compliance deadlines with 60-day extension to December 31st
November compliance deadlines with 60-day extension to January 31st.
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.
The Vermont Supreme Court has issued an order lifting all format limitations/requirements for the 2019-2021 reporting period. Vermont attorneys who are due on June 30, 2021 can complete their entire requirement through any combination of Moderated Programming (e.g. Live Webcasts), Non-Moderated Programming With Interactivity as a Key Component (e.g. On Demand or Audio courses), or Non-Moderated Programming Without Interactivity. The credit limitation for activities claimed under Rule 6 (teaching, writing, mentoring, etc.) has also been lifted for the 2019-2021 reporting period. Previously Vermont issued an order waiving the self-study CLE limitation for the 2018-2020 reporting period only. View the order.
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
The Supreme Court of Washington issued an order extending the 2018-2020 reporting period for Group 2. Attorneys that are in this group must complete their full requirement on or before December 31, 2021 and certify their completion by February 1, 2022. The following reporting period for Group 2 attorneys has been shortened to 2022-2023. Attorneys in Group 2 may carry over up to 30 total credits including 4 Ethics into the 2022-2023 reporting period from the 2018-2021 cycle. https://www.wsba.org/docs/default-source/licensing/mcle/order-extending-mcle-reporting-deadline.pdf?sfvrsn=cf7209f1_0
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.
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.