By: Editorial Staff, Date: January 20th, 2021
Live Blog: Updated Monday, June 29. 2020
To cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, what changes are states making to Continuing Legal Education and Continuing Professional Education (CLE/CPE) requirements?
Continuing Legal Education: Modifications
With social distancing understood as critical in containment efforts, New Jersey’s Supreme Court has suspended all live classroom credit requirements, enabling attorneys to complete all CLE through approved online courses.
In these additional states, lawyers are now allowed to complete all CLE compliance online as follows:
- In Arizona, an order has been issued by the Arizona Supreme Court that extends the deadline for the 2019-2020 reporting period. Previously, it’s June 30 and September 15, but it is now moved to December 30, 2020. Please note that the 2021 reporting remains.
- The California State Bar has issued an order extending the CLE deadline from June 30 to September 30, 2020 for Group 3 attorneys. If the lawyers failed to complete the requirements by this amended deadline and did not pay any outstanding license fees, they will be enrolled in Involuntary Inactive status.
- In Delaware, the requirement that at least 12 of the 24 CLE credit hours must be earned by attending in-person, live CLE-approved courses, has been waived for the periods ending December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2021. All 24 CLE credit hours may be satisfied by approved courses that do not require an in-person, live appearance.
- In Connecticut, the suspension of the MCLE requirement has been extended for the calendar year 2020. Furthermore, the judges ordered that all CLE credits taken in 2020 shall apply in full towards an attorney’s or authorized house counsel’s 2021 requirement, even if the amount exceeds the two-hour carryover cap provided for in Section 2-27A(c) (5).
- Florida attorneys have been granted an extension to their CLE reporting deadlines for February, March, April, and May 2020 to August 31, 2020. All other deadlines remain unchanged as per the Florida Bar.
- Georgia has again waived its required live CLE hours until the grace period of March 31, 2022. Lawyers may earn all or a portion of the required 12 hours for 2021 through self-study, in-house, or distance-learning continuing legal education activities.
- The Supreme Court of Utah has issued an updated order suspending all requirements for live in-person CLE attendance for attorneys reporting in 2020 and 2021. In addition, the 2020 compliance deadline was extended to September 1, 2020, and the reporting deadline was extended to September 15, 2020.
- For those licensed in Indiana, the limitation for distance education credits has been temporarily lifted, as per the Supreme Court of Indiana. For those with a reporting deadline of December 31, 2020, all credits may be completed online. Should your deadline fall on December 31, 2022, up to 24 credits may be completed online.
- The Iowa Supreme Court has announced that credit limitation for unmoderated courses has been waived temporarily. On-Demand courses may be used to complete any portion of their requirement until further notice from the Iowa Supreme Court.
- The Illinois Supreme Court has issued an order extending your MCLE deadline to September 30 (90 days) for those with credits due in 2020 (Those with the last name A-M). You must seek this extension using the MCLE Board website if you are unable to complete your requirement by the original deadline of June 30, 2020 and report “Not Yet Completed” by July 31. You will not have to give any additional information.
- The state of Kansas has temporarily waived the credit hour restriction on pre-recorded programming for the compliance year 2021 to 2022, which will last through June 30, 2022.
- The Kentucky Supreme Court has issued an order resulting in attorneys now being able to complete a total of 24 credits (including your 4 required ethics credits) by June 30, 2021 and to certify to the bar August 10, 2021.
- For attorneys based in Louisiana, a temporary order has been issued by the Louisiana Bar Association, lifting the limit for online CLE (normally 4) to 12.5 hours for the 2020 compliance period ending December 31, 2020. Additionally, excess hours earned in the 2019 compliance year can be carried forward to the compliance year 2020, 2021, or 2022. For mandatory continuing legal education compliance year 2021, the limitation on “self-study” credits (as defined in Rule 3(d) of Supreme Court Rule XXX) was increased to a maximum of 18 hours for purposes of completing the certification requirements for the approved fields of law.
- The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has issued an order suspending any in-person participation requirements for continuing legal education, including but not limited to the requirement in M. Bar. R. 5(c)(3). Participation may be by an electronic medium.
- Minnesota has issued a temporary order via their Supreme Court that has waived credit limitation for on-demand courses temporarily. Category 3 attorneys are due to report their complete requirements by August 31, 2020, via the On-Demand delivery method. 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.
- Attorneys in Missouri have had their June 30, 2020, CLE deadline extended to September 30, 2020. There is a reporting deadline extension to October 30, 2020, according to an order issued by the Missouri Supreme Court. Late fees for courses completed on or before December 31, 2020, will not be assessed.
- The Supreme Court of Mississippi has issued an order that has waived the in-person CLE requirement for the 2019-20 reporting year. Additionally, the completion deadline has been extended to September 30, 2020, with the reporting deadline extended to October 15, 2020. Should you be unable to comply with these temporary amendments, attorneys may seek a hardship exemption and/or extension from the commission.
- Montana Supreme Court has advised the Commission on CLE to not assess late fees as long as the required credits are completed and reported by May 15, 2020 (an extension from the original deadline of March 31, 2020).
- In Nebraska, the limit for distance learning courses for all CLE requirements has been temporarily removed. This would mean that attorneys can complete up to 10 credits of silence learning that would be due on or before 2021 (including the 2020 requirement as per the order issued by the Nebraska Supreme Court).
- North Dakota CLE Commission has suspended the credit limitations on self-study courses for those in Reporting Group 3. These attorneys may complete any portion of their requirements via on-demand courses.
- New York CLE Board has temporarily allowed Newly Admitted Attorneys to complete their live requirement via webcast, video conference, or teleconference effective June 30, 2020. This rule has been extended and is in effect until December 31, 2021.
- For attorneys in New Mexico, an extension to late fee reporting deadlines has been granted by the Supreme Court of New Mexico. The 30-day extension means the following: (1) For those reporting by April 30, 2020, your 2019 credits may be reported subject to a $100 late fee. (2) There would be a $350 late fee for your 2019 credits if you are reporting by May 31, 2020. (3) Should you report beyond June 1, 2020. non-compliant attorneys will have their names sent to the Supreme Court.
- The Ohio Commission on CLE has waived the self-study caps for judges, attorneys, and magistrates with last names starting with A to L for the 2020-2021 compliance period until December 31, 2021. All CLE requirements may be completed via approved self-study courses, which include live interactive webinars, for both the compliance periods ending December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
- The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted a temporary policy to recognize live online programming by accredited distance learning providers as live (non-capped) credit towards lawyers’ CLE requirements. This policy expands the definition for live learning to include in-person, non-virtual programs, as well as virtual, synchronous programming. Credits earned through pre-recorded and certain on-demand formats will remain subject to the six-hour cap.
Temporary Distance Learning Carry Over Exception: The CLE Board has adopted a temporary policy to allow distance-learning credits taken during the 2020-2021 compliance periods to carry forward as traditional credit. Distance learning credits taken during 2020-2021 compliance periods in excess of the twelve (12) hours will be treated as traditional credit and carry over per Rule 108 (d) relating to carry over credits.
- With the recent Supreme Court order, all South Carolina attorneys may complete their credit requirement (14 hours) via online or telephonic programs for the 2019/2020 reporting period (ending April 15, 2020).
- Tennessee has allowed its lawyers to earn all or any portion of the required continuing legal education hours for 2021, or for purposes of seeking reactivation or reinstatement in 2021, through approved Distance Learning completed through December 31, 2021.
- The State Bar of Texas has granted automatic extensions for the following: (1) Attorneys with missed and February 2020 deadlines have been granted a sixty (60) day extension to January to prevent the assessment of further fees. (2) Those with March, April, and May 2020 deadlines have been granted a sixty (60) day extension. (3) Those attorneys that are subject to suspension related to failure to comply with MCLE requirements in November and December 2019 have been granted a one-month extension.
- The Vermont Supreme Court has issued new MCLE rules that lifted the format limitations/requirements for the 2019-2021 reporting cycle and beyond. Per A.O. 49, for the license renewal period ending June 30, 2021, the following MCLE provisions are suspended for the 2019-2021 reporting period: (1) the 6-hour limit on the number of hours for programs delivered as Non-Moderated Programming Without Interactivity; (2) the 12-hour minimum number of hours for programs delivered as either Moderated Programming or Non-Moderated Programming With Interactivity as a Key Component; and (3) the limits on the number of hours that can be claimed under all sections of Rule 6.
- The Supreme Court of Virginia has extended its 2020 MCLE completion deadline from October 31 to midnight EST, December 31, 2020. Your CLE hours need to be reported no later than 4:45 p.m. EST, February 15, 2021.
- West Virginia has issued an order that allows attorneys to earn all or any portion of the required 24 CLE credits using video, audio, correspondence, telephone seminars, computer-based training courses, and in-house instruction, effective January 28, 2021. This temporary exemption is only valid for the 2020-2022 reporting year, which ends on June 30, 2022.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court has released an order allowing attorneys to earn up to 30 continuing legal education (CLE) credits from on-demand programs until Jan. 31, 2022, for the continuing legal education reporting period ending December 31, 2021 (odd-year reporters).