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. New York’s Continuing Legal Education Board is allowing new attorneys to do their live skills education by video, live webcasts, or teleconferences, through June 30.
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 the 2021 reporting remains.
- California State Bar recently issued an order that extends the CLE deadline from June 30 to September 30, 2020, for Group 3 attorneys. Failure to complete the requirements by this amended deadline and to pay any outstanding license fees will result in being enrolled in Involuntary Inactive.
- In Delaware, there has been a temporary ruling to waive the live requirement for those that have not yet completed their 2019 requirement. However, there are some conditions. First, you must verify both your transcript and plan to make up your shortfall by April 30, 2020. Your plan must be completed by May 31, 2020, and finally, completion must be reported by June 15, 2020.
- For attorneys in Connecticut, the annual CLE requirement has been suspended until further notice as per an order issued by the State of Connecticut Superior Court.
- For Florida, attorneys have been granted an extension to CLE reporting deadlines for February, March, April, and May 2020 to August 31, 2020. All other deadlines remain unchanged per the Florida Bar.
- Georgia has waived its required live CLE hours through March 31, permitting Georgia attorneys to complete all 12 MCLE hours online.
- Tennessee has waived its 8-hour distance learning limit for the 2019 CLE requirements through March 31.
- Utah has suspended live CLE requirements through June 30, enabling attorneys to take CLE courses online.
- Same for West Virginia, whose lawyers may attend online CLE courses, through June 30.
- For those licensed in Indiana, the limitation for distance education credits has been temporarily lifted, per the Supreme Court of Indiana. For those with a reporting deadline of December 31, 2020, all credits can be completed online. Should your deadline fall on December 31, 2022, up to 24 credits can be completed online.
- 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 and report “Not Yet Completed” by July 31. You will not have to give any additional information.
- In Kansas, an automatic extension has been granted for the 2019-2020 CLE and reporting deadlines. The limit on pre-recorded CLE courses for this period has also been lifted, meaning your entire requirement for this period can now be completed using this method. The new deadline for those who were unable to complete their requirement by June 30, 2020, is September 30, 2020, as per the order issued by the Supreme Court of Kansas.
- The KentuckySupreme 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, 2021and 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.
- For Maine, an order from the Supreme Court has temporarily waived their live in-person requirement and an extension has been granted by the Board of Overseers to May 1, 2020 (with late fees not being imposed for the 2018-19 reporting period).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- MontanaSupreme 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, videoconference, or teleconference effective June 30, 2020.
- 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 can 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 CLEhas waived the self-study limit for the 2018-2019 reporting period (late reporting). This deadline has been extended to June 30, 2020, meaning attorneys can now meet this requirement using on-demand webcasts.
- The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has issued an order to extend its CLE deadline for Compliance Group 1 to August 31, 2020 (other compliance groups remain unchanged).
- 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 waived its distance learning limitation for CLE courses (8 hours) for their 2019 requirement, meaning any portion of this requirement can now be completed online (Tennessee Supreme Court).
- The State Bar of Texas has granted automatic extensions for the following: (1) Attorneys with missed January and February 2020 deadlines have been granted a sixty (60) day extension 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.
- For those attorneys in Utah, requirements for in-person CLE credits have been suspended until June 30, 2020, If that is your reporting deadline, you can complete the requirement via webcasts or other self-study programs (Utah CLE Board).
- For attorneys practicing in Vermont, the Supreme Court has ordered to temporarily lift the 10-hour limit for self-study. CLE for the 2018-2020 reporting period and if your reporting deadline is June 30, 2020, the entire requirement can be completed via self-study.
- The Supreme Court of Virginia announced in a recent order that the 2020 MCLE deadline has been extended from October 31 to midnight (EST) on December 30, 2020. Required CLE hours must be reported no later than 4:45 pm (EST) on February 15, 2021.
- Attorneys in West Virginia can now complete their full CLE requirements via webcast, audio, video, telephone seminars, in-house instruction, and other computer-based education. The CLE Commission advised in an order issued recently.
- Wisconsin has issued an order that increases the number of On-Demand credits an attorney can take through December 31, 2020. Attorneys working on a deficit from their 2019 requirement and those working on their 2020 deadline can take 30 hours of on-demand programming. The Legal Ethics requirement will need to be taken via a live online program or an in-person course.
Continuing Professional Education Modifications
The following states, in light of COVID-19 dangers and state government restrictions on in-person meetings, currently allow CPE format flexibility:
Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Maine; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; and Wyoming.
Your certificate of completion, for course work done under modified rules, will carry a COVID-19 notation. Contact your state board for further information.
Online Professional Education Rule Modifications: A Developing Situation
The above information is current as of mid-March; this is a developing situation. If your state doesn’t appear above, stay tuned—or contact the state board directly.
The Knowledge Group wishes you good health and strength in these jarring times.