By: Editorial Staff, Date: May 12th, 2022

Live Blog: Updated Thursday, May 12, 2022

To cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, what changes are states making to Continuing Legal Education and Continuing Professional Education (CLE/CPE) requirements?

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Continuing Legal Education: Modifications

Due to the shifting COVID-19 situation, many states have modified their policies related to fulfilling mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) credits. And as the pandemic enters its third year, most states have issued rule changes to stay ahead of COVID-19 related issues and other disruptions. Below are the latest Continuing Education Requirements per state.

  • In Delaware, The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware has issued an order stating that the requirement, which is at least 12 of the 24 CLE credit hours must be earned by attending in-person, live CLE approved courses is waived for the two-year period ending December 31, 2022. All 24 CLE credit hours for those two-year periods may be satisfied by approved courses that do not require an in-person, live appearance.
  • Georgia Regulation related to distance learning was permanently changed by The Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency (CCLC) effective October 22, 2021. Georgia licensed attorneys can now complete all or any portion of their CLE requirement through approved distance learning CLE programs.
  • In Utah, the Board of Continuing Legal Education was authorized by the Supreme Court of Utah to suspend the live, in-person credit requirement. All required CLE can be fulfilled with online self-study audio or video presentations, webcasts or computer interactive telephonic programs for the compliance reporting period ending June 30, 2022.
  • The Supreme Court of Indiana orders that the credit-hour limitations on distance education courses set forth in Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 28, Sections 3(a) and 3(b), and Rule 29, Section 3(a) are hereby waived for all attorneys. Those credit-hour limitations are amended for all other attorneys whose educational periods expire on or before December 31, 2022. They may obtain no more than 24 hours of distance education.
  • In order to protect the public and aid the legal profession at this time, The Iowa Supreme Court has issued an order allowing attorneys to complete all 15 hours of their requirement online through webinars or on-demand programming effective March 16, 2020.
  • The Kansas Supreme Court issued an Administrative order that the credit-hour limitation on prerecorded programming is waived for the 2021-2022 compliance period. Prerecorded programs must still meet the guidelines required for accreditation. Effective from the date this order is issued until June 30, 2022, provider applications for prerecorded programming over six hours will be considered.
  • The Supreme Court of Louisiana issued an order that for mandatory continuing legal education compliance year 2022, the limitation on “self-study” credits (as defined in Rule 3(d) of Supreme Court Rule XXX) was increased to six hours (6) hours annually. Additionally, excess hours earned in the 2019 compliance year can be carried forward to compliance year 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023. 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 one half the total number of credits required to complete the certification requirements for the approved fields of law set forth in the Louisiana State Bar Association Plan of Legal action.
  • In Maine, effective March 13, 2020, and until further notice, any in-person participation requirements for continuing legal education, including but not limited to the requirement in M. Bar. R. 5(c)(3), are hereby suspended and participation may be by an electronic medium.
  • Due to the continued issues concerning Covid-19, the Mississippi Supreme Court has ordered that the limit on CLE credit earned though online programs has been temporarily removed. For the 2021-2022 CLE reporting year, attorneys may complete their CLE obligations through online, webinars or live, in-person programs. This provision includes newly admitted lawyers who are to complete the program by July 31, 2022.  These attorneys may also complete this program through online, webinars or live, in-person programs.
  • The Nebraska Supreme Court has approved waiving the requirements for in-person continuing legal education for 2021 to allow attorneys to obtain all required education in a computer-based and remote fashion. The 5-hour cap on distance-based courses is hereby lifted for the 2021 calendar year. Attorneys may submit up to 10 credits of distance learning to satisfy the annual requirement.
  • The Supreme Court of New York Board on Continuing Legal Education has issued an order that effective March 11, 2020 through June 30, 2022, newly admitted attorneys may participate in Skills CLE courses by either individual participation (self-study) or group participation, in the following live, nontraditional formats, where questions are allowed during the program: web conference, teleconference, and videoconference.
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Commission on Continuing Legal Education in Ohio has waived self-study caps for judges, magistrates, and attorneys with last names beginning with M through Z for the 2021-2022 compliance period ending December 31, 2022. The Commission on Continuing Legal Education had previously waived self-study caps for judges, magistrates, and attorneys with last names beginning with A through L for the 2020-2021 compliance period ending December 31, 2021. All CLE requirements may be completed through approved self-study courses, including live interactive webinars, for both the compliance periods ending December 31, 2021, and December 31, 2022.
  • In Pennsylvania, attorneys may complete up to twelve (12) credits of distance learning per compliance period. Six (6) credits must be live-online and up to six (6) credits may be completed through pre-recorded online courses. For the 2022 Compliance Period (9/1/21 – 8/31/22) and 2023 Compliance Period (9/1/22 – 8/31/23), only credits through live-online courses taken during this period may carry forward (up to two compliance periods).

Temporary Distance Learning Carry Over Exception: The CLE Board has adopted a temporary policy to allow distance-learning credits taken during the 2020-2022 compliance periods to carry forward as traditional credit. Distance learning credits taken during 2020-2022 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.

  • In Rhode Island, the Supreme Court issued an order relieving attorneys of the obligation to complete continuing legal education credits for the 2021 reporting year. Credits that were earned between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021 will be applied to the 2022 MCLE reporting year. And all credits submitted in the MCLE Portal for the 2021 reporting year by June 30, 2021 will automatically be moved to the 2022 MCLE reporting year.
  • With the recent Supreme Court order, all South Carolina attorneys are allowed to earn all the CLE credit they are required to obtain for the 2021-2022 annual reporting year through online or telephonic programs effective March 31, 2021.
  • The Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order that through December 31, 2022, lawyers may earn all or any portion of the mandatory continuing legal education hours for 2022, or for purposes of seeking reactivation or reinstatement in 2022, through approved Distance Learning completed through December 31, 2021.
  • West Virginiahas 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.

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