Updates on Covid-related MCLE Rule Changes
In response to COVID-19, conferences all over the world were canceled. In response, many states temporarily suspended the requirements that their attorneys attend in-person, and even live webcast, CLE. These measures will help prevent the spread of the virus and alleviate some pressures on attorneys arising from major uncertainties in the legal issues affecting their clients - not to mention increased childcare demands. Lawyers in states that have made these changes can currently fulfill their entire CLE requirement online. Below is a running list of states that have made this change, updated to include all the latest changes, including changes extending deadlines in 2021.
This post was last updated on December 27, 2021 at 4:12 p.m. Eastern.
- Alabama: (This rule change has now expired.) The Alabama State Bar MCLE Commission temporarily suspended the credit limit for online courses for the reporting year ending December 31, 2021. Alabama attorneys may take any portion of this cycle's requirement via On Demand.
- Alaska: No changes
- Arizona: (This rule change has now expired.) The Supreme Court of the State of Arizona has issued an order extending the 2019 - 2020 CLE and Reporting Deadlines to December 30, 2020 (previously June 30 and September 15 respectively). Note, the 2020 - 2021 cycle remains unchanged. For more questions, please see the official FAQ here.
- Arkansas: No changes
- California: (This rule change has now expired.) The State Bar of California has issued an order extending the late CLE deadline to September 30, 2020 (previously June 30) for attorneys in Group 3 who have not yet completed their requirement. Failure to complete the requirement by September 30, and pay any outstanding license fees, will result in being enrolled in Involuntary Inactive status.
- Colorado: No changes
- Connecticut: (This rule change has now expired.) The State of Connecticut Superior Court suspended the annual CLE requirement for the 2020 reporting year. All credits completed in 2020 can be carried over to 2021.
- Delaware: The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware has issued an order temporarily waiving the 12-hour Live credit requirement for attorneys for the reporting cycles ending on December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2022. All 24 CLE credits for those two-year reporting cycles may be satisfied by approved courses in any format including On Demand.
- Florida: The Florida Bar has extended the CLE reporting deadlines for February through November 2020 to December 31, 2020. This includes the Basic Skills Course Requirement. All other annual compliance deadlines remain the same.
- Georgia: The Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency (CCLC) permanently changed the regulation related to distance learning. Going forward, lawyers can complete all or any portion of their CLE requirement through approved distance learning CLE programs. Georgia attorneys may complete their entire requirement through self-study, in-house, or distance learning formats such as on demand courses and live webcasts.
- Hawaii: No changes
- Idaho: No changes
- Illinois: (This rule change has now expired.) The Illinois Supreme Court has issued an order extending the MCLE deadline by 90 days (to September 30) for attorneys due in 2020 (last name A-M) who are unable to complete their requirement by June 30. To receive this extension, attorneys must log in to the MCLE Board's website and report "Not Yet Completed" by July 31. No reason for the extension is required.
- Indiana: The Indiana Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily waiving the credit limitation for distance education until further notice by the court.
- Iowa: (1) Effective August 28, 2020, Iowa removed the cap on unmoderated courses. Attorneys can now complete their entire requirement via any format including On Demand and MP3. (2) Effective January 1, 2021, Iowa changed their requirement to be 15 credits per year, including at least 1 credit in Ethics, and 1 credit in Diversity & Inclusion or Attorney Wellness. Excess Ethics, Diversity & Inclusion, and Attorney Wellness can be carried over into the following reporting cycle but these credits will count towards the general requirement only. The previous requirement was 15 credits including at least 3 in Ethics every other year.
- Kansas: (This rule change is now permanent.) The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas has removed the credit limitation on pre-recorded CLE. Kansas attorneys can complete their entire requirement via On Demand CLE courses.
- Kentucky: The Supreme Court of Kentucky has issued an order extending the 2019-2020 CLE deadline to June 30, 2021 (previously June 30, 2020), and combining the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 reporting cycles. All Kentucky attorneys should complete a total of 24 credits, including 4 ethics, by June 30, 2021, and certify their compliance to the bar by August 10, 2021.
- Louisiana: The Supreme Court of Louisiana issued an order lifting the limitation for self-study credits for the 2021 reporting cycle. Louisiana attorneys can complete their CLE requirement through any self-study format such as On Demand, Audio, and Live Webcast.
- Maine: The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has issued an order temporarily waiving the in-person CLE requirement. Maine attorneys can complete the Harassment & Discrimination requirement via live webcast. In addition, the Board of Overseers of the Bar for the State of Maine has extended the reporting deadline to May 1, 2020 and will not impose any late fees for the 2018-2019 reporting period.
- Minnesota: The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order allowing Minnesota attorneys to take up to 30 credits of recorded CLE courses for cycles ending in 2021 and later. These courses must be completed in 2021 or later. Courses completed before 2020 are subject to a maximum of 15 recorded credits. Starting January 1, 2024, recorded CLE credits will be unlimited for courses completed in 2024 for reporting periods ending in 2024 or later.
- Mississippi: The Supreme Court of Mississippi issued an order waiving the in-person CLE requirement for the 2020-2021 reporting year. Attorneys, including newly admitted attorneys due to complete the program by July 31, 2021, may complete their CLE requirements via online webinars, or live, in-person programs.
- Missouri: The Supreme Court of Missouri has issued an order extending the 2020 CLE deadline to September 30, 2020 (previously June 30). The reporting deadline is extended to October 31, 2020 but MO will not assess any late fees for courses completed and reported on or before December 31, 2020.
- Montana: (This rule change has now expired.) The Supreme Court of Montana Commission of Continuing Legal Education will not assess any late fees as long as the required credits are completed and reported by May 15, 2020 (the usual deadline for completion is March 31). Montana attorneys can complete all of their credits online via a combination of live webcasts and On Demand programs.
- Nebraska: The Nebraska Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily removing the limit to distance learning courses. Attorneys can complete up to ten credits of distance learning during the 2021 calendar year.
- Nevada: No changes
- New Hampshire: (This rule change has now expired.) The Supreme Court of New Hampshire has issued an order granting attorneys an extension to their requirement for the 2020 reporting year. For any questions, please contact the NHMCLE or the New Hampshire Bar Association at NHMCLE@nhbar.org or 603-715-3222.
- New Jersey: The Supreme Court of New Jersey issued an order temporarily relaxing the 12-hour live classroom credit requirement. Until further notice from the courts, New Jersey attorneys may fulfill their entire CLE requirement through approved courses offered in alternative verifiable learning formats.
- New Mexico: (This rule change has now expired.) The Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico issued an order extending the MCLE late reporting deadlines by 30 days. The new deadlines are as follows:
April 30, 2020: 2019 credits can be reported with a $100 late fee
May 31, 2020: 2019 credits can be reported with a $350 late fee
June 1, 2020: The list of non-compliant attorney names will be sent to the Supreme Court
- New York: The New York CLE Board has issued an order temporarily allowing Newly Admitted Attorneys to complete their Skills requirement via live webcast, teleconference, and videoconference. This change is effective March 11, 2020 - June 30, 2022.
- North Carolina: No changes [Note: Although North Carolina previously had a live CLE requirement, as of January 1, 2020, that requirement was rescinded. North Carolina attorneys can complete their entire CLE requirement via On Demand programming.]
- North Dakota: (This rule change has now expired.) The North Dakota CLE Commission has suspended the credit limitation on Self-Study courses for North Dakota attorneys in Reporting Group 3 (attorneys who report in 2020). These attorneys may complete any portion of their requirement as On Demand courses. In addition, the North Dakota Supreme Court has extended Reporting Group 3's CLE completion deadline to September 1, 2020 and their reporting deadline to October 1, 2020. No extensions have been given for any other Reporting Groups.
- Ohio: The Supreme Court of Ohio has issued an order temporarily waiving the self-study CLE limitation for the 2021-2022 compliance cycle. Ohio attorneys with last names M through Z may complete their entire requirement through approved self-study courses for their December 31, 2022 deadline.
- Oklahoma: (This rule change has now expired.) The Oklahoma Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission has extended the deadline to June 30, 2020 for attorneys who are currently non-compliant on their 2019 requirement and working to make up the credits.
- Oregon: No changes
- Pennsylvania: For all compliance periods ending in 2022 and 2023, at least 6 credits must be completed via a live-online or live in-person format. The remaining 6 credits may be taken via On Demand courses. Previously, Pennsylvania lifted the distance learning caps for 2020 and 2021, allowing all credits to be completed via any approved distance learning format.
- Puerto Rico: (This rule change has now expired.) The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico extended all deadlines between March 16, 2020 and May 17, 2020 to June 1, 2020. The PEJC will not be sending any noncompliance notices if an attorney failed to do their requirement on or before May 31, 2020.
- Rhode Island: (This rule change has now expired, however, all CLE credits that would have been used to satisfy the 2020 and 2021 requirements can still be carried forward to satisfy the CLE requirements for the 2022 reporting year.) The Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an order suspending the annual CLE requirement for the 2020 and 2021 compliance years.
- South Carolina: The Supreme Court of South Carolina has issued an order waiving the credit limit for Alternative Delivery Format courses for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 reporting years. South Carolina attorneys may take any portion of this cycle's requirement via online formats such as On Demand programming. Note: there is no change to carry over restrictions.
- Tennessee: Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Tennessee Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily waiving the 8-hour Distance Learning CLE limitation for the 2022 requirements. Tennessee attorneys can now complete any portion of the requirement through approved Distance Learning until December 31, 2022. Previously, the TN Supreme Court issued similar orders waiving the distance learning CLE limitation for the 2019, 2020, and 2021 requirements.
- Texas: The State Bar of Texas has granted the following automatic extensions for their CLE requirement: 1) April compliance deadlines: 60-day extension with a final deadline of June 30th, 2) May compliance deadlines: 60-day extension with a final deadline of July 31st, 3) June compliance deadlines: 60-day extension with a final deadline of August 31st.
- Utah: (This rule change has now expired.) The Supreme Court of Utah issued an order suspending the traditional live in-person credit requirement for attorneys reporting in 2020 and 2021, allowing all required CLE to be fulfilled with online self-study via audio or video presentations, webcasts or computer interactive telephonic programs. In addition, the 2020 completion deadline has been extended to September 1, 2020, and the reporting deadline has been extended to September 15, 2020. No extension has been given for the 2021 deadline.
- Vermont: (This rule change has now expired.) 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.
- Virgin Islands: No changes
- Virginia: (This rule change has now expired.) The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued an order extending the 2020 MCLE deadline to midnight EST December 31, 2020 (usually October 31). The reporting deadline has been extended to February 15, 2021 but Virginia has granted an automatic grace period to March 15, 2021 to report courses. All reporting must be submitted by 4:45 p.m. EST on March 15, 2021.
Note: Virginia attorneys will be receiving two Form 1 End Of Year reports.
- Washington: 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.
- West Virginia: The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has issued an order temporarily waiving the 12-hour CLE format limitation for the 2020-2022 reporting cycle ending on June 30, 2022. West Virginia attorneys can complete their CLE requirement through video, audio, webcast, in-house, etc. so long as the course is approved for CLE in West Virginia.
- Wisconsin: The Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued an order temporarily increasing the on-demand CLE credit cap through 1/31/22. Attorneys with a 12/31/20 or 12/31/21 deadline, and attorneys who are working towards reinstatement, readmission, or reactivation, may now take up to 30 hours of on-demand programming to satisfy their requirement. However, the legal ethics requirement must be taken via live online programming or in-person courses.
- Wyoming: No changes
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This article was originally published on March 16, 2020.
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