Meredith Cohen is Lawline’s Director of Customer Experience. She manages relationships with state regulating agencies nationwide to bring the best and most relevant content to attorneys who need it. In this monthly column, she answers customers’ most pressing CLE questions.
I’m newly admitted in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, but I’m not sure how to complete my CLE requirements. Do I need to take courses in person? Can I watch video recordings? Do I even need CLE this year? HELP!
Rust Belt Real Estate Attorney
Dear Rust Belt Real Estate Attorney,
Congratulations, you’re a lawyer! I know your new CLE requirements can be daunting. Here’s what you need to know about the requirements for PA and OH, for now and for the future:
Pennsylvania attorneys have a grace period after getting admitted that can range from 12 to 24 months, depending on your assigned compliance group (there are three!). Check with the PA CLE Board to see when your grace period ends.
Once your grace period is over, you’ll need to complete 12 CLE credits, including the 4-credit Bridge the Gap program (an in-person program offered by a number of different sponsors of PA CLE). To earn the remaining 8 credits, PA attorneys can choose from a number of formats, including:
Distance Learning (maximum 6 credits per reporting period):
- Traditional Classroom CLE
- Satellite Seminars
Your deadline to complete this depends on your compliance group:
- Group 1: April 30th
- Group 2: August 31st
- Group 3: December 31st
From then on, you’ll have to complete 12 total credits (2 Ethics) per year by the deadline of your assigned compliance group. You only need to do that Bridge the Gap program in your first compliance period, so the rest of your CLE career can feature a mix of on demand videos, Mp3, webcasts, and in-person seminars.
Ohio Newly Admitted Attorneys must complete 12 hours of New Lawyers Training (NLT) courses that have been approved by the Ohio CLE Commission and specifically designated as meeting the NLT requirement for Newly Admitted Attorneys by the end of your first biennial compliance period.
Alternatively, you can also participate in the "Lawyer to Lawyer" Mentoring Program organized by the Supreme Court of Ohio, which would grant you 9 hours of General Credit. If you choose to participate in the Mentoring program, you still need to complete 1 hour of professional conduct, 1 hour of law office management and 1 hour of client fund management.
In Ohio, you’re also put into compliance groups (like in PA), but this is dependent on your last name. Attorneys whose last names begin with a letter from A through L must complete the requirement on or before December 31st of each odd-numbered year. Attorneys whose last names begin with a letter from M through Z must complete the requirement on or before December 31st of each even-numbered year.
Once you’re not Newly Admitted in Ohio anymore, you’ll need to complete 24 credits every 2 years, including 2.5 credits in Professional Conduct topics. These include:
- Legal Ethics
- Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, or Mental Health Issues
- Access to Justice
To fulfill these 24 credits, you can complete programs that have been approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio in any of the following formats:
- On Demand Video or Audio (max of 12 credits per cycle)
- Live Interactive Webinars (max of 24 credits per cycle)
- Traditional Classroom setting (faculty in room with participants)
- Live Technology CLE in a group setting with a moderator in the room
In other words, you can watch/listen to a combination of on demand videos and Mp3 recordings for half of the requirement and watch live webcasts for the other half, or attend live webcasts or in-person seminars for the whole requirement. Whatever you choose!
Check our our CLE Requirements Pages for more information about the Pennsylvania and Ohio requirements, and use our credit tracker to stay on top of both state requirements.
Meredith Cohen, MBA
Director of Customer Experience
Have a pressing accreditation question? email@example.com!