Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pennsylvania MCLE: April 30 Deadline for Compliance Group 1

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Pennsylvania attorneys must complete 12 PA CLE credit hours every annual compliance period to fulfill the Pennsylvania minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirement.  As part of the 12 unit MCLE requirement, Pennsylvania attorneys must complete at least 1 hour of legal ethics, professionalism or substance abuse.  Pennsylvania attorneys may complete 4 credit hours through online CLE courses each compliance period.

The public properly expects that lawyers, in the practice of law, will maintain certain standards of professional competence and ethical behavior. The requirement for continuing legal education was established to ensure that, throughout their careers, lawyers admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania remain current regarding the law and maintain the requisite knowledge and skill necessary to fulfill their professional responsibilities.[1]

Pennsylvania has three separate MCLE compliance groups.  Each Pennsylvania attorney is permanently assigned to one of the three compliance groups.  Once a Pennsylvania attorney is assigned to a compliance group, the compliance group will never change.  You will always remain in the same Compliance Group – even if your last name changes your Compliance Group will remain the same.

All Pennsylvania lawyers have been permanently assigned to one of three (3) Compliance Groups:

Group I:     May 1 – April 30

Group II:   September 1 – August 31

Group III: January 1 – December 31

Groups are chosen randomly by lawyer ID number.

Attorneys in Compliance Group 1 are required to complete the Pennsylvania PA CLE requirement by April 30, 2013.  Accredited Providers are given 30 days from the date of course completion to report credits to the PA CLE Board. The PA CLE Board accounts for this reporting period before determining non-compliance with the 2013 CLE requirement.[2]

Pennsylvania attorneys may complete 4 credit hours through Attorney Credits online PA CLE courses.  Attorney Credits offer individual courses – including legal ethics, professionalism and substance abuse CLE courses.  Attorney Credits also offers four unit CLE compliance packages for PA Pennsylvania attorneys.



[1] Frequently Asked Questions

https://www.pacle.org/lawyer/lawyer_faq.asp

[2] If a lawyer fails to comply under the Rules and Regulations, the Board will send the lawyer a report of non-compliance. The lawyer must, within sixty (60) days from the date of the notice, comply with the Rules and Regulations. In addition, the lawyer must pay a late fee as required by the Board.

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Attorney Credits Offers CLE in Georgia

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Attorney Credits recently began offering continuing legal education (CLE) courses in Georgia for attorneys who need to fulfill their minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirement.  Attorneys in Georgia must complete 12 CLE credits – including 1 credit hour of legal ethics – each annual compliance period in order to maintain MCLE compliance with the Georgia CLE Commission.  Attorneys in Georgia may complete 6 CLE units through online GA CLE courses each compliance period.

Active lawyers are required to keep current on the law by attending a minimum of 12 hours of education each year. Of these, at least one must be in ethics, one must be in professionalism, and for trial attorneys three must be in litigation.

The compliance period runs on the calendar year.  Georgia attorneys must complete all 12 CLE units by December 31.  The MCLE reporting deadline in Georgia is January 31.  If you fail to complete and report your MCLE compliance on time to the Georgia CLE Commission, you will be fined and possibly even suspended.

Important Deadlines and Late Fees for GA CLE[1]

March 31, 2013: You must complete your 2012 CLE requirement by March 31, 2013. There will be a $100 late CLE fee after March 31, 2013.

June 30, 2013: An additional late fee of $150 will be due if your 2012 CLE requirement is not completed by June 30, 2013. The CLE requirement includes the CLE hours requirement and the $100 late fee.

Attorney Credits offers a number of MCLE compliance packages for attorneys in Georgia.  Why drive down to the local bar association when you can complete your Georgia CLE from the comfort of your home or office?  With Attorney Credits’ CLE Your Way, you can choose from many different media formats – streaming audio & video, MP3 and video download.  We even offer MP3 Player and USB Stick packages loaded with 6 CLE units.  Georgia attorneys may complete 6 credit hours through Attorney Credits’ online CLE courses each compliance period.


[1] Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

http://www.gabar.org/membership/cle/

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Attorney Credits Offers CLE in Connecticut

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Attorney Credits offers minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) for the majority of attorneys around the country.  Attorney Credits also offers continuing legal education (CLE) in those states where CLE is not mandatory – like Connecticut

Attorneys in Connecticut are some of the few attorneys around the country who do not have a continuing legal education (CLE) requirement … for now.[1]  While there is currently no minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirement for attorneys in Connecticut, Connecticut attorneys are encouraged to complete CLE courses in order to maintain their competence to practice law.

Maintaining Competence

[6] To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should engage in continuing study and education. If a system of peer review has been established, the lawyer should consider making use of it in appropriate circumstances.[2]

Connecticut attorneys should take as many CLE courses as they need to fulfill their ethical duties and maintain their competence to practice law.  Further, there are some professional liability carriers who offer a discounted rate for attorneys who complete certain CLE courses on legal ethics and malpractice avoidance. [3]  These insurance carriers figure that education serves as a form of risk management – the more attorneys know about ethics and malpractice, the less apt they will be to get into ethical trouble with the state bar and their clients.

The Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association, having studied the issue of minimum continuing legal education (CLE), recommends that Connecticut should join the vast majority of jurisdictions that have some form of mandatory minimum CLE.[4]

Due to the geographic proximity attorneys in Connecticut might also be licensed in other states such as New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), Pennsylvania (PA), Delaware (DE) and other states in the Northeast.  Attorney Credits offers a full range of CLE programs in these states if you live and practice in Connecticut but need MCLE for another mandatory CLE state.  With CLE Your Way, you can get your CLE done without leaving the comfort of your home or office!  For more information about CLE in Connecticut (CT), please click here: Connecticut CT CLE.


[1] See Connecticut to Go Mandatory?

http://ginascleblog.typepad.com/ginascleblog/2011/05/connecticut-to-go-mandatory-mcle-on-agenda-again.html

[2] Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.1, Comment [6].

[3] For example, ALPS offers a 10% credit for each attorney in a firm who has received 3 CLE credits annually in the areas of Ethics, Risk Management, Loss Prevention and/or Office Management.

[4] A PROPOSAL FOR MINIMUM CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION IN CONNECTICUT

newhavenbar.com/files/CT_MCLE_WhitePaper2-06.pdf

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Pennsylvania MCLE: 12 Units Each Compliance Period

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Pennsylvania attorneys must complete 12 CLE credit hours each annual compliance period as part of the Pennsylvania minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirement.  Pennsylvania attorneys must complete at least 1 credit hour dedicated to legal ethics, professionalism or substance abuse as part of the 12 credit hour MCLE requirement.  Attorneys in Pennsylvania are permanently assigned to one of three compliance groups with compliance dates of April 30, August 31 and December 31.

Over the past several years, technical advances in the delivery and exchange of information have resulted in tremendous strides in distance learning options.  The Rule change provides lawyers the option of completing four (4) hours per compliance year by participating in pre-approved, interactive, Internet or computer based CLE programs.[1]

Pennsylvania attorneys may choose to complete 4 of the required 12 MCLE credit hours by completing interactive “distance learning” CLE courses each compliance period.  A number of different activities qualify for distance learning credit in Pennsylvania, including online CLE courses, CDs, Webcasts, Podcasts and Telephone Seminars.  Because Attorney Credits utilizes numerical code verification for our courses, our CLE courses are considered interactive under the Pennsylvania MCLE rules and have been accredited by the Pennsylvania CLE Board.

Internet, CD-Rom, Live Webcasts, Podcasts and Telephone Seminars that are pre-approved and offered by PA CLE Accredited Providers are eligible for PA CLE credit.[2]

If a lawyer fails to comply with the Pennsylvania MCLE Rules and Regulations, the Pennsylvania CLE Board will send the attorney a non-compliance report.  If you are issued a non-compliance report you must cure the MCLE deficiency within 60 days from the date of the notice. In addition, there are fees associated with non-compliance.  Failing to complete PA MCLE on time will trigger an initial $100 late compliance fee.  If the MCLE requirement is not completed within the 90 day period from the initial notice of non-compliance, a second $100 late fee will be assessed.


[1] Distance Learning

https://www.pacle.org/distance_learning/distance_learning.asp

[2] Distance Learning Q & A

https://www.pacle.org/distance_learning/DL_lawyer_QA.asp

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Oregon MCLE: Compliance Groups

Oregon-MCLE

The Oregon MCLE rules require that all active members of the Oregon State Bar complete 45 hours of approved CLE each each 3 year reporting period.  Of the 45 hours, 5 must be legal ethics credits and 1 credit hour must be on an Oregon attorney’s mandatory child abuse reporting obligations.  In alternate reporting periods, at least 3 of the required 45 hours must be in programs accredited for access to justice.

If you are an Oregon attorney, your MCLE compliance group will be determined by when you became a member of the Oregon State Bar.

Members that became active prior to January 1, 1988:[1]

  • Attorneys with birthdays in January, March, June, and November: first compliance period end on December 31, 1988, and their compliance periods follow every three years thereafter.
  • Attorneys with birthdays in February, May, August, and October: first compliance period end on December 31, 1989, and their compliance periods follow every three years thereafter.
  • Attorneys with birthdays in April, July, September, and December: first compliance period end on December 31, 1990, and their compliance periods follow every three years thereafter.

For all other attorneys the first reporting period begins on the date of admission to the Oregon State Bar and ends on December 31 of the following calendar year.[2]  Compliance periods then follow every three years.

The rule applies to:

  • New licensees and members returning to active status in a reporting period other than the reporting period during which they transferred to inactive/retired status.[3]
  • Members returning to active status in the same reporting period in which they transferred to inactive/retired status retain their original reporting period.

Attorney Credits offers Oregon attorneys 45 unit MCLE compliance packages that include all specialty credits.  We also offer a full selection of individual Oregon OR CLE courses – including those hard-to-get legal ethics, access to justice and mandatory child abuse reporting courses.  Attorney Credits brings Oregon attorneys CLE Your Way and allows you to choose from multiple media formats – streaming video & audio, MP3, video download, CD, DVD, MP3 Player & USB sticks.


[1] MCLE Cycling Period

https://www.reqwiredlegal.com/reqwired/resources/law/summary_84.jsp

[2] See Oregon MCLE Rule 3.7.

[3] See Oregon MCLE Rule 3.7(c)(1).

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Oregon MCLE: Ethics & Access to Justice

Oregon-MCLE

Oregon attorneys must complete 45 CLE units every year to complete the Oregon MCLE requirement.  As with any MCLE state, there are certain mandatory CLE courses that must be completed as part of the MCLE requirement.

(c) Access to Justice. In alternate reporting periods, at least three of the required hours must be in programs accredited for access to justice pursuant to Rule 5.5(b). For purposes of this rule, the first reporting period that may be skipped will be the one ending on December 31, 2009.[1]

Oregon attorneys must complete 6 credit hours of legal ethics every three years, including 1 credit hour on an attorney’s statutory duty to report child abuse.  In addition, in alternate reporting periods Oregon attorneys must also complete 3 credit hours in CLE programs dedicated to access to justice.

In order to be accredited as an activity pertaining to access to justice for purposes of Rule 3.2(c), an activity shall be directly related to the practice of law and designed to educate attorneys to identify and eliminate from the legal profession and from the practice of law barriers to access to justice arising from biases against persons because of race, gender, economic status, creed, color, religion, national origin, disability, age or sexual orientation.[2]

The Oregon access to justice requirement is very similar to California’s elimination of bias requirement.  However, the Oregon access to justice requirement is slightly more broad in the sense that a greater number of topics qualify for CLE credit.   Whereas the California bias requirement requires the course to relate specifically to the legal profession, the Oregon requirement more generally refers to eliminating barriers to the access to justice and doesn’t have to specifically relate to lawyers.  For example, a course on the bias laws themselves would qualify for CLE credit in Oregon.

To access our Oregon course list and view Attorney Credits’ access to justice courses, please click the following: Oregon CLE course list.


[1] Oregon State Bar Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rules and Regulations, Rule 3.2(c)

https://www.osbar.org/_docs/rulesregs/mclerules.pdf

[2] Oregon State Bar Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rules and Regulations, Rule 5.5(b)

https://www.osbar.org/_docs/rulesregs/mclerules.pdf

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The Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

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The Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession is a required course in California.  California is one of the few states with a mandatory bias and discrimination MCLE requirement.  In many other states, courses dealing with bias and discrimination in the legal system qualify for legal ethics credit.

Instead of lawyers in firms arguing about whether there is in fact anything “wrong” at their firm that needs correcting, they now discuss how improving their representation of women and minorities may enhance their business. That debate is usually a far less controversial one since, not surprisingly, it is easier for lawyers to reach a consensus about activities aimed at enhancing revenue and profits as opposed to achieving social justice.[1]

While the main rationale used to justify and advance diversity in law firms used to be moral, now it’s the bottom line that is driving the push.  Because of an expanded client base, it now makes economic sense to promote diversity within your firm.  Further, some Fortune 500 companies have demanded that the law firms they employ become more diverse – and they have fired them when they didn’t comply.[2]

While this may be a required course for some, many attorneys and people inside the legal profession view it as an important topic.  Attorney Credits has worked with a number of excellent practitioners to produce insightful CLE courses on this topic.  We are proud of our wide selection of bias and discrimination courses that we offer attorneys around the country.

  • Bias & Discrimination in the Legal Profession – What Can Be Done?
  • Eliminating Biases You Never Knew You Had
  • Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession
  • Elimination of Bias in the Legal System
  • The Elimination of Bias & Promotion of Diversity in the Legal Profession

To view Attorney Credits’ selection of course dealing with bias, discrimination, diversity and inclusion please click here.


[1] Diversity Makes Cents

http://www.netforlawyers.com/page/diversity-makes-cents

[2] Under Pressure: Corporate demands for minority hiring have law firms paying attention but will fundamental changes occur?

http://masslawyersweekly.com/wp-files/pdfs/ma/05/CCS_112105.pdf

 

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Oklahoma MCLE: February 15 Reporting Deadline

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Oklahoma attorneys are rapidly running out of time to report their MCLE compliance for 2012.  The Oklahoma MCLE Reporting Deadline is February 15.  Each member of the Oklahoma Bar must complete at least 12 OK CLE credit hours during the calendar year.[1]  At least 1 of the 12 CLE credit hours must be approved for legal ethics.

On or before February 15th of each year, every active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, who did not attain age 65 before or during the preceding calendar year, shall report in such a form as the MCLEC Shall prescribe concerning his or her completion of accredited legal education during the preceding calendar year or exemption from the requirements of these rules.[2]

If you are an Oklahoma attorney and you have not reported your MCLE compliance yet, reporting compliance by February 15 will save you $100.  And if you failed to complete your minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirement by December 31, you will also have to pay an additional $100.

For a member who fails to comply with the Rule 3 continuing legal education requirement by December 31st of each year, there shall be added an expense charge of $100.00. For a member who fails to comply with the Rule 5 annual report requirement by February 15th of each year, there shall be added an expense charge of $100.00.[3]

Oklahoma attorneys may complete 6 OK CLE credit hours each annual compliance period.  Attorney Credits offers 6 unit MCLE compliance packages and a full selection of individual CLE and legal ethics courses.  Oklahoma attorneys may complete 6 credit hours through Attorney Credits OK CLE courses.


[1] No more than 6 of the 12 CLE credits can be earned by participating in Oklahoma MCLE approved online seminars.

[2] Rules Of The Supreme Court Of The State Of Oklahoma For
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)

http://www.okbar.org/members/mcle/rules.htm#rule1

[3] Rules Of The Supreme Court Of The State Of Oklahoma For
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)

http://www.okbar.org/members/mcle/rules.htm#rule5

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Ohio MCLE: 12 Online CLE Credit Hours in 2014

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The Ohio Supreme Court recently adopted changes to the continuing legal education (CLE) system.  The changes will double the number of online credit hours Ohio attorneys can earn each two-year compliance period.  The changes will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

On October 23, 2012, the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted the following amendments to the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio (Gov.Bar R. X and Appendix I) and the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Judiciary of Ohio (Gov.Jud.R. IV), effective January 1, 2014.[1]

Under the Ohio OH MCLE rule changes, the self-study credit hours an attorney can earn each biennial period will increase from 6 to 12 hours.  Since online CLE courses are considered self-study in Ohio, Ohio attorneys will be able to complete up to 12 CLE credit hours online every two years once the changes take effect in 2014.

Ohio attorneys will still be required to earn 24 CLE credit hours every two years and will still be subject to fines and suspension for failing to meet the OH MCLE requirement.  However, attorneys in Ohio will no longer be required to file a final reporting transcript.

Changes to the Ohio MCLE system in 2014:

  • Reduce the range of sanction fines for noncompliant attorneys – the upper limit will be reduced from $500 to $300.
  • Allow CLE credit for presentations that occur “concurrent with the consumption” of food.[2]
  • Move up the time deadline by one month that attorneys receive to cure their MCLE deficiency.
  • “Unbundle” professional conduct instruction to give attorneys more flexibility in selecting courses that meet their practice needs. Courses on mental health issues and “access to justice and fairness in the courts” will also now quality for professional conduct CLE credit.

These changes will take effect starting in 2014.  Attorney Credits offers a full selection of Ohio CLE courses and MCLE compliance packages.  Once the MCLE limit for online courses is increased in 2014, Ohio attorneys will be able to complete 12 online CLE credit hours through Attorney Credits each two year compliance period.


[1] AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAR OF OHIO AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE JUDICIARY OF OHIO

http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/RuleAmendments/Archive.aspx

[2] See: Ohio MCLE: No Food for You!

http://www.attorneycredits.com/wordpress/2013/02/ohio-mcle-no-food-for-you/

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Ohio MCLE: No Food for You!

Attorney Credits offers online CLE for the majority of attorneys around the country.  Online CLE offers many benefits, including price, convenience and efficiency – to name a few positive points.  And when you are an attorney, you need to make the most efficient use of your time because you are a busy professional.

Credit for Activities Concurrent with the Consumption of a Meal” — Currently, you can’t receive CLE credit if there is food present.  Seriously.  If passed, you can eat and learn.[1]

Attorneys in Ohio will soon be able to make more efficient use of their time when it comes to MCLE as well – you’ll just have to wait until 2014.  Currently, attorneys in Ohio cannot eat and complete CLE courses at the same time.  According to the Ohio MCLE Rule entitled “Credit for Activities Concurrent with the Consumption of a Meal” you cannot currently receive CLE credit if there is food present while you are completing a CLE course.[2]

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However, the Ohio Supreme Court recently adopted a set of new attorney regulations that will aim to make the process of learning and completing MCLE easier.  In 2011, The Ohio Supreme Court began a program to streamline the Ohio MCLE system by sending a survey to every registered lawyer in the state of Ohio subject to the MCLE requirement.  After the 2011 survey, the Ohio Supreme Court proposed rule changes for the Ohio CLE program — including the new food-consumption rule — and circulated the rules changes to attorneys for feedback.

Since there was no opposition to this food-consumption rule change it will soon take effect.  Ohio attorneys can complete CLE courses and eat at the same time beginning on January 1, 2014 when the amendments become effective.

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