New Jersey Amends CLE Rules: Allows 24 Online CLE Units for Some Attorneys

Good news for attorneys who are licensed in New Jersey but live out of state – you may be able to complete all 24 NJ CLE units through online CLE courses.

The New Jersey Board on Continuing Legal Education published amendments to the New Jersey CLE Regulations on September 28, 2012. These amendments were approved by the New Jersey Supreme Court on October 23, 2012.

Here are the amendments:

BCLE Reg. 103:1(j) – Definition of “credit hour” for ethics courses

BCLE Reg. 103:1(l) – Definition of “inactive member”

BCLE Reg. 201:4 – Reciprocity and New Jersey requirements

BCLE Reg. 201:6 – Teaching CLE to non-lawyers

BCLE Reg. 201:8 – Alternative verifiable learning formats

BCLE Reg. 202: 2 – Fees charged for waiver applications

BCLE Reg. 202:3 – Fees charged for extension of time applications

BCLE Reg. 302:4 – Course announcement submission requirements for approved service providers

BCLE Reg. 302:10 – Addition of new certification specialty area

BCLE Reg. 402:1 – Noncompliance and undue hardship

BCLE Reg. 402:2 – When noncompliance late fee attaches

BCLE Reg. 402:3 – Effect of failure to comply

For our purposes, the key amendment is BCLE Regulation 201:8. According to Rule 201:8(a), if you reside and work (and are licensed) out-of-state in a jurisdiction that allows alternative verifiable learning formats you are allowed to complete all 24 New Jersey CLE hours through online CLE courses via reciprocity.

201:8. Alternative verifiable learning formats.

Lawyers who reside in, work in, and are licensed in a mandatory CLE jurisdiction that allows for 100% of CLE courses to be taken through alternative verifiable learning formats shall, through reciprocity, be able to satisfy their CLE obligation in New Jersey through 100% alternative verifiable learning formats.

For example, if you are an attorney who lives and works in New York – and has a valid New York law license – you may take all 24 NJ CLE credits through online CLE courses.  That’s because New York is a mandatory CLE jurisdiction and the New York CLE Board allows 100% of CLE courses to be taken through alternative verifiable learning formats.

These amendments to the CLE Regulations in New Jersey are effective immediately. The New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the amendment to BCLE Reg. 201:8 – allowing for 100% alternative coursework in certain circumstances – will be applied retroactively. That means that if you meet all the elements of the rule, you can complete all 24 CLE units through online CLE courses to fulfill your 2012 MCLE compliance requirement.

Here is a checklist to see if you qualify to complete all 24 CLE units online:

1. Reside outside of New Jersey.

2. Work outside of New Jersey.

3. Licensed in a state with mandatory CLE.

4. The other state that you are licensed in allows the entire MCLE requirement to be completed through online CLE courses.

Attorney Credits also provides further information about MCLE in New Jersey: