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Minimum CLE Hours by State

State-by-State CLE Requirements to Keep You in Compliance with the State Bar

Continuing legal education, or CLE, refers to the additional learning attorneys must complete on an ongoing basis. These courses are mandatory once an attorney is admitted to the state bar. The courses are required to keep your license to practice law. CLE courses help maintain a level of professionalism in the industry, and they ensure practicing lawyers stay on top of new developments in the legal system.

Minimum yearly hours for CLE credits keep you in compliance with your state bar requirements, and they help you stay current on developments in the field. No nationwide requirements exist for CLE hours. State authorities create the requirements for lawyers in those jurisdictions, so the requirements vary from one state to the next. Whether you’re new to the profession or considering a move out of state, checking out the requirements for the state you plan to practice in helps you prepare for the classes you’ll have to take.

Overview of CLE

Most states require a certain number of CLE credits per reporting period. Only a few jurisdictions have no CLE requirements for lawyers: the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and South Dakota. Most CLE hours are based on a 60-minute hour, but some states use a 50-minute CLE hour calculation. That means you earn one CLE hour for every 50 minutes you spend taking a CLE course.

The reporting period is often one year, but some states have a two-year or three-year reporting period. The reporting period is the length of time you have to complete the required CLE hours. For instance, Florida requires 33 hours per reporting period, and each reporting period lasts three years. By the end of the three-year period, you must finish at least 33 hours of CLE program to be in compliance. Your CLE period then resets for another three years, during which you must complete another 33 hours of CLE classes. Some states adjust the required amount of CLE work in the first year you are admitted to the bar.

Many states follow the calendar year for the reporting period. In those states, you need to complete the education hours by Dec. 31 to remain in compliance. Other states use a different compliance date. For example, Arizona and Arkansas both have a compliance date of June 30. If you live in a state with a two-year or three-year period, you have until the compliance date in the final year to complete the work.

You typically have one or two months after the period ends to report the CLE courses that you take during the period. The reporting date for Colorado is Jan. 31. Alaska’s reporting date is Feb. 1. This extension gives you some leeway to gather documentation and complete the necessary reporting steps as required by your state’s bar.

Many states require you to take courses on certain topics for at least some of the hours. Ethics or professional responsibility is a common requirement in many states. Other extra requirements might include elimination of bias, substance abuse and mental illness as it relates to lawyers. These required topics typically only account for a few of the credits, with the remaining CLE hours being up to you.

Some states also require you to take courses in certain ways. For example, the state might require at least half the CLE credits to come from live courses. The rest of the credits can come from distance learning programs, such as webinars or online courses. Many states have changed their requirements to allow more freedom when it comes to taking classes online, which gives you the flexibility to fit in the continuing education requirements when it’s convenient for you.

Minimum CLE Courses by State

All states require lawyer continuing education, but each state sets individual requirements for the number of hours you have to complete. Some states also have requirements for specific types of continuing education for lawyers. The following list covers the minimum yearly hours of approved continuing legal education by state, so you know what to expect. Check the number of hours required, the length of time you have to complete the hours and any special requirements for types of classes you should take. There’s also a link to CLE-accredited online courses by state through Lorman, so you can jump right to the classes that work for your state.

Alabama
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour per year must be ethics.
Alabama CLE courses

Alaska
Hours required: Three hours required. Additional nine hours of voluntary time encouraged.
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Three hours must be ethics.
Alaska CLE courses

Arizona
Hours required: 15 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Three hours must be on professional responsibility.
Arizona CLE courses

Arkansas
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour must be on ethics.
Arkansas CLE courses

California
Hours required: 25 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Specific requirements include four hours of ethics, one hour of competence issues and one hour of removing bias in the legal profession. Half the credits, or 12.5 hours, must be activities that qualify as participatory credit, but the rest can be self-study options. The end of the three-year reporting period is based on last name. Group one includes last names that start with A to G. Group two includes H through M. Group three covers N through Z. Each group’s reporting period lasts three years, but the year each group ends is different.
California CLE courses

Colorado
Hours required: 45 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Colorado requires seven hours of ethics credit. The state counts 50 minutes as one credit hour.
Colorado CLE courses

Connecticut
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professionalism.Connecticut CLE courses

Delaware
Hours required: 24 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Four hours must be ethics credit. Your reporting period depends on your admission date. If you are admitted during an even-numbered year, you must always complete your credit by the end of even-numbered years. If you are admitted in an odd-numbered year, your reporting period always ends on odd-numbered years.
Delaware CLE courses

District of Columbia
Hours required: No requirements
Special requirements: The District of Columbia has no requirements for minimum yearly hours of continuing legal education courses. However, the District of Columbia Bar does encourage lawyers to pursue continuing education on their own. Lawyers newly admitted to the bar must complete the mandatory D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice within the first 12 months of admission.

Florida
Hours required: 33 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Five hours must be on ethics, professionalism, substance abuse or mental illness awareness. Three credits must be in approved technical programs. Florida uses 50 minutes to calculate one credit hour.
Florida CLE courses

Georgia
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour must be on ethics. One hour must be on professionalism. Three hours must be practice for trial attorneys.
Georgia CLE courses

Hawaii
Hours required: Three hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour must be on ethics.
Hawaii CLE courses

Idaho
Hours required: 30 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professional responsibility.
Idaho CLE courses

Illinois
Hours required: 30 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Six hours must be on professional responsibility.
Illinois CLE courses

Indiana
Hours required: 36 hours total. At least six hours per year.
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics.
Indiana CLE courses

Iowa
Hours required: 15 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Iowa requires at least three hours of ethics every two years, with the two-year period ending on odd-numbered years. Ethics course credit in Iowa includes substance abuse and mental health courses designed for lawyers.
Iowa CLE courses

Kansas
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics.

Kansas CLE courses
Kentucky
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics.
Kentucky CLE courses

Louisiana
Hours required: 12.5 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour must be on ethics, and one hour must be on professionalism.
Louisiana CLE courses

Maine
Hours required: 11
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour must be on ethics or professional responsibility. Half the credits, or five and a half hours, can be recorded programs. The rest must be live.
Maine CLE courses

Maryland
Hours required: No requirements

Massachusetts
Hours required: No requirements

Michigan
Hours required: No requirements

Minnesota
Hours required: 45 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics. Two hours must be on elimination of bias.
Minnesota CLE courses

Mississippi
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour must be on ethics, professional responsibility, professionalism, malpractice prevention, substance abuse or mental health. Up to six hours can be live webinars, teleconferences and on-demand online courses.
Mississippi CLE courses

Missouri
Hours required: 15 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics, professionalism or malpractice prevention, which must be taken as a live program. Up to six of the remaining CLE hours can be self-study via recorded classes. Each credit hour is based on 50 minutes.
Missouri CLE courses

Montana
Hours required: 15 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professionalism. Up to five CLE hours can come from recorded classes.
Montana CLE courses

Nebraska
Hours required: 10 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professional responsibility.
Nebraska CLE courses

Nevada
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics. One hour must be on substance abuse, addictive disorders or mental health.
Nevada CLE courses

New Hampshire
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics, professionalism, substance abuse, prevention of malpractice or attorney-client relations. Up to six CLE hours can be completed through recorded classes.
New Hampshire CLE courses

New Jersey
Hours required: 24 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Four hours must be on ethics or professionalism. New Jersey calculates CLE hours based on 50 minutes.
New Jersey CLE courses

New Mexico
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professionalism. Up to four CLE hours can be recorded classes.
New Mexico CLE courses

New York
Hours required: 24 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Four hours must be on ethics and professionalism. New York calculates CLE hours based on 50 minutes.
New York CLE courses

North Carolina
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professionalism. Every three years, attorneys must take an additional hour on substance abuse or mental illness. Up to six CLE hours can be on-demand online classes.
North Carolina CLE courses

North Dakota
Hours required: 45 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics. Up to 15 CLE hours can be through recorded classes.
North Dakota CLE courses

Ohio
Hours required: 24 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Two and a half hours must be on professional conduct.
Ohio CLE courses

Oklahoma
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: One hour must be on ethics. Up to six CLE hours can be on-demand online courses. CLE hours are based on 50 minutes.
Oklahoma CLE courses

Oregon
Hours required: 45 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Five hours must be on ethics or professionalism. One hour must be on the statutory duty of lawyers to report child abuse. Three additional hours must be on elimination of bias in alternate reporting periods.
Oregon CLE courses

Pennsylvania
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics.
Pennsylvania CLE courses

Rhode Island
Hours required: 10 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics. Each CLE hour is based on 50 minutes.
Rhode Island CLE courses

South Carolina
Hours required: 14 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professional responsibility. Once every three reporting periods, one of those two hours must be on substance abuse or mental health issues as they relate to the legal profession.
South Carolina CLE courses

South Dakota
Hours required: No requirements

Tennessee
Hours required: 15 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics and professionalism. Up to eight hours can be through recorded programs.
Tennessee CLE courses

Texas
Hours required: 15 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics or legal professional responsibility.
Texas CLE courses

Utah
Hours required: 24 hours
Length of time: 2 years
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics or professional responsibility. At least one of those three hours must be on professionalism and civility. Up to 12 hours can be through distance learning if the programs are accredited by the Utah State Board of CLE.
Utah CLE courses

Vermont
Hours required: 20 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics. Up to 10 CLE hours can be recorded classes.
Vermont CLE courses

Virginia
Hours required: 12 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics or professionalism.
Virginia CLE courses

Washington
Hours required: 45 hours
Length of time: Three years
Special requirements: Six hours must be on ethics and professional responsibility. Fifteen hours must be law and legal procedure.
Washington CLE courses

West Virginia
Hours required: 24
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics, office management, substance abuse or elimination of bias in the legal profession. Up to 12 CLE hours can be through recorded classes. Each CLE hour is based on 50 minutes.
West Virginia CLE courses

Wisconsin
Hours required: 30 hours
Length of time: Two years
Special requirements: Three hours must be on ethics and professional responsibility. Up to 10 hours can be through recorded classes. Each CLE is based on 50 minutes.
Wisconsin CLE courses

Wyoming
Hours required: 15 hours
Length of time: One year
Special requirements: Two hours must be on ethics.
Wyoming CLE courses

Formats Available From Lorman for Lawyer Education and Training

The reasons for minimum yearly hours of continuing legal education seminars make sense. You stay on top of evolving legal issues. You maintain your professionalism in the eyes of your clients. Plus, it’s important to always continue learning. Many of the CLE courses available cover very relevant topics you can apply to your law practice.

However, it’s not always easy to fit classes into your schedule. Lawyers already have a full schedule tending to their clients. Local offerings are sometimes limited, and the times and locations aren’t always convenient for your schedule. You may find yourself putting off the classes until the deadline for the reporting period nears.

Many states now let you earn your CLE credits remotely through online courses. Some states still require at least part of the credits in the form of live classes, so verify the options in your jurisdiction. This remote learning option means you can squeeze in your continuing education on your own schedule from your home or office. When you choose a quality remote education provider, you get top-notch information at your convenience.

Lorman Education Services delivers a wide range of CLE courses that meet the requirements of your state. The different formats available give you options that work best for your learning style. You can choose from visual, audio and written formats. You’ll find topics on many different aspects of the law to match the area in which you practice.

Choose one or more of these formats available from Lorman.

With the annual all-access pass, you can go to an unlimited number of live webinars. You can also access all other formats of recorded and written content. Browse through the variety of courses we have available for your state, and take as many as you want.

Complete Your Minimum CLE Credits Now

Lorman delivers quality CLE courses that not only fulfill your yearly requirements, but also expand your knowledge with useful, relevant, current information. Different plans give you purchasing options that fit your budget. Whether you choose an individual course or go for the yearly all-access pass, choosing Lorman for your CLE hours gives you the professional quality and flexibility you demand.

Sources:

  1. https://www.americanbar.org/cle/mandatory_cle/mcle_states.html
  2. https://www.dcbar.org/cle/obligation.cfm
  3. http://www.mebaroverseers.org/attorney_services/continuing_education/continuing_education.html
  4. http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/MCLE-CLE/Requirements
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