Pennsylvania CLE Requirements


Rule 105. CLE Requirement

(a) General Requirement

1. Every active lawyer shall annually complete, during the compliance period to which he or she is assigned, the CLE required by the Board pursuant to these rules and established in Board regulations.

2. CLE shall be on the subjects of:

(i) substantive law, practice and procedure

(ii) lawyer ethics and the rules of professional conduct

(iii) professionalism

(iv) substance abuse as it affects lawyers and the practice of law

3. The minimum annual CLE requirement shall be nine (9) hours, effective September 1, 1994, and twelve (12) hours, effective September 1, 1995.

(b) Fulfillment Requirements

The CLE requirement shall be fulfilled by attending the required number of CLE courses by providers or completing a CLE activity approved by the Board as sufficient to meet the CLE general requirement.

(c) Every newly admitted attorney shall attend the Bridge the Gap program, of at least four (4) credit hours, sponsored by approved Bridge the Gap CLE provider prior to his or her first compliance deadline.

Rule 107. Minimum Standards for Course Approval

To be approved for credit, a CLE course or activity must meet the following standards:

(a) The course shall be of intellectual or practical content;

(b) The course shall contribute directly to lawyers professional competence or skills, or to their education with respect to their professional or ethical obligations;

(c) If a course does not bear entirely on the general requirements for CLE or the practice of law or the substance of laws, practice or procedure or if the method of presenting the course is below minimum standards, the Board may assign partial credit;

(d) Each faculty member must possess the necessary practical or academic skills to conduct the course effectively. Subjects should normally be taught by lawyers or judges;

(e) While written materials need not be distributed for every course, thorough, high quality, readable, carefully prepared written materials should be distributed to all participants at or before the time the course is offered whenever practicable;

(f) The course shall be presented in a suitable setting devoted to the educational activity of the program. No CLE shall consist solely of television viewing in the home, correspondence work, or self study, except as the Board shall approve to accommodate the needs of the handicapped or incapacitated. Video, motion picture or audio tape presentations may be used provided a faculty person is in attendance at all presentations to comment and answer questions. Distance Learning programs may be approved if they meet interactive, technical and accreditation standards set forth by the Board;

(g) The course must be open to any lawyers thought to be interested in the subject matter;

(h) The Board shall adopt rules which will allow providers to obtain prior approval of CLE courses or which may allow providers to obtain post presentation approval of CLE courses subject to the right of the Board to adjust the credit as provided in subsection

Rule 108. Credit for Continuing Legal Education Courses and Activity

(a) Credit.

Participants shall receive credit of one (1) hour for each sixty (60) minutes actually spent in attendance at an approved course.

(b) Law school courses.

Courses by an ABA accredited law school, other than those required for a legal degree, which otherwise comply with these rules, shall qualify for credit.

(c) CLE credit for preparation.

The Board shall establish rules for credit to be given to faculty members for the preparation of CLE courses which qualify for credit under these rules. (Teaching Activity – Application for Course Preparation Credit)

(d) Carry over credits.

A balance of credit hours in excess of the current annual CLE requirement may be carried forward for the next two (2) succeeding years. No more than two times the current annual CLE requirement may be carried forward into the two (2) succeeding years.

(e) The number of credits earned by distance learning education that may be applied to the annual compliance requirement shall not exceed four (4).

Rule 110. Reporting Responsibilities

(a) Provider Report.

Providers shall enroll attendees at CLE courses and shall file a written form with the Board or provide an electronic transmission to the Board listing all participants seeking CLE credit under these rules in a format approved by the Board within thirty (30) days of the date of presentation of the course. The Board shall require verified statements as to the accuracy of the reports it receives.

(b) CLE Compliance Report.

The Board will notify each lawyer of his or her CLE status prior to the end of the compliance period to which the lawyer has been assigned and will provide a final compliance notice after the end of the compliance period.

(c) Assumed compliance.

The lawyer whose Board report indicates compliance with the CLE requirement may assume that he or she is in compliance.

(d) Disputed reports.

If a lawyer shall disagree with the enrollment or annual reporting forms, the lawyer shall within thirty (30) days of the date thereof notify the Board in writing setting forth the matter in dispute.

(e) Board review.

The Board shall establish regulations providing for review of its determination of the CLE credits earned by a lawyer and for resolving disputes.

Rule 111. Lawyer Noncompliance

(a) Notification.

If a lawyer shall fail to comply with these rules or if a lawyer is determined by the Board to be deficient in his or her CLE requirement, such lawyer shall be so notified in writing by the Board of the nature of such noncompliance and shall be given sixty (60) days to remedy such noncompliance.

(b) Sanctions.

If the Board finds the lawyer not in compliance with these rules or the regulations of the Board, it shall so report to the Supreme Court and recommend that the lawyer be placed on administrative suspension.

Rule 112. Reporting of Board

The Board shall report to the Supreme Court the names of all lawyers who are not in compliance under these rules, the names of all lawyers reinstated hereunder, and the names of all lawyers who have been granted waivers and extensions of CLE requirements by the Board and the basis therefore.

Rule 113. Waivers and Extensions

These rules shall be strictly enforced, but waivers of strict compliance with these rules or extensions of time deadlines provided in these rules may be made by the Board in cases of undue hardship or for other compelling reasons in accordance with the following:

(a) Waiver.

When a lawyer on active status, because of circumstances beyond his or her control, cannot in any reasonable manner meet the requirement for continuing education in any given reporting year, these rules may be waived, in whole or in part.

(b) Application for Waiver.

The application for waiver shall set forth the reason why the lawyer cannot comply with the minimum requirements of these rules; shall set forth the efforts made to comply; and shall be accompanied by a plan setting forth how the lawyer expects to continue his or her legal education during the period of time for which strict compliance is waived.

(c) Termination of Waiver.

Waivers may be granted by the Board for such period as the Board may determine. Upon termination of the waiver, the Board may make such additional educational requirements as it deems appropriate.

(d) Extensions of Time.

The Board may grant an extension of time for the completion of a lawyer’s CLE requirements upon such terms as the Board shall require.

Regulations

Section 3: Minimum Education Requirement

Every active lawyer shall complete the following annual CLE minimum requirements:

(a) Commencing January 1, 1994, the CLE requirement for each compliance group shall be a minimum of one (1) hour of ethics, professionalism, or substance abuse and a minimum of five (5) hours of substantive law, practice and procedure.

(b) Commencing September 1, 1994, the CLE requirement for each compliance group shall be a minimum of one (1) hour of ethics, professionalism, or substance abuse and a minimum of eight (8) hours of substantive law, practice and procedure and shall be first applicable to the compliance groups as follows:

Compliance Group II August 31, 1995

Compliance Group III December 31, 1995

Compliance Group I April 30, 1996

(c) Commencing September 1, 1995, the CLE requirement shall be a minimum of one (1) hour of ethics, professionalism, or substance abuse and a minimum of eleven (11) hours of substantive law, practice and procedure and shall be first applicable to the compliance groups as follows:

Group II August 31, 1996

Group III December 31, 1996

Group I April 30, 1997

(d) CLE credits for ethics, professionalism, or substance abuse may be applied to any substantive law, practice and procedure requirement.

Section 5: Credit for CLE Activities

(a) General Standards:

1. Credit will be given only for completion of CLE activities which are accredited by the Board.

2. One (1) hour of credit will be awarded for each sixty (60) minutes of instruction, not including introductory remarks, keynote speeches, luncheon speeches or breaks, but including question-and-answer periods.

3. No provider shall schedule a class for less than sixty (60) minutes, but one-half hour credit shall be awarded for attendance of at least thirty (30) minutes but less than sixty (60) minutes beyond the initial sixty (60) minutes.

4. Courses offered by an accredited continuing legal education provider shall be presumed to be accredited for the amount of time designated by the provider.

5. Courses offered by a provider which is not an accredited continuing legal education provider but which otherwise comply with the rules and these regulations shall be submitted to the Board pursuant to Section 12 of these regulations for review and may be given such credit, if any, as the Board deems appropriate.

6. If a course does not bear entirely on any of the subjects of:

(i) substantive law, practice and procedure,

(ii) lawyer ethics and the rules of professional conduct,

(iii) professionalism,

(iv) substance abuse as it affects lawyers and the practice of law or the method of presenting the course is below minimum standards, the Board may determine that such course is entitled to no credit or may assign such partial credit as it deems appropriate.

(b) Teaching Activity:

The Board may assign credit to teaching activities involving courses accredited under the rules and these regulations upon written application describing the teaching activity. The Board will provide forms to be submitted for the approval of teaching credits. Credit for teaching activities will be given on the basis of two hours credit for each hour of presentation where the applicant has prepared quality written materials for use in the presentation. Credit for repeat presentations or presentations without such materials will be given only for the actual time of presentation. (Teaching Activity – Application for Course Preparation Credit)

(c) Carry Forward Credits.

A lawyer may carry forward a balance of credit hours in excess of the current annual CLE requirement for the next two (2) succeeding years. No more than two (2) times the current annual CLE requirement may be carried forward into the two (2) succeeding years. CLE credits for ethics, professionalism or substance abuse may be applied as provided in Section 3 (d).

(d) In-House Activities

In-house activities will not be approved for CLE credit.

(e) Satellite Seminars and Electronic Presentations and Distance Learning Programs:

Seminars viewed at remote sites by electronic transmission will receive credit if a moderator is present or available by a telecommunication facility. The Board may approve CLE courses consisting solely of television viewing in the home, correspondence work or self study to accommodate the needs of the handicapped or incapacitated. Distance Learning programs may be approved for CLE providing that they meet interactive, technical and accreditation standards set forth by the Board. (January 1, 2005)

(f) Law School Courses:

Law school courses may qualify for CLE credit, computed in accordance with these standards, provided that:

1. They would otherwise qualify for credit under the rules and these regulations.

2. They [law school courses] are not required in order to qualify for the awarding of a basic law degree. Courses offered towards graduate or advance degrees may receive credit, upon submission of appropriate documentation to the Board. One (1) hour of CLE credit may be given for each approved graduate credit hour awarded by the law school.

3. The law school offering the course is a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

(g) Continuing legal education activities conducted by a provider which has not been Accredited by the Board:

All CLE activities conducted by a provider which has not been accredited by the Board must be individually approved by the Board for credit. A lawyer or non-accredited provider must request approval for such continuing legal education activity under Section 12 of these regulations.

(h) Self Study:

Self study will not be approved for credit.

Section 8: Compliance Procedures Applicable to Active Lawyers

(a) If a lawyer fails to comply with any requirement under the rules or these regulations, the Board will send the lawyer a notice of noncompliance.

(b) Such notice shall specify the nature of the lawyer’s noncompliance. Within thirty (30) days of the date of the notice, the lawyer shall either file evidence of compliance or request a hearing. The lawyer must within sixty (60) days from the date of the notice comply with the requirements of the rules and these regulations. In addition, the lawyer shall pay a late fee as required by the Board.

(c) If the lawyer fails to comply with the requirements of paragraph (b), the Board shall file a report of the lawyer’s noncompliance with the Supreme Court, recommending that the lawyer be placed on administrative suspension.

(d) If the lawyer is able to provide sufficient evidence to establish compliance, the Board may, nevertheless, assess the lawyer a late fee.

(e) Credit hours earned shall be first applied to satisfy the requirements of the compliance period which was the subject of the notice to the lawyer before any excess credits earned during the notice period may be applied to subsequent requirements.

(f) If, in response to the notice of noncompliance, the lawyer timely files a request for a hearing, the Board shall schedule a hearing. The hearing may be conducted by one (1) or more members of the Board or a hearing officer, who should be a lawyer appointed by the Chair of the Board. If the hearing is conducted by more than one (1) person, the Chair of the Board shall designate the person who will act as the presiding hearing officer. The hearing shall be held at least ten (10) days after written notice to the lawyer. Within thirty (30) days after the hearing, the hearing person or body shall submit to the Board findings of fact, conclusions of law and a recommendation which may be approved, modified or rejected by the Board, and no recommendation shall become the finding or determination of the Board until ordered by the Board. Regardless of who conducts the hearing, the findings and determination of the Board shall have the same effect as if the hearing had been conducted by the Board.

(g) The Board may engage special independent counsel to investigate and prosecute to conclusion charges of noncompliance by a lawyer. Fees and expenses of the special independent counsel shall be paid in the first instance by the Board but in cases of a finding of noncompliance, all or a portion of these fees may, at the discretion of the Board, be assessed to the noncomplying lawyer.

(h) If the Board finds that the lawyer was in compliance with the requirements of the rules and these regulations, the lawyer shall be notified and a late filing fee may be assessed at the discretion of the Board.

(i) If the Board finds that the lawyer was not in compliance with the requirements of the rules or these regulations, the Board shall carry out the provisions of paragraph (c) if the requirements of paragraph (b) are not complied with. The Board may assess the costs of the hearing, including the compensation of the hearing officer, room rental, depositions and other hearing expenses upon the lawyer.

(j) If the Board finds that the lawyer had reasonable cause for noncompliance, the lawyer shall have sixty (60) days from the date of notice of the Board’s decision to correct the noncompliance. The Board may waive the late filing fee if it so determines. If compliance is not achieved within the sixty (60) day period, the Board shall proceed as provided in paragraph (c).

(k) All hearings shall be public. Witnesses shall be sworn and a complete electronic record or a transcript may be made. The presiding hearing officer shall have authority to rule on all motions, objections and other matters presented.

(l) In investigations and proceedings under the rules and these regulations, the Board shall have power to issue subpoenas and cause testimony to be taken under oath before the Board, Board member(s), or hearing examiner appointed by the Board. All subpoenas shall be issued in the name and under the seal of the Supreme Court and served as provided by the Rules of Civil Procedure. Fees and costs of the subpoenas shall be paid from the funds of the Board or taxed as costs, as determined by the Board.

(m) The Board may order the testimony of a witness to be taken by deposition within or without this Commonwealth in the manner prescribed for the taking of depositions in civil actions and the depositions may be used to the same extent as permitted in civil actions.

(n) The hearing shall result in findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations for action with respect to: (1) the lawyer’s compliance or noncompliance with the requirements of the rules and these regulations, and (2) a determination of the existence of reasonable cause in the event of a finding of noncompliance. A copy of the same shall be sent to the lawyer.

Section 18: Board Fee Schedule

Following is a schedule of fees established by the Board to be paid by providers and lawyers. This schedule will be reviewed annually by the Board and may be modified at any time upon approval by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Fee to accompany application for designation as an Accredited Continuing Legal Education Provider-$250.00

Fee to accompany application for continuation as an Accredited Provider reporting electronically-$100.00

Fee to accompany application for continuation as an Accredited Provider reporting on paper-$250.00

Fee to accompany application to accredit single distance learning activity-$150.00

Fee per credit hour to be paid by provider with attendance certification-$1.50

Fee per credit hour to be paid by lawyer for certification when fee not paid by provider-$1.50

Fee per credit hour when lawyer requests CLE credit for teaching course-$1.50

Fee to accompany request by lawyer for certified copy of lawyer’s record with the Board-$25.00

Filing fee to accompany request for hearing concerning dispute of Board’s determination of lawyer’s CLE credit -$25.00

Filing fee to accompany request for hearing concerning lawyers noncompliance-$25.00

Filing fee to accompany application for waiver of CLE requirement-$25.00

Filing fee to accompany application for extension to complete CLE requirement-$50.00

Reinstatement fee-$100.00

Filing fee to accompany request for hearing upon denial of reinstatement-$25.00

Fee for late compliance with annual CLE requirement-$100.00

Fee for continued late compliance with annual CLE requirement-$100.00

Fee to accompany application to accredit single CLE activity-$25.00

Fee to accompany application for non-resident active status-$25.00

The following charges are to be paid by a provider for failure to comply with the rules or these regulations

First non-compliance-$100.00

Second non-compliance-$200.00

Third non-compliance-$300.00

Fourth non-compliance-$400.00

Fifth and succeeding non-compliance-$500.00

(Attendance Fee Calculation Guideline)