The following is an overview of MCLE requirements for Illinois attorneys. This information has been provided by the MCLE Board of the Supreme Court of Illinois. The MCLE Board may be reached at 312-924-2420, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Supreme Court of Illinois Rules Establishing MCLE
The Supreme Court of Illinois has established minimum continuing legal education ("MCLE") requirements for Illinois attorneys under Illinois Supreme Court Rules 790-798 ("MCLE Rules"). The Court created the MCLE Board to administer its MCLE program. Each attorney should become familiar with the MCLE Rules. Failure to satisfy MCLE requirements can result in removal from the Master Roll of attorneys licensed to practice law in Illinois. Though such removal is not considered a disciplinary action, the attorney must then establish MCLE compliance and pay a fee to be returned to the Master Roll.
Number of MCLE Credits Required
In general, the MCLE Rules require that Illinois attorneys obtain 20 MCLE credit hours, including at least four credit hours in the area of professional responsibility during the attorney’s first two-year reporting period. The initial two-year reporting period is either July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2008 (for last names beginning A through M) or July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2009 (for last names beginning N through Z). For the second two-year reporting period, the required MCLE credit hours increase to 24 credit hours. Then, for subsequent two-year reporting periods, the required MCLE credit hours increase to 30 credit hours. Attorneys admitted to practice on January 1, 2006 and thereafter must first fulfill the Basic Skills Course requirement within one year of admission to the Illinois bar. Follow this link to view an important message from the MCLE Board regarding the Basic Skills Requirement.
Obtaining Credits by Attending MCLE Courses
In order for a course to qualify for MCLE credit, the course provider must apply to the MCLE Board to accredit the course. At the present time, the MCLE Rules do not allow attorneys to apply for course accreditation on their own. The MCLE Board is accepting applications from providers for Accredited CLE Provider status and for individual course accreditation. Before enrolling in a course for which credit is anticipated, the attorney should confirm with the provider that it has applied or plans to apply to accredit the course with the MCLE Board.
Attorneys May Earn CLE Credits from Activities Other Than Attending MCLE Courses
The MCLE program provides many ways to obtain credit, often at little or no cost. In addition to MCLE coursework, attorneys may obtain MCLE credits through:
- Attendance at bar association or professional association conferences and meetings at which substantive law, matters of practice and professionalism are presented;
- Teaching a course accredited for MCLE credit;
- Part-time teaching of a law course at a law school, university or college;
- Writing a law review article or other substantive legal publication, such as the IDC Quarterly; and
- Judging law school moot court competitions.
Recordkeeping by Attorneys
Attorneys need to maintain their own certificates of attendance and other proof of MCLE compliance. At the end of each two year reporting period, attorneys must report to the MCLE Board whether they have complied with the MCLE Rules, have not complied with those Rules, or are exempt from those Rules. Please see MCLE Rule 791 for the exemptions.
Individual attorneys seeking to establish MCLE compliance should not mail, e-mail or fax certificates of attendance or other documents to the MCLE Board unless they are notified by the Board that they are being audited. See MCLE Rule 796 for more information on attorney recordkeeping.
For More Information
For more details on MCLE requirements for Illinois attorneys, please refer to the MCLE Board’s website which provides answers to frequently asked questions or contact the MCLE Board:
Telephone: (312) 924-2420