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Frequently Asked Questions
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  • What is CLE ?
    A permanent program adopted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania establishing minimum requirements for continuing legal education for Pennsylvania lawyers. The program was established by an order of the Supreme Court dated January 7, 1992 and is administered by the Continuing Legal Education Board.
  • What is the purpose of this requirement ?
    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.
    (Rule 102(a) and Preamble to Regs)
  • Who must comply with the CLE requirement ?
    Lawyers who became registered to practice law in Pennsylvania on or after July 1, 1992 must complete a program of continuing legal education as provided by the Rules and Regulations. There shall be no exceptions from this requirement under any circumstance except in the limited instances described in the Regulations.
    (Rule 105 and Regulation Section 2 "Scope")
  • Who is considered an active lawyer ?
    An active lawyer is a member in good standing of the bar and of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, who is not an active or senior member of the judiciary. A lawyer who is active for any part of a year must comply with the Rules and Regulations. An active lawyer is one who has paid the licensing fee (lawyer assessment), regardless of whether they actually engage in the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or elsewhere.
    (Rule 102(b) and Regulation Sections 1 "Definitions" and 2 "Scope")
  • When must I complete my CLE requirements ?
    All Pennsylvania lawyers have been permanently assigned to one of three (3) Compliance Groups chosen randomly, by lawyer ID number:
    Group I - May 1 through April 30 every year
    Group II - September 1 through August 31 every year
    Group III - January 1 through December 31 every year
    The annual requirement for all compliance groups is twelve (12) total credit hours. Of this total, a minimum of two (2) hours must be in ethics.
    (Rule 105(a) and Regulation Section 3, "Minimum Education Requirements")
  • What if my hours are not reported as of my compliance deadline ?
    Attorneys have up until midnight on the day of their deadline to take a course and complete the requirements. Accredited providers are given 30 days from the course date to report the credits. As long as the credits are taken prior to the deadline, the attorney will not be considered non-compliant once the credits are reported.
  • What if I take more ethics than are required for the year ?
    As long as the minimum annual ethics requirement is met, additional ethics credits will apply to the substantive portion of the CLE requirement. For example, the annual requirement may be met by completing all twelve credits in ethics.
    More information
  • What happens if I do not comply with the requirements within my Compliance Period ?
    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.
    (Regulation Section 8)
  • What is the late compliance fee ?
    An initial late compliance fee of $100 is assessed when the requirement of 12 CLE hours is not completed by the assigned deadline date.

    Note: A second $100 late fee is assessed if the requirement is not completed within the 90 day period from the initial notice of non-compliance.
    (Regulation Section 18)
  • What if I remain out of compliance or do not meet my CLE requirements within the time allotted as stated in the second notice ?
    Those lawyers, who remain out of compliance, by either not completing hours or not paying late fees, will have their names submitted to the Supreme Court on a Non-Compliant List. The Court will issue an order to administrative suspend the licenses of those lawyers who fail to meet the CLE requirement. When the order is issued, non-compliant lawyers are assessed a third $100 late penalty fee.
    (Regulation Section 18)
  • How do I have my license reactivated after being placed on administrative suspension status due to non-compliance with the CLE requirement ?
    The first step is to contact the CLE Board to advise that you would like to come off the administrative suspension status. The CLE Board will then advise you of your requirements to come back to active status. Once the hours and / or fees are satisfied, the PA CLE Board will certify compliance with the Attorney Registration Office.
  • Will I owe any additional fees after the PA CLE Board certifies compliance with the CLE requirements to the Attorney Registration Office ?
    Nothing further is owed to the CLE Board; however, the Attorney Registration at the Disciplinary Board may require additional payments.
  • If I find I am unable to complete my requirements prior to my deadline, may I be granted an extension of time ?
    Extensions can be granted for lawyers as follows:
    (a) Lawyers with medical conditions which prevent from attending CLE courses.
    (b) Lawyers residing out of the country.
    (c) Lawyers involved in a lengthy trial (i.e., three (3) months and longer)
    (d) Severe financial difficulties.

    Extension requests can be made by emailing or writing to the PA CLE Board.
    a. If the request is due to medical conditions, please include a letter from the physician detailing the medical condition or any form indicating medical condition.
    b. If the request is for a lawyer residing out of the country, the lawyer's letter should include how long the lawyer has been out of the country and when the lawyer plans to return.
    c. Lawyers requesting extensions due to lengthy trials must include the caption of the case, court term and number, name of the judge, the date trial began, and estimated ending date.
    d. Lawyers requesting extensions for financial difficulties must explain, in a letter, their situation in as much detail as possible.

    NOTE: A $50.00 filing fee must accompany the extension request, except in (a) and (d) above.
    (Rule 113(d) and Regulation Section 18)
  • What happens if I earn more credit hours than are required for the year ?
    A lawyer may carry forward live courses into the succeeding two (2) years, up to two (2) times the current year's requirement. Distance Learning hours will not carry forward. (Regulation Section 5(c) "Credit for CLE Activities")
  • Will my Compliance Group ever change ?
    No. There are many practical and technological reasons which prevent such change.
  • What happens if I change my last name ?
    Nothing. You always remain in the same Compliance Group. Your Compliance Group never changes, even if you change your last name. Request for Name Change
  • What provisions are made for lawyers licensed in Pennsylvania but who reside and/or work in another state or country ?
    The Board makes available Non-Resident Active Deferral to those lawyers who neither practice law nor reside within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Non-Resident Active Deferral is detailed in (Regulation Section 6(e), "Waivers, Extensions and Deferrals"). To apply for this deferral, log in to your MyPacle account at www.pacle.org. The Non-Resident Deferral must be renewed annually.
  • What happens if I go from active to voluntary inactive status with my license ?
    A lawyer who places their license on voluntary inactive status prior to the current year's CLE deadline will have his/her CLE requirement deferred.
    (Regulation Section 6(b)).
  • How does a lawyer assume voluntary inactive status ?
    License status changes are processed by the Attorney Registration office. For information on assuming inactive status, please visit the Attorney Registration section on the Disciplinary Board’s website.

    Please note: The processing time to assume voluntary inactive status can take from 4 – 6 weeks during the annual renewal period; however, if you assume voluntary inactive status at any other time in the year, the process is approximately one week.

    While on voluntary inactive status, the CLE requirement is deferred. Upon return to active status the lawyer shall complete the CLE requirement by the deadline of the current year (twelve (12.0) hours) and will have until the following compliance deadline to complete the standard requirement plus the deferred CLE requirements. The deferred requirement is not to exceed two (2) times the current annual requirement. Thus the total due in the second year will be thirty-six (36.0) hours.
  • What happens if I go from inactive to active ?
    Upon return to active status the lawyer shall complete the CLE requirement by the deadline of the current year (twelve (12.0) hours) and will have until the following compliance deadline to complete the standard requirement plus the deferred CLE requirements. The deferred requirement is not to exceed two (2) times the current annual requirement. Thus the total due in the second year will be thirty-six (36.0) hours.

    Attorneys who reside outside of Pennsylvania have the option to continue deferring their requirement with the Non-Resident Active Deferral. An application for Non-Resident Deferral is available by accessing your MyPacle account online at www.pacle.org.
  • How does a lawyer return from inactive to active status ?
    The Attorney Registration office at the Disciplinary Board processes all requests for return to active status.

    Note: Depending on the length of time a license has been inactive, different reactivation instructions apply. If a license has been inactivated for more than three (3) years, additional requirements and procedures are required. More information.

    After the Disciplinary Board reactivates a lawyer, the PA CLE Board will inform the lawyer of his/her CLE requirements.
  • Are there lawyers who do not have to take CLE ?
    Members of the Judiciary, who have been appointed or elected and are serving as a judicial official of the United States of America and whose position prohibits the individual from the practice of law within the territorial jurisdiction where the individual serves as a judge, are exempt from CLE during the period they are judges. A member of the judiciary returning to regular active status has no deferred requirement but must complete the current requirement within twelve (12) months of returning to active status.
    (Regulation Section 6(c))

    Active duty military lawyers, assigned outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have their CLE requirements waived for any compliance period of their active duty, upon written request. Within thirty (30) days after termination of active duty, the lawyer must notify the CLE board - and will be required to comply with CLE requirements for the forthcoming year.
    (Regulation Section 6(d))

    Newly admitted lawyers, including lawyers admitted on motion from other states, shall be exempt from CLE requirements for a period of at least twelve (12) months, not to exceed twenty-four (24) months from the date of admission, depending on the compliance group to which the newly admitted lawyer is assigned and the compliance period for that group.
    (Regulation Section 4)

    Lawyers on Voluntary Inactive status and those on Non-Resident Active deferral defer their current CLE requirements . NRA deferral must be renewed every year.
    (Regulation Section 6(b) and 6(e))
  • Where and when will I be able to attend CLE courses ?
    CLE providers will advertise the dates and locations of their presentations. You may contact your local bar association, or access PA CLE's 'Approved Courses' page for a searchable course database that is updated daily.
  • What is a provider ?
    A provider is a corporation or association which has been accredited by the Board to provide continuing legal education under the PA Rules or a corporation or association which provides one (1) or more continuing legal education courses approved by the Board.

    (Rule 102 and Rule 106(c) and Regulation Section 11)

    An accredited provider is one who has made application for accredited status and demonstrated to the Board that its CLE activities have consistently met the standards of quality set forth in the Rules and Regulations, or is an accredited law school.
    (Regulation Section 11)
  • How will the CLE Board learn of my attendance ?
    An accredited provider is required to notify the Board of your attendance within 30 days after the CLE activity. However, courses taken from other than accredited providers must first be approved by the Board. Once the course is approved, attendance may be reported by the provider or by you with the submission of a properly executed Certificate of Attendance and appropriate attendance fees.
    (Regulation Section 14 and Section 18)
  • Who approves CLE activities ?
    The Pennsylvania CLE Board.
  • Do my CLE credits have to be taken in Pennsylvania ?
    No. The key factor is whether the CLE activity is approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board, not the location of the CLE activity. A complete listing of approved upcoming courses is available by accessing PA CLE's Approved Courses page for a serachable course database that is updated daily.
  • Should I keep a list of my CLE activities ?
    Each active lawyer shall maintain records sufficient to establish compliance with the CLE requirement in the event of a dispute with the final compliance report.
    (Regulation Section 7)   The recommendation from the Board is that you maintain those records for three (3) years. The MyPacle account access is intended to assist in tracking of courses and credits.
  • If I teach a CLE program, do I receive credit for it ?
    The Board may assign credit to teaching activities involving courses accredited under the Rules and these Regulations upon receiving a Teaching Application describing the teaching activity. The Teaching Application can be found on our website.

    Credit for teaching activities will be given on the basis of two (2) 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.
    (Regulation Section 5(b))
  • May I claim credit for attending a law school class ?
    Yes, if the law school is approved as a CLE provider, the courses would otherwise qualify under the Rules and Regulations, and the class is not required to qualify for awarding a basic law degree. Courses offered toward graduate or advance degrees may receive credit upon submission of an appropriate grade transcript accompanied by a letter to the Board. One (1) hour of CLE credit may be given for each approved graduate credit you are awarded by the law school.
    (Regulation Section 5(f))
  • May I claim credit for teaching a law school class ?
    Normally no. Teaching a law school course is not considered to be continuing your legal education; in special circumstances, credit may be considered if you are not a member of the faculty.
  • What is the minimum number of credit hours I can receive for attending a PA CLE approved course ?
    Participants shall receive credit of one (1) hour for each sixty (60) minutes for all CLE courses. After attending at least an hour, credit may be granted for each half hour of participation. Credit will not be awarded for participation less than sixty (60) minutes.
  • How are credit hours calculated ?
    Based on the actual time spent at the course, one hour credit will be given for each 60 minutes of instruction, not including introductory remarks or breaks, but including question and answer periods. One half hour credit will be given for attendance of at least 30 minutes beyond the initial 60 minutes.
    (Regulation Section 5(a))
  • May I claim credit for attending the in-house CLE activities of my law firm ?
    No. The Rules and Regulations do not provide for in-house training.
    (Regulation Section 5(d))
  • What if I want to attend a CLE activity and the provider has not applied for approval ?
    If the provider is NOT an accredited provider in PA, you may apply, as an individual, to have the CLE activity approved. CLE activities may be approved even if the provider does not seek approval. (Regulation Section 12) The application for approval is available in the Forms section of this website.
  • May I send just 1 check for multiple fees, i.e., application fee, attendance fee, NRA fee and late fees ?
    Yes, one check is preferred when making more than one payment.
  • Who should the check be made payable to ?
    The check can be made payable to PA CLE.
  • How do I calculate attendance fees for credits taken ?
    Pennsylvania grants one (1) CLE credit for each 60 minutes of attendance. The attendance fee is $1.50 per credit hour or any portion thereof. Pennsylvania accredits only in whole or half hour increments.

    Click on the link below. CALCULATE ATTENDANCE FEES
  • My bar association plans to become a provider. What fees are owed to the Board with the application? What are the other Board fees ?
    The Board has adopted a fee schedule, which is attached to the Regulations.
    (Regulation Section 18)
  • I do not have credit for a course that I took with an accredited provider. Should I send my paperwork and fee directly to the CLE Board ?
    No, accredited providers pay all credit hour fees for attorneys. If your course is not posted within 40 days from the date of the course, please contact the provider.
  • What happens if I am on active duty with the military ?
    Upon written request, active duty military lawyers, assigned outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have their CLE requirements waived for any compliance period of their active duty. Within thirty (30) days after termination of active duty, the lawyer must notify the board - and will be required to comply with CLE requirements for the forthcoming year.

    Example: A lawyer in compliance group 1 with an April 30 annual deadline is called to active duty in February 2007 and serves until July 2008.

    Since the period of active military service extends over three compliance periods (those with deadlines of April, 2007; April 2008, April 2009) the CLE requirement for all three compliance cycles is waived.

    In this example, the next deadline by which CLE will be due is April 30, 2010.
    (Regulation Section 6(d))
  • How will my distance learning credits be applied to my PA CLE Transcript ?
    PA CLE's compliance tracking system will maximize distance learning credits earned each compliance period. Attorneys may complete up to six (6) credits of distance learning per period. Distance learning credits do not carry forward to subsequent compliance periods.

    Example: During the 2015 compliance period, a lawyer attends 12 hours of non-distance learning credits. A week before the compliance deadline six more credits are earned via distance learning.

    Result: PA CLE's compliance tracking system will apply the six hours of distance learning credit to the 2015 compliance period. The system will carry forward the four remaining non-distance learning credits in accordance with the regular rules and regulations for CLE.
  • How do I update my address ?
    Address changes are processed through the Attorney Registration Office. To update your official address of record, please complete the Request for Address Update Form that can be found on our Forms and Explanations key under the 'Lawyer' icon.
  • How do I update my last name ?
    Name changes are processed through the Attorney Registration Office. To update your name, click here to access a list of forms.
  • How can I find out more about the CLE requirements ?
    For additional information, contact the Communications Representatives at the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board by calling (800) 497-2253 or via email pacleb@pacle.org.
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