MCLE Requirements and FAQs for Newly Licensed Attorneys
What is my MCLE compliance year?
The MCLE compliance year is a one-year period that begins on the first day of the attorney's birth month (except January, beginning January 2nd) and ends the next year on the last day of the month preceding the birth month (except January, ending January 1st of the following year).
For newly licensed attorneys, the initial MCLE compliance year is a 24-month period beginning on the first day of the attorney's birth month after the licensing date and ends two years later on the last day of the month preceding the attorney's birth month.
For example: An attorney has an admission date of November 2021, and September is the attorney's birth month. The initial compliance year begins on the first day of the next birth month to occur after admission; this attorney’s initial compliance year would begin on September 1, 2022. The initial compliance year ends 24 months later on the last day of the month immediately preceding the attorney’s birth month; in this case, August 31, 2024.
Credits taken between the licensing date and compliance year start date will be applied toward the attorney's initial compliance year. In the example given above, the attorney may use CLE credits accumulated on or after September 1, 2021 toward the 15-hour minimum requirement of the initial compliance year. For more information, see the Compliance Year Calculation Chart located below.
What are the MCLE requirements?
Active members of the State Bar must complete a minimum of 15.00 hours (3.00 hours of which must be in ethics) of continuing legal education (CLE) every compliance year.
At least 12.00 of the total 15.00 hours must be accredited CLE. The remainder can be fulfilled through self-study. All 15.00 hours may be completed through online learning. There is no in-person CLE requirement.
MCLE credits, including self-study, can be reported online on the attorney’s My Bar Page account at www.texasbar.com.
What is self-study credit?
A maximum of 3.00 hours (including 1.00 hour of ethics) of the 15.00 hours can be fulfilled through self-study. Self-study credit includes reading legal, peer-reviewed publications, or attending non-accredited CLE activities. For a comprehensive list of approved self-study credit, please refer to the MCLE Regulations, Section 2.2.
How many hours can I carry over?
Attorneys are permitted to carry over a maximum of 15.00 credit hours, including 3.00 hours of ethics, from one MCLE compliance year to the next. Three of these hours (one hour ethics) can be fulfilled through self-study. Any additional hours earned cannot be applied to future compliance years.
Can I receive credit for an out-of-state course?
For programs not accredited in Texas, attorneys may apply for approval only if the course was held out-of-state and attended in-person. If the course was conducted in Texas or delivered electronically, a Texas MCLE sponsor must apply for accreditation.
To receive credit for a course attended in-person and out-of-state, attorneys must apply for accreditation online on their My Bar Page account. Applications shall be substantiated by a timed agenda, presentation materials, and speaker biographies. A $25 fee is due for each course application and must be paid before the course is reviewed.
How is my attendance added to my transcript?
Sponsors track attendance at in-person events by providing an attendance card or a QR code and will verify attendance for online courses. While sponsors are required to report attendance, an attorney’s reporting deadline may not be met depending on the date the course was taken. For example, a course sponsor typically reports attendance on Mondays. If a course was taken on a Tuesday and the attorney has a deadline of Friday, the attendance may not be added to the attorney’s record on time. Please note: MCLE sponsors are required to report attendance but are not obligated to meet attorney deadlines. It is the attorney’s responsibility to ensure that attendance is added before their reporting deadline.
How can I report my attendance?
Attorneys can report their attendance for programs accredited in Texas for free at any time by logging into their My Bar Page “My MCLE” account and clicking “Add Attendance”. If the course was accredited in Texas, the sponsor will supply a nine-digit course number. Attendance will not be duplicated if a sponsor reports attendance after the attorney, and vice versa. A copy of the attorney’s transcript can be found under “Transcript”.
Do I need to file a report at the end of my compliance year?
MCLE Rules do not require attorneys to file an annual MCLE report. However, attorneys must report CLE credits not listed on their transcript by the reporting deadline. Failure to timely report CLE credit hours can result in noncompliance fees. For information about the Annual Verification Report, please see below.
What is the annual verification report?
The MCLE Annual Verification Report is sent to the attorney’s email address on file with the State Bar Membership Department eight weeks prior to the birth month. The report shows reported attendance and calculates hours earned versus owed for the current compliance year. Upon receipt, attorneys should review their attendance to ensure all courses have been reported. Any additions or corrections can be made on the attorney’s My Bar Page account.
If no changes are necessary and the report reads as “In Compliance” then no further action is required.
What if I do not receive my annual verification report?
If the electronic verification report is unopened, a paper copy will be mailed to the address on file.
If a copy of the report is not received sixty days prior to the first day of the birth month, please contact the MCLE Department. Please note that it is the attorney's responsibility to maintain current contact information with the Membership Department. Failure to meet MCLE requirements due to an incorrect address will not be considered a reason to waive fees or grant extensions.
Will I receive any type of notice of my MCLE requirements on my birth month?
If the attorney’s record lacks MCLE hours, a reminder noticewill be sent on the first day of the birth month to the preferred email address on file with the Membership Department. Remaining credits must be submitted by the last day of the birth month to avoid falling into noncompliance. Attorneys can check their MCLE status on their My Bar Page account.
What if my requirements are not reported by the last day of my compliance year?
Attorneys who lack MCLE hours by the last day of their compliance year are given their birth month as a grace period to complete and report their hours without penalty. If attendance is not completed and reported by the last day of the birth month, the attorney will fall into noncompliance and be subject to a penalty.
Noncompliance fees are determined by the date hours are completed and reported to the MCLE Director. The fees are as follows:
$100 if received within one month after the birth month,
$200 if received within two months after the birth month, and
$300 if received thereafter, but before suspension of the member.
For more information about noncompliance suspensions, please visit www.texasbar.com/mcle.
Can an attorney be exempt from the MCLE requirements?
Yes. The MCLE Rules provide for exemptions or special provisions for the following categories of attorneys:
Those placed on Inactive status with the Membership Department of the Bar; and who have been Inactive during the entire MCLE compliance year;
Those who are not engaged in the practice of law in Texas at any time during their MCLE compliance year and have elected to claim an MCLE Non-Practicing Exemption;
Full-time and Part-time Faculty members of ABA approved law schools, except for the requirement in legal ethics/legal professional responsibility;
Judges, both state and federal;
Those who are employed as full-time attorneys with certain offices of the Texas Legislature;
Members of the U.S. or Texas Legislature or members of Congress; and
Those with circumstances that demonstrate an undue hardship due to an extreme medical or physical disability that prevents compliance.
Some of these categories are true exemptions, meaning that the attorney would not have to complete any CLE while claiming the exempt status; others are special credit allowances that may or may not completely satisfy the full minimum requirements for CLE.
If there are any additional questions about the Texas MCLE program, please contact the MCLE Department.