MCLE Requirements and FAQs for Newly Licensed Attorneys

What are the general requirements of the MCLE program?

Every active member of the State Bar must complete a minimum of 15 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) during each MCLE compliance year. At least 12 of the total 15 CLE hours need to be completed through attendance at Accredited CLE activities. Accredited CLE includes any program that has been accredited by MCLE and may include live CLE programs, live and on-demand online CLE, and downloadable versions of live Accredited CLE programs. Three of the 15 hours can be in the form of self-study activities, which would include reading legal periodicals, or attending non-accredited CLE activities. At least three hours of the minimum 15-hour requirement must be in the area of legal ethics/professional responsibility; one hour of this minimum 3-hour requirement may be completed in the form of self-study credit. Remember, in Texas it is permissible for lawyers to complete all 15 hours of required continuing legal education through online learning. There is no in-person CLE requirement.

What is my "MCLE Compliance Year”?

For most attorneys, the MCLE compliance year is a one-year period that begins on the first day of the attorney's birth month and ends one year later on the last day of the month that immediately precedes the birth month. However, for newly licensed attorneys, the initial MCLE compliance year is a 24-month period that begins on the first day of the attorney's first birth month to occur after the licensing date and ends two years later, on the last day of the month that immediately precedes the attorney's birth month.

For example: Assume an attorney has an admission date in May 2020, and March is the attorney's birth month. Since March 1, 2021 would be the first day of the next birth month to occur after admission, then the first compliance year would begin on March 1, 2021, and end 24 months later on the last day of the month that immediately precedes the attorneys birth month, or in this case, February 28, 2023. Credits taken between these two dates will be applied toward the attorney's initial compliance year. See Compliance Year Calculation Chart below.

In addition, credits completed one year prior to the start of the initial MCLE compliance year will be allowed. In the example given above, the attorney may use CLE credits accumulated on or after March 1, 2020 toward the 15-hour minimum requirement of the initial compliance year.

How will my attendance at MCLE accredited activities be reported to the Bar?

If you attend an Accredited CLE course or seminar, you might receive a State Bar Course Attendance Form which you will need to complete, sign and leave with the sponsor at the end of the course. The sponsor will then forward the attendance forms to the MCLE Department and the attendance information will then be entered in your current MCLE compliance record. Sponsors can also report attendance electronically, and the sponsor may have a list to sign with your name, bar number and hours attended. If you attend an accredited activity via the Internet or by telephone, the sponsor of the activity will still submit your attendance. The sponsor may complete the attendance form for you, or report electronically to the MCLE office. However, please note that it sometimes takes several weeks to receive attendance information from the sponsor, regardless of the method of presentation.

If I attend a course that does not have advance MCLE accreditation, how can I receive credit for it?

If a CLE course does NOT have advance MCLE accreditation in Texas and if the course is conducted at a location within Texas or is delivered electronically (online, satellite, webcast, teleconference, downloadable CLE) you can receive MCLE credit for the course only if the sponsor files an application with the MCLE Department and the course is subsequently accredited.

However, you can file an individual request to receive MCLE credit for an out-of state course or seminar. A completed State Bar Application for Accreditation of CLE Activity along with the required $25 accreditation fee should besubmitted for each out-of-state course. Individuals may not request credit for electronically delivered CLE programs such as teleconferences, online, satellite or downloadable CLE.

What is the difference between Accredited CLE, Self-study and Ethics credit hours?

CLE hours can be in the form of either Accredited CLE hours or Self-study hours. Self-study is reported individually by each attorney and is limited to no more than three hours per MCLE compliance year.

Accredited CLE hours are received by attending any course that has been MCLE accredited for use in completing MCLE requirements. Accredited CLE can include attendance at live CLE seminars, attendance at live or on-demand (pre-recorded) teleconferences, webcasts, online streaming audio/video programs, or through the use of accredited downloadable CLE programs.

Of the two types of CLE credit hours, Accredited CLE or Self-study, EITHER can be in the area of legal ethics or professional responsibility. However, only one of the three-hour minimum requirements for legal ethics may be satisfied through Self-study. The remaining two ethics/professional responsibility hours must be completed through Accredited CLE activities.

Will I be required to file a report at the end of my MCLE compliance year?

MCLE Rules do not require that an annual MCLE report be filed with the State Bar. However, attorneys must report CLE credits that are not currently listed on the MCLE record. Failure to timely report CLE credit hours needed for compliance could result in a non-compliance penalty of $100, $200 or $300.

The MCLE Annual Verification Report will be mailed to you eight weeks prior to your birth month. Upon receipt of the report, you should review your transcript of CLE credits and make any additions or corrections in accordance with the instructions on the form, or make additions or changes to your MCLE record via the “My Bar Page” link located at www.texasbar.com/mcle.

If no changes are needed, and the report shows that you have completed the requisite number of CLE hours needed for the compliance year, no further action on your part is required.

How do I add Self-study CLE credit to my MCLE compliance record?

A maximum of three hours of Self-study credit can be applied toward your MCLE requirements for each MCLE compliance year. (At least 12 hours of the minimum 15-hour requirement for each compliance year must be in the form of Accredited CLE). Self-study credit should be added at the end of each MCLE compliance year and can be added online anytime via the “My Bar Page” link located at www.texasbar.com/mcle, or you may request a CLE Credit Input Form from the MCLE department.

What if my minimum CLE credits are not completed or reported by the last day of my MCLE compliance year?

If you have NOT completed and reported the minimum 15 hours of CLE by the last day of your MCLE compliance year, you will automatically be given your birth month as a grace period in order to complete and report your credits without a penalty. However, if the minimum CLE credits are not completed and reported by the last day of your birth month, then you would be in non-compliance and subject to a penalty. The non-compliance penalty is determined by the date upon which the MCLE Director receives the member’s report of the completed hours, 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. Payment of the non-compliance fee is required in order to bring a member’s MCLE record into compliance. Failure to pay the non-compliance fee shall be considered non-compliance with MCLE requirements and will subject the member to suspension.

Will I receive any type of notice of my MCLE requirements on my birth month?

If your MCLE record reflects that you are still lacking the minimum CLE credits for the compliance year, a Reminder Notice will be sent to you on the first day of your birth month advising that the remaining credits need to be completed and reported by the last day of the month to avoid a penalty fee. You can also contact the MCLE Department at any time during the year to check your current status, or you can check your status over the Internet at www.texasbar.com/mcle under the “My Bar Page” link.

What if I do not receive my Annual Verification Report?

The MCLE Annual Verification Report will be mailed to you at the address shown for you in the Membership records here at the Bar. If your report is not received two months prior to your birth month, please contact the MCLE Department so that a duplicate report can be prepared and mailed.

Please note that it is each attorney's responsibility to maintain a current mailing address with the Membership Department of the Bar. Any failure to meet the MCLE requirements due to an attorney's failure to maintain a correct address with the Bar will not be allowed as a reason for failure to meet the MCLE requirement.

If I attend a CLE course during my MCLE compliance year and it does not appear on the transcript portion of my Annual Verification Report, how do I add this credit to my record?

First, verify with the sponsor of the activity that it was accredited for Texas MCLE credit. CLE activities accredited in other states are NOT automatically accredited in Texas, nor are all online CLE and downloadable CLE programs. If the activity is accredited in Texas, the sponsor of the activity will be assigned a 9-digit course number for the activity. Credit for the course can be added to your MCLE compliance record online at the MCLE reporting site found under the “My Bar Page” feature at www.texabar.com/mcle or you may request a CLE Credit Input Form from the MCLE department.

If I accumulate CLE credit hours in excess of the minimum requirement, can I carry over these hours to the next MCLE compliance year?

Yes. You may carry over a maximum of 15 credit hours (including three hours of ethics and three hours of self-study) from one MCLE compliance year to the next. However, any hours earned in excess of the 15-hour maximum carry-forward, cannot be used for MCLE purposes.

Are there any attorneys who are exempt from the MCLE requirements?

Yes. The MCLE Rules provide for exemptions and/or special provisions for the following categories of attorneys:

(1)  Those placed on Inactive status with the Membership Department of the Bar; and who have been Inactive during the entire MCLE compliance year;

(2)  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;

(3)  Full-time and Part-time Faculty members of ABA approved law schools, except for the requirement in legal ethics/legal professional responsibility;

(4)  Judges, both state and federal;

(5)  Those who are employed as full-time attorneys with certain offices of the Texas Legislature;

(6)  Members of the U.S. or Texas Legislature or members of Congress; and

(7)  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.

Contact Us
If you have any additional questions concerning the MCLE program in Texas, please contact us at:

State Bar of Texas
MCLE Department
P.O. Box 13007
Austin, Texas 78711-3007
Phone: 1-800-204-2222, ext. 1806, or (512) 427-1806
FAX: (512) 427-4423
E-mail: MCLE@texasbar.com
Website: www.texasbar.com “My Bar Page”

Compliance Year Calculation for Attorneys with May 2020 License Dates

 

Official Compliance Year
(Includes one year period prior to initial start date)

 

Birth Month

 

Beginning Date

 

Ending Date

 

January

 

01/02/20

 

01/01/23

 

February

 

02/01/20

 

01/31/23

 

March

 

03/01/20

 

02/28/23

 

April

 

04/01/20

 

03/31/23

 

May

 

05/01/20

 

04/30/23

 

June

 

06/01/19

 

05/31/22

 

July

 

07/01/19

 

06/30/22

 

August

 

08/01/19

 

07/31/22

 

September

 

09/01/19

 

08/31/22

 

October

 

10/01/19

 

09/30/22

 

November

 

11/01/19

 

10/31/22

 

December

 

12/01/19

 

11/30/22

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