Emeritus Attorneys: It’s Time to Report MCLE Hours
June 2017 is the first time emeritus members must comply with MCLE requirements. The 15-hour MCLE requirement will be due by your birth month:
June birth month – June 2017
July birth month – July 2017
August birth month – August 2017
September birth month – September 2017
October birth month – October 2017
November birth month – November 2017
December birth month – December 2017
January birth month – January 2018
February birth month – February 2018
March birth month – March 2018
April birth month – April 2018
May birth month – May 2018
If you are retired or no longer practicing law, you may be eligible to claim an MCLE non-practicing exemption or inactive membership status.
Contact MCLE at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (512) 427-1806 to claim a non-practicing exemption.
Contact Membership at email@example.com, or (512) 427-1383 to claim inactive membership status.
MCLE Emeritus Exemption Status: Quick Facts
The Supreme Court issued an order dated April 28, 2015, that amends Article XII of the State Bar Rules to eliminate the MCLE exemption for emeritus attorneys. Click here to read the order.
June 2017 is the first time emeritus members must comply with MCLE requirements. The 15-hour MCLE requirement will be due by your birth month.
Members who turned 70 on or after June 1, 2016, will continue to comply with MCLE requirements each year as usual.
Previously exempt emeritus members (members who reached the age of 70 before June 1, 2016) will need to fulfill MCLE requirements for the compliance year beginning on or after June 1, 2016.
For previously exempt emeritus members, accredited CLE and self-study completed within the 12 months immediately preceding the first compliance year may be used for the initial compliance, provided that these CLE hours have not been used for compliance in a prior year.
The amendments to the MCLE Rules were published in the June 2015 edition of the Texas Bar Journal.
Emeritus members will be exempt from non-compliance penalties for late reporting and for initial suspension fees. However, emeritus members will not be exempt from fees associated with consecutive year suspensions or multiple year suspensions.
Why was the MCLE Exemption for Emeritus attorneys eliminated? The recommendation to eliminate the MCLE Emeritus Exemption came from the State Bar Task Force on Aging Lawyer Issues (click here to read the task force report). The purpose of eliminating the MCLE Emeritus Exemption is to ensure that all active practicing attorneys remain current in the law. The recommendation was approved by the State Bar MCLE Committee and then subsequently by the State Bar Board of Directors on April 10, 2015, and by order of the Supreme Court of Texas.
When does the MCLE requirement for Emeritus attorneys become effective? June 2017 is the first time emeritus members must comply with MCLE requirements. The 15-hour MCLE requirement will be due by your birth month.
Are current emeritus members “grandfathered” and exempt from the new requirements? No.
Are there low-cost CLE options for those on a fixed income? Yes. There are a variety of low-cost and free options available. MCLE staff can help with finding suitable CLE, or attorneys can use the course search site at www.texasbar.com/coursesearch.
What if I only practice for friends and family? Are there prorated hours for limited practices? MCLE regulations allow attorneys to claim a non-practicing exemption if practice is done on behalf of family members only. Otherwise, the full 15-hour requirement, including 3 ethics hours, is due each year.
What if I am retired or no longer practice law? Attorneys who no longer practice law may claim MCLE Non-Practicing Status or Inactive Membership Status. To be eligible for either status as an option for MCLE compliance, an attorney would need to be non-practicing or inactive during the entire MCLE compliance year. Members who practice law at the beginning of a compliance year and later change to inactivate status are not eligible for an exemption but may defer their MCLE requirements.
What is the difference between MCLE Non-Practicing Status and Inactive Membership Status? Either status will exempt an attorney from MCLE requirements. However, members who request Inactive Membership Status are ineligible to vote in State Bar elections. Members who request MCLE Non-Practicing Status are considered active members of the State Bar, can continue to vote in State Bar elections, but do not need to complete the yearly 15-hour MCLE requirement.
How do I request an MCLE Non-Practicing Status or Inactive Status? To request Inactive Membership Status, contact the Membership Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 427-1383. To request MCLE Non-Practicing Status, contact MCLE at email@example.com or (512) 427-1806.
What if I am ill, disabled, or unable to travel to MCLE courses? Travel and attendance at live CLE is not required. All MCLE hours can be completed through approved webinars, teleconferences, DVDs, and downloadable programs. Hardship exemptions and extensions may be available for those who have experienced medical or other extraordinary hardship during the compliance year. Contact MCLE staff for information on applying for an extension or hardship exemption.
How do I contact MCLE? MCLE staff can be contacted at (800) 204-2222, (512) 427-1806, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I find other resources? The State Bar Task Force on Aging Lawyer Issues wanted to develop resources for attorneys on issues related to aging, such as transitioning to retirement, mental health issues, and staying connected to the community. Visit texasbar.com/aginglawyerissues to learn more.