Most U.S. attorneys must earn annual continuing legal education (CLE) credits to maintain their licenses to practice. Daily life as an attorney can be so busy that it’s easy to put off CLE until it's too late. But even if your compliance deadline is closing in on you (or worse, has already passed), you still have time to take control. Look for on-demand CLE or, if necessary, a live or in-person session as soon as possible. Attorneys who do not complete their mandatory CLE requirements face repercussions, which may be as severe as suspension of their law licenses. Below is an overview of the consequences for CLE noncompliance in each state.
Alabama CLE Noncompliance
Rule 10 of the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure governs noncompliance with the Alabama state bar mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) rules. First, the state bar will serve a lawyer who is not in compliance with a notice. If the lawyer does not come into compliance within 60 days of the notice, the disciplinary board will issue an order suspending the lawyer’s license. The lawyer may file an affidavit indicating compliance within 90 days of the suspension order. If the disciplinary board is satisfied with the affidavit, the board will reinstate the lawyer. If the lawyer has been suspended for more than 90 days, the lawyer will have to file both an affidavit and a petition for reinstatement.
Alaska CLE Noncompliance
Alaska Bar Rule 66 governs noncompliance with Alaska’s CLE standards. An attorney who has received a notice of noncompliance has 30 days to complete the necessary credits, demonstrate that the notice was incorrect, or submit an affidavit of compliance. If none of these requirements are met, the attorney will be suspended. To be reinstated, the attorney must (1) comply with the CLE and reporting requirement, (2) pay a reinstatement fee, (3) pay any dues that accrued during the suspension; and (4) have the compliance certified to the Alaska Supreme Court.
Arizona CLE Noncompliance
Rule 45 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona governs mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE). The state bar will give a noncompliant lawyer notice. That lawyer will then have 30 days to comply before being suspended. A suspended lawyer may be reinstated when the lawyer has completed the required CLE, along with payment of a reinstatement fee, and payment of all delinquency fees.
Arkansas CLE Noncompliance
Rule 6 of the Rules for Minimum Continuing Legal Education governs noncompliance. The state bar will serve a noncompliant lawyer with notice. The lawyer then has 30 days to provide written evidence that he or she either did actually comply with the CLE requirements or has corrected the deficiency. If the lawyer fails to provide the required evidence, the Arkansas Continuing Legal Education Board may suspend the attorney’s license. An attorney who has been suspended and wants to be reinstated must file a petition for reinstatement.
California CLE Noncompliance
Rule 9.31 of the California Rules of Court governs minimum CLE. A California attorney who does not meet the state’s CLE requirements will be moved to inactive status. To be reinstated, an attorney must submit (1) a completed MCLE compliance card, (2) a $75 noncompliance fee, (3) a $200 noncompliance reinstatement fee, and (4) documentation of compliance.
Colorado CLE Noncompliance
If a Colorado attorney fails to comply with Colorado’s CLE rules, the Colorado Supreme Court will issue a statement of noncompliance to the attorney. The attorney has14 days to either correct the noncompliance or request a hearing. If the attorney is still found to be noncompliant, the Colorado Supreme Court may suspend the attorney. If an attorney is suspended on this basis, he or she may be reinstated after correcting the deficiency and providing proof. The attorney must petition the Colorado Supreme Court for reinstatement and pay a reinstatement filing fee.
Connecticut CLE Noncompliance
Sec. 2-27A of the Connecticut Practice Book governs minimum CLE in Connecticut. The state bar must give noncompliant attorneys at least 60 days to comply with CLE requirements before determining the appropriate action.
Delaware CLE Noncompliance
Rule 10 of the Delaware Rules for Continuing Legal Education governs CLE noncompliance in Delaware. If an attorney fails to complete the required CLE in a given year, he or she must submit a plan for completing the necessary credits. If the attorney fails to complete the plan, the Commission on Continuing Legal Education will send the attorney a notice of noncompliance. At that point, the attorney has 20 days to submit evidence of compliance. If the attorney fails to submit the evidence, the commission will file a statement of noncompliance with Disciplinary Counsel. The Disciplinary Counsel will then determine the appropriate action.
Florida CLE Noncompliance
Rule 6-10 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar governs CLE in Florida. An attorney who fails to meet the annual Florida CLE requirement will be considered delinquent and not permitted to practice law in the state. A delinquent attorney may appeal to the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar. Attorneys who have been delinquent for fewer than five years are eligible for reinstatement. A delinquent attorney seeking reinstatement must file a petition outlining the reason for the delinquency and demonstrate good cause as to why the petition should be granted. The attorney must also include a $150 reinstatement fee.
Georgia CLE Noncompliance
If a Georgia attorney is noncompliant with the state’s CLE requirements, the Supreme Court of Georgia will enter an appropriate order, including suspending the attorney from the practice of law. To be reinstated, the attorney must correct the deficiency and pay penalty fees and a reinstatement fee.
Hawaii CLE Noncompliance
Rule 17 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii governs CLE in Hawaii. An attorney who has not completed the required CLE credits in a given year will be given a notice with an opportunity to become compliant. If the attorney fails to satisfy the CLE requirement, the attorney faces administrative suspension. The attorney may be reinstated upon completion of the required CLE credits and payment of a reinstatement fee, along with any other fees.
Idaho CLE Noncompliance
Section IV of Idaho Bar Commission Rules governs MCLE in Idaho. The state bar will send a notice to any attorney who fails to meet the state’s CLE requirements. If the attorney remains noncompliant, the Idaho Supreme Court will cancel the attorney’s license, and the attorney will no longer be permitted to practice law in the state.
Illinois CLE Noncompliance
Rule 796 of the Rules on Admission and Discipline of Attorneys governs the enforcement of Illinois’s MCLE requirements. The director of administration will send a notice of noncompliance to attorneys who fail to submit MCLE certification within 31 days after the end of their reporting period. If the attorney doesn't provide proof of completing the CLE requirements or get an exemption, the attorney will be reported to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC). The ARDC will then send notice that the attorney will be suspended from the practice of law.
Indiana CLE Noncompliance
Rule 29 of the Indiana Rules for Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys governs CLE in Indiana. Noncompliant attorneys face a $150 late fee for not meeting CLE requirements. If an attorney fails to complete the required CLE, the Indiana Supreme Court will issue an order suspending that attorney. The attorney may petition for reinstatement by completing his or her CLE requirements and paying a $200 reinstatement fee, in addition to any applicable surcharge.
Iowa CLE Noncompliance
Chapter 41 of the Iowa Court Rules governs CLE in Iowa. Attorneys who fail to fulfill their CLE requirement may be suspended. Prior to suspension, the court must serve the attorney with notice of delinquency. The attorney will have 15 days to file an affidavit demonstrating that the noncompliance was not willful. The court may grant a hearing. If the attorney does not complete his or her CLE and has not been excusing from fulfilling the requirement, the attorney may be suspended.
Kansas CLE Noncompliance
Rule 807 of the Rules Governing CLE lays out the consequences for noncompliance with Kansas’s CLE requirement. If an attorney has not earned the minimum number of CLE credits, the Office of Judicial Administration must send the attorney notice of the noncompliance. To avoid suspension, the lawyer must, within 30 days of the mailing of the notice, complete his or her CLE requirements or seek an exemption.
Kentucky CLE Noncompliance
Continuing Legal Education Rules SCR 3.675 governs CLE noncompliance in Kentucky. The Continuing Legal Education Commission must provide notice to any attorney not in compliance with CLE requirements. If an attorney does not complete his or her CLE or file for an extension, the attorney will receive another notice. This notice requires the attorney to explain–within 30 days from the date of the mailing–why the attorney's license should not be suspended. If the lawyer cannot show good cause for the deficiency, the lawyer will be suspended. The lawyer may appeal the suspension to the Supreme Court of Kentucky or apply for restoration.
Louisiana CLE Noncompliance
Part H of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Louisiana govern MCLE. The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Committee must mail a notice of noncompliance to each attorney who has not completed the required MCLE for the reporting period. Within 60 days of the notice being mailed, the attorney must provide proof that he or she is in compliance or file an affidavit explaining that there was good cause for the noncompliance. If the attorney does not complete the CLE requirements or get an exemption, the state supreme court may deem the attorney ineligible to practice law. The attorney may apply for review of any adverse decision by the state supreme court.
Maine CLE Noncompliance
Rule 5 of the Maine Bar Rules governs CLE in Maine. The CLE committee will assess a noncompliance fee to attorneys who do not have the required CLE credits on the last business day of February. Attorneys who do not meet the MCLE requirements may have their right to practice law suspended. Attorneys who have been suspended may seek reinstatement.
Maryland CLE Noncompliance
Maryland recommends but does not require CLE.
Massachusetts CLE Noncompliance
Massachusetts recommends but does not require CLE.
Michigan CLE Noncompliance
Michigan recommends but does not require CLE.
Minnesota CLE Noncompliance
Rule 11 of the Rules of the Board of Continuing Legal Education governs noncompliance with Minnesota’s CLE requirements. The director of the Minnesota State Board of Continuing Legal Education will send a notice to noncompliant lawyers who fail to complete the required CLE credits or receive an exemption. Lawyers who receive a notice have 30 days to request a hearing. If the attorney does not request a hearing, the director will report the attorney’s noncompliance to the state supreme court, recommending that the court place the attorney on involuntary restricted status.
Mississippi CLE Noncompliance
Rule 6 of the State Of Mississippi Rules And Regulations For Mandatory Continuing Legal Education governs CLE in Mississippi. The Commission on Continuing Legal Education will notify each attorney who is not compliant with the state’s CLE requirements. Noncompliant attorneys have 60 days to show cause as to why they should not be suspended. The commission will send the name of any attorney who does not show adequate cause to the state supreme court, which will mete out sanctions. Note that an attorney can file an affidavit that he or she has met the CLE requirements any time after notification of noncompliance.
Missouri CLE Noncompliance
Rule 15 of the Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary covers CLE in Missouri. Every lawyer who fails to meet the CLE requirements will be notified by mail. Within 30 days of the notice, the attorney must send evidence demonstrating compliance. The lawyer may request a hearing in front of representatives of the Missouri Bar. If the lawyer fails to meet the CLE requirements, the Missouri Bar will report the lawyer to the state supreme court. The lawyers reported to the court will be automatically suspended from practicing law. Once the lawyer has met the CLE requirements, the lawyer will be reinstated.
Montana CLE Noncompliance
The Rules For Continuing Legal Education govern CLE in Montana. The Montana Commission of Continuing Legal Education will send a notice of noncompliance to every attorney who has not fulfilled the state’s CLE requirements. If the attorney does not show compliance, the Montana State Bar will transfer the attorney to inactive status until the noncompliance is corrected.
Nebraska CLE Noncompliance
3-401.11 of the Nebraska Supreme Court Rules lays out the sanctions for failure to satisfy Nebraska’s CLE requirements. The state bar will notify the attorney of any noncompliance at least 45 days prior to the attorney’s suspension. The attorney will then have 45 days to come into compliance with the state’s CLE requirement. If the attorney does not come into compliance, the attorney will have to demonstrate why the attorney should not be suspended. If the attorney does not offer a sufficient reason, the attorney’s name will be submitted to the Nebraska Supreme Court. The Nebraska Supreme Court will then order the attorney to provide evidence as to why the attorney should not be suspended. If the attorney does not offer sufficient evidence, the Nebraska Supreme Court will then take action that it deems appropriate.
Nevada CLE Noncompliance
Rule 212 of the Nevada Supreme Court Rules lays out the penalties for noncompliance with MCLE requirements in Nevada. An attorney who is delinquent in fulfilling MCLE requirements will be subject to an extension fee. An attorney who does not meet the attorney’s MCLE requirement by April 1 will be suspended. A suspended attorney may be reinstated by becoming compliant and paying the required fees.
New Hampshire CLE Noncompliance
New Hampshire recommends but does not require CLE.
New Jersey CLE Noncompliance
Regulation 402 of the Regulations of the Board on Continuing Legal Education governs CLE in New Jersey. The Board on Continuing Legal Education will charge attorneys who have not completed the CLE requirement a noncompliance fee. The board will also give the attorneys a grace period to complete their requirement. Attorneys who remain noncompliant past the grace period will be charged an additional fee, be required to submit a reporting form, and have to provide documentation proving compliance. Additionally, noncompliant attorneys may be declared administratively ineligible to practice law. To regain eligibility, attorneys must fulfill all required credits and pay the requisite fees.
New Mexico CLE Noncompliance
The Rules for Minimum Continuing Legal Education govern MCLE in New Mexico. The Judicial Continuing Education Committee will submit to the Supreme Court of New Mexico a list of attorneys who are not compliant with and not exempt from the state’s MCLE requirements. The court will then take action that it deems appropriate.
New York CLE Noncompliance
The New York State CLE Board CLE Rules govern CLE in New York. The names of attorneys who are noncompliant with the state’s CLE requirements will be sent to the appellate division, which will determine the action to be taken.
North Carolina CLE Noncompliance
27 North Carolina Administrative Code Chapter 1D, Section .1500, Rule .1523 governs CLE noncompliance in North Carolina. An attorney who does not satisfactorily complete the CLE requirements will receive a notice of noncompliance. The attorney will have 30 days to either comply with the requirement or show good cause as to why the attorney should not be suspended. If the attorney fails to comply and does not receive an exemption, the attorney will be referred to the administrative committee for a hearing. If the administrative committee finds that the attorney is not in compliance with the CLE rules, the attorney may be suspended.
North Dakota CLE Noncompliance
The State Bar of North Carolina regulates CLE in the state under the Continuing Legal Education Policies. Policy 5.9 governs noncompliance. The state will suspend attorneys who do not satisfy their CLE requirements.
Ohio CLE Noncompliance
Rule X of the Supreme Court Rules For The Government Of The Bar Of Ohio governs CLE in Ohio. The Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education will notify an attorney who appears to be noncompliant. The attorney must provide evidence of compliance, or he or she may be sanctioned. If the attorney does not file evidence of compliance by the date set in the notice, the attorney will be subject to sanction.
Oklahoma CLE Noncompliance
The Rules of The Supreme Court of The State of Oklahoma For Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) govern MCLE in Oklahoma. Every year, the Commission on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education will send a list of all noncompliant attorneys to the executive director of the Oklahoma Bar Association. The executive director will serve each attorney with an order to show cause why the attorney's license should not be suspended after 60 days. If the attorney does not meet this requirement, the Board of Governors will recommend suspension of the attorney to the Supreme Court. For a suspended attorney to be reinstated, the attorney must file an affidavit indicating compliance with the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, as well as pay a $500 reinstatement fee.
Pennsylvania CLE Noncompliance
Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board Rule 111 governs CLE noncompliance. The Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board will notify lawyers of their CLE deficiency. The board will then give the deficient lawyer 60 days to remedy the noncompliance. If the lawyer remains noncompliant, the Board will report the noncompliance to the state supreme court and recommend that the lawyer be placed on administrative suspension.
Rhode Island CLE Noncompliance
Rule 3 of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules governs MCLE. The MCLE commission will send notification to any attorney who fails to fulfill the attorney’s MCLE requirements. The commission will then give the attorney 90 days to cure the noncompliance. If an attorney does not correct the noncompliance within 180 days of receiving notice, the lawyer will be removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys. The attorney may be reinstated within six months of being removed by completing the requisite courses, filing certification of proof with the MCLE Commission, and paying the necessary fees.
South Dakota CLE Noncompliance
South Dakota has no CLE requirement.
Tennessee CLE Noncompliance
Rule 21 of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rules governs CLE in Tennessee. The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education will send all attorneys who fail to meet their CLE obligations a notice requiring the attorney to cure the noncompliance. The commission will also charge noncompliant attorneys a $100 fee. Attorneys who fail to come into compliance by May 31 will have their names added to a suspension order. The suspension order will be sent to the state supreme court, as well as to each individual attorney. By August 10, each attorney listed in the suspension order is required to file an affidavit of compliance showing either compliance with MCLE requirements or a valid reason for exemption. If the attorney does not satisfy his or her CLE obligation or obtain an exemption, the state supreme court will suspend the attorney’s law license. An attorney may apply for reinstatement by demonstrating compliance with CLE requirements and paying the necessary fees.
Texas CLE Noncompliance
Rule 7 of the Texas MCLE Regulations governs CLE noncompliance. After the reporting deadline, the MCLE committee will give noncompliant attorneys a grace period to come into compliance with the MCLE requirements. An attorney who remains noncompliant will be given a notice of noncompliance and required to pay a noncompliance fee. Attorneys who are still noncompliant will be suspended from practicing law. An attorney who has been suspended may be reinstated by completing the necessary CLE credits and paying a reinstatement fee of $400.00.
Utah CLE Noncompliance
Rule 14-415 of the MCLE Rules of the Utah Supreme Court Board of Continuing Legal Education covers noncompliance with MCLE requirements. A lawyer who fails to complete his or her MCLE requirements will be given 30 days to become compliant. If the lawyer fails to do so, the Utah State Board of Continuing Legal Education will submit a petition for the lawyer's suspension to the state supreme court. The lawyer may also request a hearing before the Utah State Board of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education. If the lawyer is still found to be noncompliant, the state supreme court will suspend the lawyer. A suspended lawyer may be reinstated once the lawyer fulfills the MCLE requirements.
Vermont CLE Noncompliance
The Rules For Mandatory Continuing Legal Education govern Vermont’s MCLE requirements. The Board of Continuing Legal Education will notify attorneys of noncompliance. An attorney may challenge the determination of noncompliance through a hearing in front of the board. If the attorney is still deemed noncompliant, the board will recommend suspension to the state supreme court. A suspended attorney may be reinstated after he or she proves that the CLE requirements are satisfied.
Virginia CLE Noncompliance
Regulation 109 of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Regulations governs MCLE noncompliance in Virginia. An attorney who is noncompliant with Virginia’s MCLE requirements may be subject to suspension. A delinquent attorney may regain good standing by demonstrating compliance or obtaining a waiver. The state supreme court may reinstate a suspended attorney once the attorney has paid the required fees and certified compliance with the MCLE rules.
Washington CLE Noncompliance
Rule 11 of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Rules governs MCLE in Washington. The state supreme court may suspend a lawyer who does not timely certify MCLE compliance or receive an extension.
West Virginia CLE Noncompliance
Rule 7.2 of the West Virginia MCLE Rules governs MCLE noncompliance. Attorneys who are not in compliance with MCLE requirements after July 1 will receive notice of their noncompliance. Those attorneys will have until October 1 to correct their noncompliance or demonstrate compliance. For any lawyer who does not remedy the situation, the state supreme court may suspend the lawyer’s license to practice law until the lawyer complies with the MCLE requirements.
Wisconsin CLE Noncompliance
Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 31 governs CLE in Wisconsin. The board of bar examiners is tasked with serving notice to any noncompliant attorneys. The board will automatically suspend a lawyer who has not complied within 60 days of being sent notice. A lawyer who has been less than three years may file a petition with the board of bar examiners for reinstatement.
Wyoming CLE Noncompliance
According to the Wyoming State Bar CLE FAQs, an attorney who is not compliant with the lawyer’s CLE requirements by January 15 will be considered delinquent and will face a $300 delinquency fee. Delinquent attorneys have until March 1 to cure the delinquency and pay the fee. Lawyers who do not cure the problem by March 1 will face suspension as well as an additional $300 noncompliance fee.
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