May 18, 2020
Continuing Legal Education Requirements
Altered in Light of COVID-19

Given the social distancing standards imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak, many states have altered their continuing legal education requirements (CLE). Some of these states are suspending all requirements during the outbreak. Other states are adjusting deadlines, or allowing more online learning given the suspension of in-person events. The following information describes CLE changes that affect the states in which CATIC and CATIC Financial operate. Please note that this situation is evolving, and further changes to CLE requirements may be made.

Connecticut: At an emergency meeting held on March 24, 2020, the Rules Committee of the Superior Court suspended the requirements of Section 2-27A, “Minimum Continuing Education,” due to limitations placed on public gatherings. No further guidance has been provided by the Rules Committee.

Florida: The deadlines for reporting on CLE or basic skills course requirements have been extended to August 31, 2020 . The extension applies to those who were scheduled to submit reports in February through July.

Maine: By emergency order, revised on May 13, 2020, the state’s judicial branch provided that any in-person participation requirements for continuing legal education, including but not limited to the requirement in M. Bar. R. 5(c)(3), are suspended, and participation may be by an electronic medium.

New Hampshire: On May 5, 2020, the Supreme Court issued an order extending the date for CLE compliance and modifying the dates for assessment of delinquency fees with respect to CLE requirements. Members who fail to file their certificate of compliance on or before July 1, 2020 will receive an automatic extension of time to September 1, 2020, with no delinquency assessment or fine. See the order for further information.

New Jersey: Pursuant to an order issued on March 10, 2020, the live classroom instruction requirement is relaxed, and, until further notice, all twenty-four credit hours for the compliance period may be fulfilled through approved courses offered in alternative learning formats.

New York: On March 11, 2020, the CLE Board provided that newly admitted attorneys may participate in “Skills” CLE courses through live nontraditional formats, with questions allowed during the program. Those formats are “web conference, teleconference, and video conference.” The order also states that accredited CLE providers may offer programs in these formats, so long as they do so in accordance with applicable requirements. This provision is effective through June 30, 2020.

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily waiving the six-hour limitation on distance learning credits. Attorneys may now complete all 12 hours of their 2020 CLE requirements through distance programs. An additional order provides that Pennsylvania attorneys in “Group 1” with a compliance deadline of April 30, 2020 are granted automatic extensions until August 31, 2020.

Rhode Island: The Supreme Court has issued an order suspending the annual CLE requirements for the 2020 compliance year. All CLE credits that would have been used to satisfy the 2020 requirement can be carried over to satisfy requirements for the 2021 reporting year. Also, any excess credits that were set to expire in 2020 may be used to satisfy the 2021 requirements. The order also suspends the “Bridge the Gap” course requirement imposed on newly admitted attorneys, and those attorneys do not need to file proof of their attendance at the Bridge the Gap course until June 30, 2021.

Vermont: The Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily waiving the 10-hour limit on the number of self-study hours for those attorneys with a June 30, 2020 reporting deadline. All 20 hours of the CLE requirement can be met through webinars or on-demand programming. Further information is available on the state’s CLE webpage.

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Please continue to check out our dedicated webpage for COVID-19 information and guidance, on a regular basis. We will be updating the material as we learn of new developments.