Figuring out your CLE reporting can be challenging anytime, but especially during these COVID times. You may have heard that the Supreme Court did something to address the CLE situation, but you aren’t quite sure what it was and how it works. Here’s the information you need!
First, don’t mistake the requirement to report your CLE hours with the attorney registration requirements. The Office of Attorney Services handles attorney registration. The Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio at Rule VI Registration of Attorneys requires that active and corporate attorneys must register and pay a registration fee assessed by the Court on or before September 1st of each odd-numbered year. The last biennial registration for all active and corporate attorneys took place in 2019. If you registered then, your registration will go through 2021.
The Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Office of Attorney Services administer CLE requirements. The Rules for the Government of the Bar at Rule X. Continuing Legal Education require that active and corporate status attorneys must complete 24 hours of accredited CLE every two years. As part of those 24 hours, an attorney must complete two and one-half hours of professional conduct.
Attorneys whose last name begins with a letter from A through L shall complete their required hours on or before December 31st of each odd-numbered year. That group reported in 2019. Attorneys whose last name begins with a letter from M through Z must complete their required hours on or before December 31st of each even-numbered year. That group reports this year in 2020.
Recognizing that COVID-19 was causing the cancellation of live, in-person CLE and for safety and logistical considerations concerning CLE, the Supreme Court of Ohio waived the self-study caps for judges, magistrates, and attorneys with last names beginning with M through Z for the 2019-2020 compliance period ending December 31, 2020. Those attorneys may complete all CLE requirements through approved self-study courses, including live interactive webinars, for the compliance period ending December 31, 2020.
Don’t confuse this with the amendments to Rule X which took effect last July 1, 2019. These amendments allowed up to twenty-four credit hours for approved live webinar self-study activities during a biennial compliance period. The action by the Supreme Court did not change this. It waived the self-study caps for attorneys in the 2019-2020 compliance period.
COVID has also caused a shortage of precinct election officials. In response to this and at the request of the Ohio Secretary of State, the Supreme Court issued an Order on August 5, 2020, to permit attorneys to earn four hours of general CLE credit for training and serving as a precinct election official during the November 3, 2020 Election.
You may view your CLE transcript through the Attorney Services Portal to see whether you are in compliance or need to obtain additional CLE hours. You may find an approved CLE or find an approved self-study on the Supreme Court website. Your Ohio State Bar Association has a complete listing of CLE programs with special promotions and discounts to complete all your CLE. Watch for information on Fall OSBA District Meeting CLE coming soon!
Whether this is your reporting year or not, remember that OBLIC gives a premium credit to any OBLIC insured attorney and new applicant who obtains a total of five hours of CLE in professional conduct credits within the twenty-four months immediately preceding the policy effective date. OBLIC also recognizes attorneys who exceed the required number of CLE hours and become members of the Ohio Bar College with a premium discount.
Fall is traditionally the season when CLE activities gear up. Although many CLE courses this year will be live interactive webinars presented virtually, there’s no mystery to obtaining your CLE and reporting it to comply with your CLE requirements. As always, if you have questions about your CLE or any other loss prevention topic, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Gretchen Mote, Esq.,
Director of Loss Prevention
- If your last name begins with the letter M through Z
- You are required to complete 24 hours of CLE by December 31, 2020
- You may obtain all 24 of these hours via self-study, including live-interactive webinars