Eligible CLE courses and activities shall satisfy the following standards: (1) The course or activity must have significant intellectual, educational or practical content, and its primary objective must be to increase each participant's professional competence as an attorney. (2) The course or activity must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law. (3) The course or activity must be offered by a provider having substantial, recent experience in offering CLE or demonstrated ability to organize and effectively present CLE. Demonstrated ability arises partly from the extent to which individuals with legal training or educational experience are involved in the planning, instruction and supervision of the activity.(4) The course or activity itself must be conducted by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience. The course or activity, including the named advertised participants, must be conducted substantially as planned, subject to emergency withdrawals and alterations.(5) Thorough, high quality, readable and carefully prepared written materials should be made available to all participants at or before the time the course is presented, unless the absence of such materials is recognized as reasonable and approved by the Board.(6) Traditional CLE courses or activities shall be conducted in a physical setting conducive to learning and free of interruptions from telephone calls, electronic communications, and other office or personal matters. The activity must be open to observation, without charge, by members of the Board, its staff, or their designees.(7) The course or activity may be presented using one or more of these delivery methods as approved by the Board: in person or by live or recorded technology methods. Each delivery method must have interactivity as a key component, including the opportunity for participants to ask questions and have them answered by the course faculty or other qualified commentator.(8) The course or activity must consist of not less than one-half hour of actual instruction, unless the Board determines that a specific program of less than one-half hour warrants accreditation. (9) For each course or activity, the provider shall submit to the MCLE Board the name, ARDC registration number, and actual CLE hours, including professional responsibility hours, earned by each Illinois-licensed attorney in the manner and at the time specified by the Board. A list of the names of all participants for each course or activity shall be maintained by the provider for a period of at least three years. The provider shall issue a certificate, in written or electronic form, to each participant evincing his or her attendance. Such lists and certificates shall state the actual number of CLE hours, including professional responsibility hours, earned by each attorney at that course or activity.(b)Accredited CLE Provider
The Board may extend presumptive approval to a provider for all of the CLE courses or activities presented by that provider each year that conform to paragraph (a)'s Standards (1) through (9), upon written application to be an Accredited Continuing Legal Education Provider ("Accredited CLE Provider"). Such accreditation shall constitute prior approval of all CLE courses offered by such providers. However, the Board may withhold accreditation or limit hours for any course found not to meet the standards, and the Board may revoke accreditation for any organization which is found not to comply with standards. The Board shall assess an annual fee, over and above the fees assessed to the provider for each course, for the privilege of being an "Accredited CLE Provider." An Accredited CLE Provider shall submit an annual report to the Board in the manner and at the time specified by the Board.(c)Accreditation of Individual Courses or Activities(1) Any provider not included in paragraph (b) desiring advance accreditation of an individual course or other activity shall apply to the Board by submitting a required application form, the course advance accreditation fee set by the Board, and supporting documentation no less than 45 days prior to the date for which the course or activity is scheduled. Documentation shall include a statement of the provider's intention to comply with the accreditation standards of this Rule, the written materials distributed or to be distributed to participants at the course or activity, if available, or a detailed outline of the proposed course or activity and list of instructors, and such further information as the Board shall request. The Board staff will advise the applicant in writing within 30 days of the receipt of the completed application of its approval or disapproval.(2) Providers denied approval of a course or activity shall promptly provide written notice of the Board's denial to all attorneys who requested Illinois MCLE credit for the course. Providers denied approval of a course or activity or individual attorneys who have attended such course or activity may request reconsideration of the Board's initial decision by filing a form approved by the Board no later than 30 days after the Board's initial decision. The Director shall consider the request within 30 days of its receipt, and promptly notify the provider and/or the individual attorney. If the Director denies the request, the provider shall have 30 days from the date of that denial to submit an appeal to the Board for consideration at the next scheduled Board meeting. Submission of a request for reconsideration or an appeal does not stay any MCLE submission deadlines or fee payments.(3) Providers who do not seek prior approval of their course or activity may apply for approval for the course or activity after its presentation by submitting an application provided by MCLE staff, the supporting documentation described above, and the accreditation fee set by the Board. (4) For each course or activity, the provider shall submit to the MCLE Board the name, ARDC registration number, and actual CLE hours, including professional responsibility hours, earned by each Illinois-licensed attorney in the manner and at the time specified by the Board. A list of the names of participants shall be maintained by the provider for a period of three years. The provider shall issue a certificate, in written or electronic form, to each participant evincing his or her attendance. Such lists and certificates shall state the actual number of CLE hours, including professional responsibility hours, earned by each attorney at that course or activity.(5) An attorney may apply to the Illinois MCLE Board for accreditation of an individual out-of-state CLE course if the following provisions are satisfied: (i) the attorney participated in the course either in person or via live audio or video conference; (ii) (a) for a course held in person in a state with a comparable MCLE requirement, the course must be approved for MCLE credit by that state; or (b) for a course held in person in a state or the District of Columbia without a comparable MCLE requirement, the course must be approved for MCLE credit by at least one other state with a comparable MCLE requirement; or (c) for a course attended by live audio or video conference, the course must be approved for MCLE credit by at least one other state with a comparable MCLE requirement; and (iii) the course provider has chosen not to seek accreditation of the course for Illinois MCLE credit.(d)Nontraditional Courses or Activities
In addition to traditional CLE courses, the following courses or activities will receive CLE credit: (1) "In-House" Programs. Attendance at "in-house" seminars, courses, lectures or other CLE activity presented by law firms, corporate legal departments, governmental agencies or similar entities, either individually or in cooperation with other such entities, subject to the following conditions:(i) The CLE course or activity must meet the rules and regulations for any other CLE course or activity, as applicable, including submitting applications, attendance, and fees due under the fee schedule.(ii) No credit will be afforded for discussions relating to the handling of specific cases, or issues relating to the management of a specific law firm, corporate law department, governmental agency or similar entity.(2) Law School Courses. Attendance at J.D. or graduate level law courses offered by American Bar Association ("ABA") accredited law schools, subject to the following conditions: (i) Credit ordinarily is given only for courses taken after admission to practice in Illinois, but the Board may approve giving credit for courses taken prior to admission to practice in Illinois if giving credit will advance CLE objectives.(ii) Credit towards MCLE requirements shall be for the actual number of class hours attended, but the maximum number of credits that may be earned during any two-year reporting period by attending courses offered by ABA accredited law schools shall be the minimum number of CLE hours required by Rules 794(a) and (d).(iii) The attorney must comply with registration procedures of the law school, including the payment of tuition. (iv) The course need not be taken for law school credit towards a degree; auditing a course is permitted. However, the attorney must comply with all law school rules for attendance, participation and examination, if any, to receive CLE credit. (v) The law school shall give each attorney a written certification evincing that the attorney has complied with requirements for the course and attended sufficient classes to justify the awarding of course credit if the attorney were taking the course for credit. (3) Bar Association Meetings. Attendance at bar association or professional organization meetings at which substantive law, matters of practice, professionalism, diversity and inclusion, mental health and substance abuse, civility, or legal ethics are discussed, in a setting conducive to learning and free of interruptions and subject to the requirements for CLE credit defined in paragraphs (a)(l) through (a)(2) above. Meetings may be any length, but an attorney may earn no more than one hour of MCLE credit from a live CLE-eligible presentation at any such meeting. To report attendance, the bar association or professional organization shall submit to the MCLE Board the meeting information, as well as the attorney names, ARDC registration numbers, and actual CLE hours, including professional responsibility hours, earned by each Illinois-licensed attorney, in the manner and at the time specified by the Board. The bar association or professional organization shall maintain a list of the names of all attendees at each meeting for a period of three years and shall issue a certificate, in written or electronic form, to each participant evincing his or her attendance. Such lists and certificates shall state the actual number of CLE hours, including professional responsibility hours, earned by each attorney at that meeting.(4) Cross-Disciplinary Programs. Attendance at courses or activities that cross academic lines, such as accounting-tax seminars or medical-legal seminars, may be considered by the Board for full or partial credit. Purely nonlegal subjects, such as personal financial planning, shall not be counted towards CLE credit. Any mixed-audience courses or activities may receive credit only for sessions deemed appropriate for CLE purposes. (5) Teaching Continuing Legal Education Courses. Teaching at CLE courses or activities during the two-year reporting term, subject to the following: (i) Credit may be earned for teaching in an approved CLE course or activity. Presentations shall be counted at the full hour or fraction thereof for the initial presentation; a repeat presentation of the same material shall be counted at one-half; no further hours may be earned for additional presentations of the same material. (ii) Time spent in preparation for a presentation at an approved CLE activity shall be counted at six times the actual presentation time. (iii) Authorship or coauthorship of written materials for approved CLE activities shall qualify for CLE credit on the basis of actual preparation time, but subject to receiving no more than 10 hours of credit in any two-year reporting period. (6) Part-Time Teaching of Law Courses. Teaching at an ABA-accredited law school, or teaching a law course at a university, college, or community college, subject to the following: (i) Teaching credit may be earned for teaching law courses offered for credit toward a degree at a law school accredited by the ABA, but only by lawyers who are not employed full-time by a law school, university, college, or community college. Those full-time law teachers at a law school, university, college, or community college who choose to maintain their licenses to practice law are fully subject to the MCLE requirements established herein, and may not earn any credits by their ordinary teaching assignments. Presentations shall be counted at the full hour or fraction thereof for the initial presentation; a repeat presentation of the same material shall be counted at one-half; no further hours may be earned for additional presentations of the same material. Teaching credit may be earned by appearing as a guest instructor, moderator, or participant in a law school class for a presentation which meets the overall guidelines for CLE courses or activities, as well as for serving as a judge at a law school training simulation, including but not limited to moot court arguments, mock trials, mock transactional exercises, and mock arbitrations/mediations. Time spent in preparation for an eligible law school activity shall be counted at three times the actual presentation time. Appearing as a guest speaker before a law school assembly or group shall not count toward CLE credit.(ii) Teaching credit may be earned for teaching law courses at a university, college, or community college by lawyers who are not full-time teachers if the teaching involves significant intellectual, educational or practical content, such as a civil procedure course taught to paralegal students or a commercial law course taught to business students. Presentations shall be counted at the full hour or fraction thereof for the initial presentation; a repeat presentation of the same material shall be counted at one-half; no further hours may be earned for additional presentations of the same material.(7) Legal Scholarship. Writing law books and law review articles, subject to the following: (i) An attorney may earn credit for legal textbooks, casebooks, treatises and other scholarly legal books written by the attorney that are published during the two-year reporting period.(ii) An attorney may earn credit for writing law-related articles in responsible legal journals or other legal sources, published during the two-year reporting period, that deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law, professionalism, diversity and inclusion, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or ethical obligations of attorneys. Republication of any article shall receive no additional CLE credits unless the author made substantial revisions or additions.(iii) An attorney may earn credit towards MCLE requirements for the actual number of hours spent researching and writing, but the maximum number of credits that may be earned during any two-year reporting period on a single publication shall be one-half the minimum number of CLE hours required by Rule 794(a) and (d). Credit is accrued when the eligible book or article is published, regardless whether the work in question was performed in the then-current two-year reporting period. To receive CLE credit, the attorney shall maintain contemporaneous records evincing the number of hours spent on a publication. (8) Pro Bono Training. Attendance at courses or activities designed to train lawyers who have agreed to provide pro bono services shall earn CLE credit to the same extent as other courses and seminars. (9) Bar Review Courses. Attendance at bar review courses before admission to the Illinois Bar shall not be used for CLE credit.(10) Reading Legal Materials. No credit shall be earned by reading advance sheets, newspapers, law reviews, books, cases, statutes, newsletters or other such sources.(11) Activity of Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring. Lawyers completing a comprehensive year-long structured mentoring program, as either a mentor or mentee, may earn credit equal to the minimum professional responsibility credit (six hours) during the two-year reporting period of completion, provided that the mentoring plan is preapproved by the Commission on Professionalism, the completion is attested to by both mentor and mentee, and both the mentor and mentee meet the eligibility requirements herein. (i) Eligibility Requirements: (A) The mentor has been in practice for a minimum of five years, and the mentee completes the program within the first five years of his or her practice; or(B) The mentor and mentee are approved to participate in the ARDC Mentoring Program imposed as a condition of disciplinary sanction or as a condition of a deferral program.(12) Service on Certain Boards, Commissions, Committees, or Task Forces of the Supreme Court of Illinois. An attorney appointed by the Court to a qualifying Court entity earns one hour of MCLE credit by attending a qualifying meeting of their board, commission, committee, or task force. "A qualifying meeting" is any meeting of that board, commission, committee, or task force, as well as any subcommittee, working group or another subgroup that the Court entity created to advance its work. Credit for this attendance is limited to 12 hours in each two-year reporting period. There is no carryover of these credits to another two-year reporting period.(e)Credit Hour Guidelines
Hours of CLE credit will be determined under the following guidelines: (1) Sixty minutes shall equal one hour of credit. Partial credit shall be earned for qualified activities of less than 60 minutes duration.(2) The following are not counted for credit: (ii) introductory and closing remarks; (iv) lunches and dinners; (3) Question and answer periods are counted toward credit. (4) Lectures or panel discussions occurring during breakfast, luncheon, or dinner sessions of bar association committees may be awarded credit. (5) Credits are determined by the following formula: Total minutes of approved activity minus minutes for breaks (as described in paragraph (e)(2)) divided by 60 equals maximum CLE credit allowed. (6) Credits merely reflect the maximum that may be earned. Only actual attendance or participation earns credit. (f)Financial Hardship Policy
The provider shall have available a financial hardship policy for attorneys who wish to attend its courses, but for whom the cost of such courses would be a financial hardship. Such policy may be in the form of scholarships, waivers of course fees, reduced course fees, or discounts. Upon request by the Board, the provider must produce the detailed financial hardship policy. The Board may require, on good cause shown, a provider to set aside without cost, or at reduced cost, a reasonable number of places in the course for those attorneys determined by the Board to have good cause to attend the course for reduced or no cost.Adopted 9/29/2005, effective immediately; amended 10/4/2007, effective immediately; amended 10/12/2010, effective immediately; amended 9/27/2011, effective immediately; amended 2/6/2013, eff. immediately; amended 11/18/2016, eff. immediately; amended May 23, 2017, effective 7/1/2017; amended Jan. 29, 2019, eff. 7/1/2019; amended 1/24/2020 eff. immediately; amended May 8, 2020, eff. 7/1/2020; amended June 15, 2020, eff. 7/1/2020; amended Dec. 17, 2021, eff. 1/1/2022.