Alabama State Bar
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is MCLE?

Most jurisdictions require lawyers to take mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) courses in order to practice law within that particular jurisdiction.

There is no nationwide accreditation since the MCLE programs are administered by the state supreme courts through a special CLE commission or board.

In Alabama, the MCLE Commission consists of nine members chosen from the members of the board of Alabama State Bar Commissioners. This Commission works closely with the designated executive director and other staff members to regulate compliance with the MCLE rules and regulations of this state.

The MCLE rules and regulations are posted here.

What are the minimum CLE requirements in Alabama?

If you are practicing with a regular license in Alabama, the general rule is that you have until December 31 to get 12 general hours of MCLE credit. Of those 12, at least one hour must be designated as an hour of ethics. Ethics hours are included in the total count of general MCLE hours. For example, if you attend a program that offers “six MCLE hours, including one hour of ethics,” you may claim a total of six, not seven, hours.

Please note, new admittees must take a mandatory three-hour professionalism course within the first 12 months of admission.

What about the MCLE Rule 9 Mandatory Professionalism requirement?

MCLE Rule 9 requires new admittees to complete a three (3) hour course in professionalism.  Hours earned at this seminar will count toward your general 12 hour annual CLE requirement. This seminar (Alabama’s Mandatory Professionalism Seminar) will be administered by the CLEAlabama on even numbered years and Cumberland School of Law on odd numbered years. Upcoming dates will be posted on the course search. To register, please contact CLE Alabama (1-800-627-6514) or Cumberland (1-800-888-7454).

How do I check my CLE transcript?

You can view your transcript at any time Online. Use the new login procedure. If you have trouble with your log-in information, please e-mail membership services at ms@alabar.org. Sponsors should post attendance within 30 days following a program, however, if you notice that a course has not been posted within that time-frame, notify us as soon as possible so that we can correct your transcript.

How and when do I report my CLE hours to the MCLE Commission?

If you get a notice of non-compliance, respond timely
If you receive a notice of non-compliance, you will have until December 31st of that year to complete your hours – so don’t panic. You will also have until February 15 of the following year to correct your transcript and mail it back to us to avoid any penalties.

What if I am newly admitted to practice?
One of the most misunderstood MCLE Regulations is 2.3. If you are newly admitted to the practice in Alabama, you are exempt until the end of the calendar year in which you are admitted. Therefore i.e., if you were admitted in August 2007, you will be exempt through December 31, 2007 only (not through August 2008). You may carry over any credits earned this year, if you: (1) earn them after you are admitted to the bar and (2) report them prior to January 31.

Please note, new admittees must take a mandatory three-hour professionalism course within the first 12 months of admission.

What if I practice primarily outside of Alabama?
Some Alabama attorneys reside in other mandatory CLE states and primarily conduct their practice there. Now under MCLE Regulation 2.7, attorneys may request a waiver from Alabama’s MCLE requirements (except Rules 5 and 9) by demonstrating compliance with their home state’s Mandatory CLE requirements. The applicant must file an updated request annually.

Other Helpful Hints

Avoid self-study courses
If your “certificate of attendance” indicates that you completed a “self-study” course online, or if you completed a video or audio rebroadcast presentation without an instructor present to answer questions, then Alabama will not recognize that course for credit. Many people submitted “self-study” on-demand courses for credit last year and were not allowed to count those courses for compliance.
Under MCLE Regulation 4.1.8, approval may be given for video-replayed activities if a qualified instructor is available to comment and answer questions. Additionally, all online courses must be interactive and pre- approved. Therefore, if you have a doubt about a course that appears to be self-study, find the course on our approved course listing or call our office before you attend.

The MCLE Rules and Regulations are posted online at www.alabar.org/cle. Review those to make sure you know and understand them as they apply to you. If a course is not listed on the approved list on our Web site, you may submit the course yourself. However, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the criteria that are considered when approving a course.

Limit your online courses
Remember that no more than six hours (of your required 12.0 CLE credits) should come from online activities.

Check for approved courses on-line
The best way to guarantee that a course will be approved and that your attendance will be reported timely is to locate the course from our course listing at www.alabar.org/cle. Courses on that list have been submitted and approved in advance. As long as these courses, by their presentation, meet Alabama’s standards, then the course will be granted the credit indicated on our Web site. If you are interested in attending a course that is not listed in our database, you may have the course considered for credit by submitting an application (found at www.alabar.org/cle) along with the appropriate processing fee and agenda (including times, topics and speakers).

What if I still need help?

If you need details about course content, times or locations, please contact the CLE sponsor directly.
If you have a question about your CLE compliance or credit for a particular course, please notify our staff at 1-334-269-1515. The MCLE staff is more than willing to help you. Since you are responsible for your CLE record, you will benefit from confirming that all courses are accurately reported on your transcript. By periodically checking your transcript online for accuracy, you will have less chance of errors on your report and less chance of having to search for last-minute CLE opportunities.

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
Alabama State Bar
P.O. Box 671
Montgomery, Alabama 36101
Phone (334) 269-1515
Fax (334) 261-6310
E-mail: cle@alabar.org
Web site: www.alabar.org/cle

For more information, please contact Continuing Legal Education at (334) 269-1515 or cle@alabar.org