Click below for answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) courses and requirements.
- 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 Bar Commissioners. The MCLE Commission works closely with the staff of the Attorney Licensing Office to regulate compliance with the MCLE rules and regulations of this state.
- What are the minimum MCLE requirements in Alabama?
If you are practicing with an occupational license in Alabama, the general rule is that you have until December 31 to earn 12 general hours of MCLE credit. Of those 12, at least one hour must be designated as ethics credit. 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.
- 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 CLEAlabama on even numbered years and Cumberland School of Lawon odd numbered years. Upcoming dates will be posted on the Approved Course List.
- How do I check my MCLE transcript?
You can view your transcript at any time by logging in to your account on the ASB website. On your MyDashboard page click MCLE Compliance Report. 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 the Attorney Licensing Office 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 receive a notice of non-compliance around the end of January or beginning of February, you have until February 15 to submit a corrected transcript indicating compliance or submit a deficiency plan with the $100 late compliance fee.
- What if I am newly admitted to practice?
If you are newly admitted to the practice of law in Alabama, you are exempt until the end of the calendar year in which you are admitted. For example, if you were admitted in August 2018, you will be exempt through December 31, 2018 (not through August 2019). A newly admitted attorney may carry over 12.0 total credits (including 1.0 ethics) earned during his or her year of admission if: (1) the credits are earned after the attorney is admitted to the bar; and (2) the credits are reported prior to January 31 after the end of the program year.
- What if I practice primarily outside of Alabama?
Some Alabama attorneys reside in other mandatory CLE states and primarily conduct their practice there. Pursuant to MCLE Regulation 2.7, out-of-state attorneys may request an exemption from Alabama’s MCLE requirements (except Rules 5 and 9) by demonstrating compliance with their home state’s Mandatory CLE requirements. An out-of-state attorney must request a Regulation 2.7 exemption in each year in which the attorney qualifies for the exemption.
- Can I receive MCLE credit for 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.
Under MCLE Regulation 5.B, 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.
- Is there a limit to the number MCLE credits that I can earn from online courses?
Yes. No more than six hours (of your required 12.0 CLE credits) may come from online activities. Note, however, that a course designated as a “Live Webcast/Telecast” is considered a live course and does not count toward online credits.
COVID-19 Exception: The MCLE Commission has temporarily suspended the 6-hour limit for online courses. For the CLE year ending December 31, 2020, attorneys may satisfy their annual CLE requirement from approved online courses.
- Is there a list of pre-approved CLE courses?
Yes. 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 Approved Course List. Courses on the approved course 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 the approved course list.