Click below for answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) courses and requirements.
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.
If you are practicing with a regular 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 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.
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 CLEAlabama Cumberland (1-800-888-7454).
You can view your transcript at any time by logging in to your account. Once you are logged in, you will be directed to your Dashboard where you can click on MCLE Transcript. If you have trouble with your log-in information, please email Membership Services at firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
One of the most misunderstood MCLE Regulations is 2.2. 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. For example, if you were admitted in August 2007, you will be exempt through December 31, 2007 (not through August 2008). You may carry over 12.0 total credits (including 1.0 ethics) earned this year if you: (1) earn them after you are admitted to the bar and (2) report them prior to January 31.
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. See information for out-of-state attorneys.
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 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.
The MCLE Rules and Regulations can be found here. 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 online
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 online course listing. 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 along with the appropriate processing fee and agenda (including times, topics and speakers).