CLE Frequently Asked Questions

as listed on www.nccle.org


Rules and Regulations

1)   Q: Where do I find the rules and regulations for the administration of the CLE program?

A: See 27 NCAC 1D, Sections .1500 and .1600, available at the North Carolina State Bar website: http://www.ncbar.com/.

2)   Q: How do I find out if the CLE Board has approved a request for credit that I recently submitted?

A: The CLE department will send you a letter once the course has been reviewed letting you know if it has been approved for credit and if so, the number and type of credit given. Most applications for credit take 30 days from the time of receipt to process. Before you submit a course for approval, please be sure to review the procedures and required forms and supplemental materials. Incomplete applications will significantly delay the review process.

3)  Q: I am planning to seek reinstatement to active status in North Carolina. Are here any special CLE requirements for that process?

A: Yes. If you have not been an active member of the State Bar for more than two years, you will need to complete three (3) hours of professional responsibility/professionalism and twelve (12) hours of general credits before you can return to active status. It is your responsibility to report those special requirement hours to the CLE department. You can do this by sending us certificates of attendance or by asking the sponsors to report your attendance to us. Failure to report the completion of your special CLE requirements will delay your reinstatement to active status and may even cause you to have to re-petition the Bar Council for reinstatement. Please contact the Membership Department at 919.828.4620 for a reinstatement petition and detailed procedures.

4)   Q: How do I claim an exemption from CLE requirements?

A:   You must claim your exemption on your annual report form each year by checking the appropriate exemption and returning the form by February 28. For special circumstances exemptions only, you must write to the Exemptions Committee of the Board of Continuing Legal Education and request the exemption, explaining the reasons and providing any supporting documentation you feel would be helpful. The Exemptions Committee will consider your request and reply in writing within 30 days. A special circumstances exemption is only good for one calendar year.

5)   Q: May an active member of the North Carolina State Bar be exempt from the CLE requirements?

A: Yes, an active member of the bar may qualify for one of the specified exemptions listed at 27 NCAC 1D, Rule .1517, or apply to the Board of Continuing Legal Education for an exemption based upon disability, hardship, or extenuating circumstances pursuant to 27 NCAC 1D, Rule .1607.

6)   Q: What fees am I assessed by the CLE program of the State Bar? 

A: For every CLE hour for which you seek credit on your CLE record with the State Bar, you will be assessed a fee of $3.00. Accredited sponsors typically collect this fee with their charges for a program and forward the money to the CLE department of the State Bar. When the sponsor does not pay the fee, the lawyer is responsible for the fee. Lawyers will receive a bill for their attendee fees after they return their annual report forms each year. Of the $3.00 per credit hour assessed, $1.25 supports the CLE program of the State Bar, $1.00 goes to the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism to support its program to enhance the professionalism of North Carolina lawyers, $0.50. to the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, and $0.25 to the State Bar to administer the funds distributed to the commissions.

7)   Q: Do I have any mandatory reporting requirements? 

A: Yes. In January of every calendar year, you will receive an annual report form showing all of the information that the CLE department has on your CLE credit hours for the entire preceding calendar year. All active members of the North Carolina State Bar must return this form, regardless of exemption and regardless of whether you have participated in any CLE activities in the preceding calendar year. This form must be signed and returned to the CLE department by February 28 to avoid a $75.00 late penalty.

8)   Q: Does North Carolina have reciprocal arrangements for accepting CLE courses from other states? 

A: No. Please use our course search function to see if the class has been approved in North Carolina. If not, please ask the sponsor to apply on your behalf or use the Bar Members CLE Credit Application to apply. Please note: certificates of attendance from other states are not sufficient to add credits to your CLE record if the course has not been approved for North Carolina CLE credit.

 

Hours and Requirements 

1)   Q: How many CLE hours do I have to take each calendar year?

A: An active member of the North Carolina State Bar who does not qualify for an exemption must take twelve (12) hours of approved CLE during each calendar year. Of the twelve (12) CLE hours, at least 2 must be devoted to the area of professional responsibility (ethics) or professionalism. Effective January 1, 2002, at least once every three calendar years, you must complete one hour on substance abuse and debilitating mental conditions. This hour is credited to the 12 hour requirement for the year but not to the two-hour ethics/professional responsibility requirement. See 27 NCAC 1D, Rule .1518.

2)   Q: May I take any of the required hours online?

A: Yes, members may take up to six (6) hours of online credit each year towards their CLE requirements. Members may also take an additional six (6) hours of online credit which will be banked and applied to the following calendar year.

3)   Q: How do I find out if the CLE Board has approved a specific class that I want to take?

A: Go to http://www.nccle.org/?Page=Course to search for courses.

4)   Q: How are my CLE hours reported to the CLE department of the North Carolina State Bar?

A: Most sponsors of CLE seminars report the credit hours to the CLE department for you. Out-of-state sponsors and non-accredited sponsors may not report the hours to the CLE department. Please be sure to check your interim and annual report forms for accuracy. If a class you took is not listed or misreported on the form, please make corrections and return the form to us so we can correct our records. You can also send us a copy of your certificate of attendance, if you received one; you do not need to wait for the interim or annual report form to do so.

5)   Q: How do I find out how many CLE hours I need to fulfill my requirements for a given calendar year?

A: Using your State Bar member number and Member Access password, you may login on the CLE website to view your real-time CLE transcript. If you dont have internet access, call the CLE department at 919.733.0123 or write to the CLE department at P.O. Box 26148, Raleigh, NC 27611. See the preceding questions for information about the interim and annual report forms that are mailed to you by the CLE department.

6)  Q: Am I ever exempt from returning my Annual Report Form?

A: No. All active members of the State Bar must return a signed, dated annual report form each year before February 28. Please be sure to check your interim and annual report forms for accuracy. If a class you took is not listed or misreported on the form, please make corrections and return the form to us so we can correct our records. You can also send us a copy of your certificate of attendance, if you received one; you do not need to wait for the interim or annual report form to do so.

7)  Q: If I obtain an exemption from the CLE requirements, am I also exempt from the mandatory annual dues owed to the North Carolina State Bar?

A: No. To be exempt from the mandatory dues, a lawyer must change his or her State Bar membership status to inactive. To learn more about inactive status, contact the Membership department at 919.828.4620.

8) Q: Do I receive any other written forms from the CLE department about my CLE credit hours during the year?

A: Yes. In July of each calendar year, you will receive an interim report form showing all the information the CLE department has on your CLE credit hours for the first six months of the year (January 1June 30). Please read through this report carefully. If you see omissions or errors, you must correct and return the interim report form to the CLE department by August 15.

9)   Q: Do I get additional credit for teaching a CLE seminar?

A: Yes. You are entitled to one hour of CLE credit for every 10  minutes of actual instruction. To report this time to the CLE department, complete Request for Teacher Credit of an Approved Continuing Legal Education Activity Form.

10) Q: Is there a grace period if I fail to complete the annual CLE requirements by the end of the calendar year?

A: If the deficit is cured in January or February of the subsequent year, there is no penalty. If the deficit is not cured within this time frame, you may be subject to monetary penalties or suspension. See 27 NCAC 1D, Rules .1523.

11) Q: May I carry forward excess CLE hours over into the next calendar year?

A: Yes, members may carry over into the next calendar year up to twelve (12) credit hours, including two (2) hours of ethics and ten (10) hours of general credit hours. Newly admitted members may carry over into the next year any approved CLE hours earned after the members graduation from law school. See 27 NCAC 1D, Rule .1518.

12) Q: Will I get credit for CLE classes I take outside North Carolina?

A: Yes, in most cases. Each state has different rules and regulations governing CLE. Before you register for a class, please check the North Carolina State Bar Rules and Regulations on CLE to see if the class meets North Carolina's requirements. No credit will be given for the following: 1. Programs on marketing the law firm or other agency. 2. Programs marketing products or services to the law firm or agency. 3. In-house programs - programs conducted for the benefit of employees of a law firm, legal department or other members of similar organizations. 4. Self-study (use of books and manuals, audiotapes, non-interactive computer  programs or CD-ROMs, solitary viewing of video programs, etc.). 5. Bar review or refresher programs. 6. Activities held in conjunction with banquets or other primarily social occasions. 7. Business meetings.

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