What is MCLE?
Minimum Continuing Legal Education, or MCLE, was approved by the Supreme Court of Missouri in 1988 and requires all members of The Missouri Bar, dependent on licensure status, to meet yearly continuing legal education requirements as set out in Rule 15 of the Missouri Court Rules and Regulations to Rule 15.
Where can the MCLE Rules and Regulations be located?
See Missouri Supreme Court Rule 15 and the Regulations to Rule 15.
What are the MCLE annual hourly requirements?
A total of 15 hours of CLE programs or activities must be obtained and reported each year. At least three of the total 15 credit hours must be devoted exclusively to accredited ethics programs, seminars, and activities, including professionalism, substance use, mental health, legal or judicial ethics, malpractice prevention, explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency. At least one of the three ethics credit hours must be devoted exclusively to explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency (elimination of bias).
When must MCLE hours be completed?
MCLE hours are required to be completed by June 30.
What is the filing deadline for the MCLE annual report?
MCLE annual reports are required to be filed by July 31.
How is the MCLE annual report to be filed?
MCLE annual reports are to be filed exclusively online. To file your MCLE annual report or to check your carryover credit from the preceding year, click on the “Report My MCLE” drop-down menu in the MCLE tab above.
How can I be sure my programs have been successfully entered online and that I am in compliance?
Each attended CLE program or course may be entered in the “Report Program Attendance” portion of your online MCLE annual report. Accessing the “Report Program Attendance” link in your online annual report will provide a list of all programs previously entered for the reporting period. Upon obtaining compliance for the reporting period, your red “Not Yet Compliant” status on the main reporting menu will change to a green “Compliant,” status indicating that compliance has been achieved. Additionally, an automated email will be sent to your most recent registered email address, confirming your compliance for the reporting period. If your status is not green and/or you have not received a compliance email, please ensure that you have reported sufficient credits to achieve compliance.
What if I cannot remember my online username or password?
Your username is your bar number. If you have forgotten your password, click the “Forgot Password?” link under the sign-in button. Thereafter, a link and instructions for resetting your password will be emailed to you at your last reported email address. Please check your spam folder if you do not see a reset link in your email box. If the reset link expires before you are able to reset your password, you may request a new link by again selecting the “Forgot Password?” option.
In what ways can I earn MCLE credit?
- Programs, Seminars and Activities Credit: A lawyer may receive MCLE credit for attendance at programs, seminars and activities previously accredited by sponsor submission or by submitting the program for accreditation. Programs may be submitted for accreditation on the reporting main menu of your online MCLE annual report.
- Self-Study Credit: A lawyer may receive up to six hours of self-study credit in a reporting year by studying law-related materials, including videotapes, audiotapes and periodicals. Self-study credit may not be reported to satisfy ethics or elimination of bias requirements and does not count towards the following year’s carryover credits.
- Speaker Credit: A lawyer who participates as a speaker at an accredited program and does not receive compensation may receive credit for actual presentation time and preparation time up to a maximum of 15 credit hours for each 50-minute presentation.
- Author Credit: A lawyer who, without compensation, authors written materials that have been or will be published in a professional journal or as a monograph may receive credit for actual research and writing time, not to exceed 15 hours for any one such work.
- Reciprocal Credit: A lawyer whose principal place of practice is in a state other than Missouri that has a CLE requirement substantially similar to that of Missouri can satisfy the requirements of Rule 15 by attesting that he or she is in compliance with the requirements of the state of his or her principal place of practice.
- Carryover Credit: A lawyer reporting more than 15 credit hours of accredited programs may carry forward the excess credit hours up to a maximum of 15 hours. Excess ethics hours may carry forward to a maximum of three hours and elimination of bias hours may carry forward to a maximum of one hour. Self-study hours do not count towards carryover hours.
Are programs I attend automatically added to my online annual report?
Missouri is a self-reporting state, and lawyers are responsible for completing and submitting their compliance in an MCLE annual report. Although CLE program sponsors are required to retain attendance records, they do not file compliance information on behalf of attendees. Sponsors may, but are not required to, send certificates of attendance to attendees. These certificates are to assist you in keeping track of the programs you attend and should not be sent to The Missouri Bar.
How do I know if a program has been accredited in Missouri?
Programs submitted by sponsors and approved for accreditation may be found in in The Missouri Bar’s searchable List of Programs Accredited in Missouri, here .
Can I receive credit for a CLE course that was not previously submitted for credit by the CLE course sponsor?
MCLE credit for a program not already approved by a sponsor may be requested here . Programs will be reviewed for accreditation. Upon approval, you will receive a confirmation email and the program will be automatically added to your online MCLE annual report. If a program is denied, an email notification indicating the reason for the denial will be sent.
How do I calculate the number of credit hours when submitting a program for accreditation?
The total instructional time in minutes is divided by 50 and rounded to the nearest one-tenth (0.1) of an hour. Instructional time does not include introductory remarks, coffee or meal breaks or business meetings. Example: a program that includes 60 minutes of instructional time is equivalent to 1.2 credit hours (60/50 = 1.2).
Can I receive credit for partial attendance of a program?
A lawyer can obtain credit for the portion attended. The number of hours of credit is determined by dividing the total minutes of instruction attended by 50 and rounding to the nearest one-tenth (0.1) of an hour.
Is in-person attendance required at CLE courses?
Remote CLE courses, such as live webinars, may qualify for MCLE credit if all attendees participate at a set date and time and a qualified instructor is simultaneously available to answer questions from attendees.
Do recorded programs qualify as accredited programs?
Video and audio replays or rebroadcasts of programs may qualify for credit if all attendees participate at a set date and time and a qualified instructor is simultaneously present to answer questions and otherwise facilitate the program. On-demand audio and video legal materials, which may be accessed at any date or time, do not qualify for accreditation but may be reported for self-study credit up to six hours. Note that ethics and elimination of bias requirements may not be satisfied with self-study credit.
How are carryover hours calculated?
If you take more than 15 hours of live accredited programs in an MCLE reporting period, the excess accredited program hours may be carried forward to the next reporting year, up to a maximum of 15 hours. Self-study hours are not counted in the calculation of carryover hours. If you report more than three ethics and professionalism hours in a reporting year, the excess ethics hours, up to a maximum of three hours, may be carried forward to the next year. If you report more than one elimination of bias hour in a reporting year, the excess elimination of bias hours, up to a maximum of one hour, may be carried forward to the next year. If you have taken more than six hours of ethics credit in one year, your online annual report for that particular year may show a total carryover amount that is greater than the amount that actually carries over to the following year due to the limit of ethics or elimination of bias hours that may carry over.
Please note that brought forward ethics and/or elimination of bias credit hours from the previous year do not apply towards the 15-hour annual requirement of Rule 15.05(a). Only new live accredited programs of ethics and/or elimination of bias credit hours will apply towards Rule 15.05(a).
What can I do if I was unable to complete my CLE hours by June 30 and require an extension of time?
A lawyer unable to complete the necessary MCLE hours by June 30 may submit a deficiency plan at mobar.org/MCLEReporting. Deficiency plans are available online beginning July 1, after the compliance deadline has passed, and must be submitted on or before July 31, the filing deadline for MCLE annual reports. Pursuant to Regulation 15.06.3, lawyers utilizing a deficiency plan must be compliant with Rule 15 no later than Sept. 30 to avoid the imposition of a late fee.
What happens if I do not file my MCLE annual report by July 31?
Lawyers who have not submitted a deficiency plan by July 31 and are not in compliance with Rule 15 by Aug. 31 will be notified by letter and will incur a $200 late fee. The late fee for compliance before the end of each successive month shall increase by $50 until compliance is established, not to exceed $500. Pursuant to Supreme Court of Missouri Rule 15.06, the names of each lawyer not in compliance with Rule 15 will be submitted to the Supreme Court of Missouri no later than March 1. Lawyers included on the delinquency list will be automatically suspended from practice.
Can I obtain an accommodation for non-compliance based on personal, extenuating circumstance?
If compliance with your MCLE obligations for a particular reporting period is unreasonably difficult due to physical or mental disability, government or military service at an isolated location, age, or for good cause shown, you may request a hardship accommodation at mobar.org/MCLEReporting. The request should be made at least 60 days prior to the end of the reporting year for which the waiver is sought and will be reviewed expeditiously. See Regulation 15.05.3.
Hardship accommodations may include an extension of time for compliance, permission to complete CLE requirements by self-study or waiver of CLE educational requirements. Please note that hardship accommodations are provided in limited, extenuating circumstance and will not be granted for failure to accurately calculate necessary CLE hours, belief that CLE courses are too expensive or busy work and personal schedules.
If you do not qualify for a hardship accommodation but are otherwise unable to complete your MCLE requirements in a particular reporting year, you may request a deficiency plan, beginning July 1 and ending July 31, which will provide you an extension of time to complete your MCLE requirements. Deficiency plans may be requested at mobar.org/MCLEReporting and must be completed no later than September 30 to avoid assessment of a late fee.
How are MCLE late fees assessed, and must I really pay the late fee?
Pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 15.06, lawyers who have not submitted a deficiency plan by July 31, have not received a hardship extension and are not in compliance with Rule 15 by Aug. 31 will be notified and will incur a $200 late fee. The late fee for compliance before the end of each successive month shall increase by $50 until compliance is established, not to exceed $500.
Lawyers who have submitted a deficiency plan by July 31, but who have failed to establish compliance by September 30, will be notified and will incur a $250 late fee (the amount assessed for failure to comply with Rule 15 had the deficiency plan not been submitted). The late fee for compliance before the end of each successive month shall increase by $50 until compliance is established, not to exceed $500.
Lawyers who have been granted a hardship extension and are not in compliance with Rule 15 by Oct. 31 will be notified and will incur a $300 late fee (the amount assessed for failure to comply with Rule 15 had the hardship extension not been granted). The late fee for compliance before the end of each successive month shall increase by $50 until compliance is established, not to exceed $500.
Pursuant to Supreme Court of Missouri Rule 15.06(c), assessment of the MCLE late fee is not discretionary. Failure to pay the late fee shall be considered failure to comply with the requirements of Rule 15 and satisfactory compliance for the reporting year cannot be established until both the necessary educational credits or exemptions have been reported AND the late fee has been paid.
Can I be suspended from practice if I do not comply with Rule 15?
As mandated by Rule 15.06(f), on or before March 1 of each year, The Missouri Bar must report to the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri, the Chief Disciplinary Counsel and the Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline of Judges the name of each lawyer not in compliance with Rule 15. Lawyers reported on this list are automatically suspended from the practice of law on the date the report is received by the Clerk and will incur a $100 suspension fee in addition to any accumulated late fees.
Must I comply with Rule 15 if my license has been placed on inactive status?
No. Once you place your membership on inactive status with the Attorney Enrollment Office of the Supreme Court of Missouri, you are automatically exempted from both the educational and reporting requirements of Rule 15. You must be placed on inactive status by June 30 to be exempt for that reporting year.
What are my MCLE requirements to return to active status?
Missouri Supreme Court Rule 6.06 sets forth the requirements for returning to active status. You must first complete a minimum of 15 hours of CLE programs or activities. At least three of the total 15 credit hours must be devoted exclusively to accredited ethics programs, seminars, and activities, including professionalism, substance use, mental health, legal or judicial ethics, malpractice prevention, explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency. At least one of those three ethics credit hours must be devoted exclusively to explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency. Up to six hours may be completed through self-study or on-demand programs. However, you may not satisfy the ethics or elimination of bias requirements through on-demand or self-study programs. Hours earned in furtherance of a return to active status may be used towards satisfaction of the Rule 15 requirements for the same reporting cycle in which the hours were taken. CLE credit hours must be completed within 12 months of submission of the request to return to active status.
Must I comply with Rule 15 if I am retiring or have already retired?
Your obligation to take and report MCLE credits depends on your licensure status. If you have an active license, you are required to file an MCLE annual report and will continue to be required to do so for as long as your license remains active. However, if, due to your retirement, you have not practiced law in the state of Missouri during the compliance period, you can claim an exemption in your MCLE annual report from obtaining the required 15 hours of continuing legal education credit. If you have an inactive license, due to your retirement, you do not have an obligation to complete CLE hours or file an MCLE annual report. Please note that reporting your retired status on your annual enrollment fee form to the Supreme Court of Missouri does not satisfy your obligation to file an annual MCLE report in which you claim an exemption as a non-practitioner.
Must I comply with Rule 15 if I have obtained the title of Senior Counselor?
Supreme Court rule 6.01(d) provides that a person who has been licensed to practice in Missouri for 50 years or more or who has reached the age of 75 years and is then a member in good standing of The Missouri Bar shall be excused from the payment of enrollment fees becoming due thereafter. However, your obligation to take and report continuing legal education credits is determined solely by your licensure status and is unrelated to your title as a Senior Counselor.
If you maintain an active license to practice, you are obligated to file an MCLE annual report and will continue to be required to do so for as long as your license remains active. However, if you did not practice law in Missouri during the applicable reporting period, you may claim an exemption from obtaining the required 15 hours of continuing legal education credit. Please note that reporting a retired status on your annual enrollment fee form to the Supreme Court of Missouri does not satisfy your obligation to file an annual MCLE report in which you claim an exemption as a non-practitioner.
If your license is inactive, you do not have an obligation to complete continuing legal education hours or to file an MCLE annual report.
Must I comply with Rule 15 if my license is already suspended for failure to pay my annual enrollment fee or failure to comply with Rule 15 in a previous reporting year?
Yes. If you have been suspended for three years or less due to your failure to pay the enrollment fee or failure to comply with Rule 15, your suspension may be remedied at any time by coming into compliance. As such, your MCLE obligations are ongoing and you will continue to accrue new MCLE late fees and/or suspension fees for each new reporting year in which Rule 15 compliance is not achieved, up to three years from the date of your suspension. After three years from the date of your suspension, you will be required to re-enter the profession by filing a petition for reinstatement pursuant to Rule 5.28 and will not continue to accrue new MCLE late fees and/or suspension fees for the subsequent reporting years.
How can my license be reinstated after a recent suspension for non-compliance with the Rule 15 MCLE requirements?
To remedy a recent MCLE suspension, you must first complete all required CLE credits and record your CLE hours in your online annual compliance report. Once the minimum required CLE credit hours have been recorded, the compliance status on your main reporting page will change to a yellow “pending late fee” and you will be permitted to pay your $500 late fee and $100 suspension fee online by credit card, or by sending a check for payment. Upon completion of your annual compliance report and receipt of full payment of the late fee and suspension fee, The Missouri Bar MCLE Department will contact the Supreme Court of Missouri for removal of your suspension. Individuals suspended for more than three years must re-enter the profession by petition for reinstatement pursuant to Rule 5.28.
Must I comply with Rule 15 if my license is suspended or disbarred for discipline?
Yes and no. A lawyer must comply with Rule 15 for the year in which the suspension or disbarment occurred if the lawyer practiced law in Missouri during that compliance period. Example: a lawyer suspended on Aug. 29, 2019, would be required to comply with Rule 15 for the July 1, 2019, compliance period if the lawyer practiced law between July 1 and Aug. 29, 2019.
For each year, thereafter, in which the lawyer remains suspended or disbarred, there is no MCLE annual report filing requirement. Individuals must re-enter the profession by applying for Rule 5.28 licensure reinstatement, at which time the individual must demonstrate that within one year prior to the date of filing the petition for reinstatement, the individual has completed at least 15 hours of continuing legal education credit, three of which must be devoted exclusively to accredited ethics topics and one of which ethics hours must be devoted to topics of elimination of bias.
Must I comply with Rule 15 if I am a lawyer admitted without examination pursuant to Rule 8.10?
Yes. During the admission application process, you are not required to comply with the continuing legal education requirements of Rule 15. Once you have been granted admission pursuant to Rule 8.10, you have an ongoing obligation to meet the continuing legal education requirements of Rule 15, pursuant to Rule 8.10(b).
When must newly admitted lawyers comply with Rule 15?
Lawyers admitted after July 1, 2018, have no educational reporting requirements under Rule 15 for the MCLE compliance year in which they are initially admitted. Pursuant to Supreme Court of Missouri Rule 15.05(c), a lawyer is not required to complete or report any MCLE credit hours in the reporting year in which the lawyer is initially licensed to practice law. Although you are exempt from the annual requirements of Rule 15 for the reporting year you are initially licensed to practice law, Regulation 15.05.5 provides that a lawyer completing more than 15 credit hours of accredited programs and activities in a year in which the lawyer is not required to report, exclusive of self-study, may receive credit in the next reporting year for the excess credit hours to apply to the 15-hour annual requirement of Rule 15.05(a). Similarly, up to three hours in excess of the three-hour annual requirement of Rule 15.05(a)(1) and up to one-hour of diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, and explicit and implicit bias of Rule 15.05(a)(2) may be carried forward to the immediately succeeding reporting year.
The MCLE compliance year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year. Compliance with Rule 15 is reported on the Annual Report of Compliance for the MCLE reporting year in which the credit hours occur.
Do I have a Rule 15 compliance or filing requirement if I do not practice law in Missouri?
Pursuant to Rule 15.06(a), a lawyer who is currently registered with the Supreme Court of Missouri as a Category (3) non-resident licensee and does not practice and live in Missouri is not required to report completion or exemption from the annual MCLE requirements of Rule 15. Such Category (3) licensees will receive a message regarding licensure status upon attempts to access the online reporting system. A lawyer who is currently registered with the Supreme Court of Missouri as a Category (1) active licensee, but who has not actively practiced law during the reporting year, whether the lawyer lives in Missouri, must file an annual report of compliance, but may report an exemption as a non-practitioner.
How is “practice of law” defined in Missouri?
For Rule 15 purposes, the term “practice of law” is not limited to the private practice of law. Lawyers employed in corporate law departments, including lawyers with a license under Rule 8.105, by bank trust departments, in government legal offices, as judicial law clerks, as college and university business law professions and as law school professors, including law professors authorized under Rule 13.06 to supervise law students in court, are subject to the annual educational and reporting requirements. Retired lawyers who do not hold themselves out as actively practicing and only occasionally render legal advice to family members or friends are not considered to be in the active practice of law for purposes of rule 15 and may claim an exemption by filing the annual report of compliance by July 31 of each year.
I have a question that has not been addressed. How can I contact the MCLE Department of The Missouri Bar?
The MCLE Department may be reached at 573-638-2233 or at email@example.com and is happy to assist you throughout the year. Please note that the MCLE Department experiences a high volume of telephone calls on the dates leading up to and including June 30 and July 31, so it is advisable to plan accordingly.