Illinois Supreme Court Tightens MCLE Rules

by: The Knowledge Group

February 19, 2019


Illinois attorneys in active status must keep up their professional training, in a requirement known as Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). The Illinois Supreme Court this year amended key MCLE Rules, narrowing exemptions and markedly tightening reporting requirements.

  • Amended Rule 791 (effective 1 March 2019): Judges, magistrates, judges’ secretaries, and law clerks have been exempt from CLE requirements insofar as they are prohibited from the practice of law due to their professional responsibilities. Now, they must register with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) to qualify as exempt. The Court also adjusted the rules for individuals who are exempt for less than the full year during the reporting period and discontinued the allowance for partial requirements henceforth. Courses in diversity and inclusion, as well as mental health and substance abuse, must be attended. Those who return to active status and fail to attend the courses within the time limits will face disciplinary action and fines.
  • Amended Rule 795 (effective 1 July 2019): The amendment provides that the education providers for each course—in addition to keeping attendance records—must now give the MCLE Board the name, ARDC registration number, and continuing educations hours, including professional responsibility hours, earned by each Illinois-licensed attorney. The providers must also submit annual reports to the MCLE Board. Bar association or professional association meetings can provide CLE credits, but the setting must henceforth be “free of interruptions” and cannot offer more than one CLE credit hour.
  • Amended Rule 796 (effective 1 March 2019): The amendment drops the ARDC’s duty to send a notice that a person is non-compliant. Fees for non-compliance will adhere in any case.

For complete details, refer to the court order dated 29 January 2019, available courtesy of the Illinois MCLE Board, which operates under the auspices of the Illinois Supreme Court.

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