Important changes to Rule 15
The Supreme Court of Missouri revised Rule 15.05 on June 30, 2019, to include a new requirement for lawyers required to complete continuing legal education hours.
|For each reporting year, each lawyer shall complete and report at least two credit hours of accredited programs and activities devoted exclusively to professionalism, substance abuse and mental health, legal or judicial ethics, or malpractice prevention and at least one credit hour of accredited programs and activities devoted exclusively to cultural competency, diversity, inclusion, and implicit bias, unless the lawyer has not actively practiced law in Missouri during the period or has given notice of inactive status pursuant to Rule 6.03. Completion of these requirements shall be reported to The Missouri Bar as specified by The Missouri Bar.|
On Nov. 15, 2019, the Court revised Rule 15.05 to clarify that the hour related to elimination of bias be included as part of the ethics requirement and to increase the overall number of required ethics hours to three to include the new requirement.
|15.05 CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS (a) After July 1, 1988, except as provided in Rule 15.05(c), each lawyer shall complete and report, during each reporting year, a total of at least 15 credit hours of accredited programs, seminars, and activities. For each reporting year:
(1) at least three of the total 15 credit hours must be devoted exclusively to accredited ethics programs, seminars, and activities, including professionalism, substance abuse, mental health, legal or judicial ethics, malpractice prevention, explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency programs, seminars, and activities; and
(2) at least one of the three ethics credit hours required under Rule 15.05(a)(1) must be devoted exclusively to explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency.
The new rule is effective for the 2019-20 MCLE reporting year, meaning that the requirements must be completed by June 30, 2020, and reported no later than July 31, 2020.
On Dec. 31, 2019, the Court revised Rule 15.06 to increase the late fee for lawyers who fail to meet the July 31, 2020 filing deadline. The fee will increase to $200 if the annual report establishing compliance with Rule 15 is not received by August 31, 2020. The fee will increase an additional $50 for each additional month of noncompliance, with a maximum late fee of $500. The rule changes the date when late fees are assessed.
What does this mean with respect to your MCLE requirements?
By June 30, 2020, you must complete at least 15 total hours. At least three (3) of the 15 hours must be devoted exclusively to accredited ethics programs, seminars, and activities, that include professionalism, substance abuse, mental health, legal or judicial ethics, malpractice prevention, explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency programs, seminars, and activities. At least one (1) of the hours must be devoted exclusively to explicit or implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, or cultural competency.
When is the annual report of compliance due?
Your report must be submitted no later than July 31, 2020. If you do not submit a report reflecting compliance with Rule 15 by August 31, 2020, a late fee of $200 will be imposed. The late fee will increase by $50 for each month your report is filed late.
Who must comply with Rule 15?
All lawyers in Category 1 and 2 fee status must comply with Rule 15 reporting requirements. If you do not practice at all in Missouri, you may claim an exemption by checking the appropriate box on either the electronic or paper form, but you must submit a report. If you practice primarily in another state, you may report your compliance in your state of principal practice to be compliant in Missouri. You will need to supply the state and bar number in the Reciprocal Compliance reporting section on the annual report.
Members whose status is Inactive or Category 3 as of June 30, 2020 are not required to complete MCLE hours or file a report for that MCLE compliance year.
You will find your category under the “Bar Information” tab on your member profile after you have signed in at MoBar.org.
When do these changes take effect?
These new requirements are in effect for the 2019-2020 MCLE compliance year.
When will online filing be available?
The Missouri Bar is developing a new online reporting application. The project began in January 2019 with completion expected in the fall of 2019, but the rule changes during the last six months have required additional programming work. The new application is expected to launch by March 1, 2020. Once the new system is available, you will receive notification and information about how to report your hours online via the My MCLE online annual compliance reporting application at MoBar.org.
Have more questions? Contact The Missouri Bar MCLE team at 573-638-2233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.