MCLE requirements for new enrollees
Learn how to use your first year as a new lawyer to jumpstart your MCLE credit requirements.
Congratulations and welcome to the profession! You’ve earned it.
Your law school education has prepared you for entry into the profession and The Missouri Bar MCLE department will now serve as a valuable resource for you as you continue in your legal education.
Supreme Court of Missouri Rule 15 establishes that lawyers admitted to The Missouri Bar complete minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements on an annual basis.
As a new enrollee, Supreme Court rules provide you time to become acclimated to your MCLE requirements. Lawyers admitted in September 2023 are first required to comply with Rule 15 for the July 1, 2024-June 30, 2025, compliance year and each year thereafter. 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 compliance year in which the lawyer is initially licensed to practice law. However, MCLE and Dispute Resolution Programs Director Shannon Briesacher suggests new enrollees should familiarize themselves with what will be required under Rule 15 for future reference.
“While Rule 15 of The Supreme Court of Missouri requires lawyers to obtain 15 hours of CLE credit each year and that obligation exists pursuant to a lawyer’s licensure status, The Missouri Bar’s MCLE Department is here to provide assistance and to make the fulfillment of that obligation as easy as possible,” Briesacher said. “We send deadline reminders throughout the year, provide helpful tips on selecting courses necessary to complete a lawyer’s MCLE obligations and facilitate changes in licensure status, when necessary.” Pursuant to Rule 15.05, each lawyer shall complete and report, during each reporting year, a total of at least 15 credit hours of accredited CLE (Continuing Legal Education) programs, seminars, and activities.
- At least three of the total 15 credit hours must be devoted exclusively to accredited ethics activities.
- At least one of the three ethics credit hours must be devoted exclusively to topics of diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, and explicit and implicit bias.
The MCLE compliance year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of each year. Compliance with Rule 15 is reported on the Annual Report of Compliance for the MCLE reporting year in which the credit hours occur. Educational requirements must be completed by June 30 and the annual report submitted by July 31. Although you are exempt from the annual requirements of Rule 15 for the 2023-2024 reporting, Rule 15.05.5 provides that a lawyer completing more than 15.0 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.
“Newly admitted lawyers are not required to report CLE hours during the reporting period in which they are admitted,” Briesacher said. “However, the online MCLE reporting portal allows all lawyers to report CLE attendance throughout the year, as CLE hours are accumulated. If a newly admitted lawyer accumulates more than 15 hours of CLE attendance during the year in which he or she is admitted, those additional hours will carry forward to the following year and all the hours can be tracked online.”
Briesacher also noted that in addition to program and seminar attendance, annual CLE credit may be obtained through self-study (up to six hours of general credit, not including ethics credit).
A lawyer may also earn credit by:
- Speaking at accredited programs (including a limited amount of preparation time)
- Writing an article on a legal issue or topic which is published in a professional journal (up to 15 hours)
Briesacher noted new enrollees can find a program or activity that has been accredited in Missouri in the database of programs on the online reporting and programming system. If a program sponsor did not seek accreditation in Missouri, individual lawyers may seek attendance credit by submitting the program or activity for accreditation on the online reporting and programming platform.
Briesacher encourages new enrollees to find their path to MCLE compliance as early as possible to avoid future late fees or, in extreme instances, suspension. Supreme Court of Missouri Rule 15.06 states that every lawyer failing to meet the requirements of Rule 15 in a required reporting year will be assessed a $200 late fee and an additional $50 fee for each month in which compliance is not obtained, up to a maximum late fee of $500. Further, lawyers failing to meet the Rule 15 requirements on or before March 1 of the following year shall be automatically suspended from the practice of law.
MCLE reporting, as well as other important MCLE information, is available through the MyMCLE online reporting platform at https://mobar.org/MCLE.
Briesacher encourages any lawyer with questions to contact the MCLE department at 573-638-2233 or email@example.com.
“We are always here to help,” she said.