Innovating professional responsibility CLE.
Professional responsibility education is a vehicle for changing lawyer behavior to exemplify the ideals of our profession. As a leader in continuing legal education, we develop and facilitate interactive and engaging CLE courses, while supporting course providers in designing programs that address timely professionalism challenges.
Finally, we approve all courses that qualify for professional responsibility CLE credit in Illinois, ensuring only high-quality CLE is delivered to attorneys in our state.
Questions about CLE? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional responsibility CLE explores attorney behavior and its impact on the profession, the delivery of justice, and our society as a whole. Through professional responsibility courses, lawyers learn how to better work with their peers, improve client relationships, and build a reputation for integrity and commitment to the law. Learn more about our free CLE programs below.
We are continuing to deliver CLE online and are evaluating in-person CLE requests in accordance with public health guidelines.
Our interactive online eLearnings fall into the areas that Rule 794(d) defines as professional responsibility: professionalism, civility, legal ethics, diversity and inclusion, and mental health and substance abuse.
The Illinois Supreme Court’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program creates opportunities for experienced lawyers to share practical learning and professional guidance with new lawyers – virtually and in person. Attorneys who complete the program are eligible for 6 hours of free CLE, which also fulfills the basic skills course required for new attorneys.
Courthouse Professionalism Training
We conduct onsite CLE seminars that place courthouse personnel in the shoes of patrons for a day, exploring the courthouse experience from the eyes of users. These trainings are designed to highlight the role each member of the courthouse community plays in ensuring a positive experience with the justice system.
We are evaluating in-person Courthouse Professionalism Training requests in accordance with public health guidelines.
Non-traditional and out-of-state CLE
A list of all available CLE activities can be found in Rule 795(d)(7).
To obtain CLE credit for non-traditional activities, such as attending or teaching law school courses or legal scholarship (i.e., writing for a publication), apply through your MCLE dashboard.
If a provider hasn’t applied for professional responsibility CLE credit in Illinois, log in to your MCLE dashboard to apply for out-of-state CLE credit.
Need more free online CLE?
Check out a list of courses free CLE courses offered outside of the Commission here.
If you have questions about professional responsibility CLE, please contact email@example.com.
At the Commission, we believe that lawyers who exemplify the ideals of professionalism can change the world. Therefore, we are dedicated to supporting high-quality professional responsibility CLE across Illinois.
We assist CLE providers in developing courses and activities in the areas of professionalism, civility, legal ethics, diversity and inclusion, and mental health and substance abuse. We also approve professional responsibility CLE credit for out-of-state courses, non-traditional activities, and mentoring program participation.
Develop a CLE
Developing or facilitating a CLE? We’re here to help. We have outlined steps and assembled resources to help you develop an innovative and engaging CLE. Need additional help? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Guidelines for all Professional Responsibility CLE
The following guidelines apply to providers who wish to apply for professional responsibility (PR) CLE credit in the areas of professionalism, civility, ethics, mental health and substance abuse (MH&SA), or diversity and inclusion (D&I).
Important Rules to Consider
All courses requesting PR CLE credit must comply with the general CLE course requirements of Rule 795(a). These requirements include:
- The course or activity must have significant intellectual, educational, or practical content, and its primary objective must be to increase each participant’s professional competence as an attorney. [Rule 795(a)(1)]
- The course or activity must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law. [Rule 795(a)(2)]
- The course must be offered by a provider having substantial, recent experience in offering CLE or demonstrated ability to organize and effectively present CLE. “Demonstrated ability” arises partly from the extent to which individuals with legal training or educational experience are involved in the planning, instruction, and supervision of the activity. [Rule 795(a)(3)]
- The course must be conducted by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience. [Rule 795(a)(4)]
Mental Health and Substance Abuse CLE Guidelines
The following guidelines were developed by the Commission on Professionalism for CLE providers and administrators who wish to apply for PR CLE credit in the area of mental health and substance abuse (MH&SA).
In planning any PR CLE, including MH&SA, please refer to the General Guidelines for all Professional Responsibility CLE.
When considering topics for MH&SA CLE, we recommend providers consider whether the qualifications and experience of the presenters are appropriate to not only deliver the content but also to position the presenter as an expert in the field.
This is particularly important with regard to topics such as suicide, substance abuse, trauma, and depression, which are areas that require specialized expertise and are best facilitated by engaging an appropriately qualified medical professional on a substantive level.
Diversity and Inclusion CLE Guidelines
The following guidelines were developed by the Commission on Professionalism for CLE providers and administrators who wish to apply for PR CLE credit in the area of diversity and inclusion (D&I).
In planning any PR CLE, including D&I, please refer to the General Guidelines for all Professional Responsibility CLE.
When considering courses for D&I CLE, we recommend providers review whether the qualifications and experience of the presenters are appropriate to not only deliver the content but also to position the presenter as an expert in the field.
This is particularly important with regard to topics such as unconscious bias, stigma, dimensions of diversity, and harassment, as these are topics in which participants may have had negative experiences in their daily lives.
For these areas of expertise, it is essential that the presenter has incorporated how the unique challenges of the legal profession can create barriers to change. Generic courses on societal bias, D&I may not address these barriers and be a source of frustration for the participants looking for practical, customized solutions.
Professionalism, Ethics, and Civility CLE Guidelines
Rule 794(d) defines PR courses as those in the areas of professionalism, civility, legal ethics, diversity and inclusion, and mental health and substance abuse. Civility, professionalism, and legal ethics are discussed below.
In addition, please remember that every PR course must still meet Rule 795 accreditation standards.
Resources and blogs
- CLE Best Practices
- How to Boost the Staying Power of Your CLE
- Need a New Mentoring Activity? Develop a CLE with Your Mentee.
- Wash, Rinse, Repeat: Using Learning Pathways to Guide Your CLE Strategy
- Crickets and Conversations: Lessons in Online Course Design
- Evaluating Your CLE’s Impact with Kirkpatrick
- Embracing Your Role in Remote Learning
- Size Matters: Shifting Small Groups to Active Learning
- Shouting into the Void: Tips for Presenting an Online CLE
- Calvinball and The 10/5 Rule of CLE
- Leading from Behind in Continuing Legal Education
- Simple Video Editing Tips for Lawyers
The Commission has a ready-made CLE course toolkit that makes designing and facilitating a course on civility simple. View the toolkit here: What History and Ethics Can Teach Us About Lawyer Civility.
Course monitoring program
As part of our mission of approving all professional responsibility CLE courses in Illinois, we provide oversight of course quality and assist course providers in developing high-quality content. In doing so, our staff periodically attends and monitors courses statewide, providing feedback and guidance to the provider.
If you would like us to attend your course, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Apply for course approval
We accredit professional responsibility CLE courses and activities. Courses for review should be submitted through the MCLE Board’s PCAM system. Courses are generally reviewed by the Commission in 7-10 days.
A list of all available CLE activities can be found in Rule 795(d)(7). To obtain CLE certificates for non-traditional activities, such as attending or teaching law school courses or legal scholarship (publications), please apply through your MCLE dashboard.
Providers with questions about PCAM should contact the MCLE Board.
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