Attorney FAQs: Professional Responsibility CLE

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What is professional responsibility CLE?

Whether discussing the impact of diverse backgrounds and journeys to the law, debating civil behavior in the face of aggressive litigation tactics, or discovering strategies for work-life balance, we believe that innovative and effective professional responsibility education leads to a more effective and rewarding legal career. Professional responsibility courses teach attorneys how to work with their peers, serve their clients, and increase their own personal commitment to the law.

What are my professional responsibility CLE requirements?

CLE requirements are defined by Rule 794. With certain exceptions, practicing attorneys in Illinois must complete six hours of professional responsibility CLE in every two-year 30-hour reporting cycle. Attorneys can take courses or complete activities in the areas of professionalism, diversity and inclusion, mental health and substance abuse, civility, or legal ethics. Attorneys must take one hour of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE as part of these six hours. Our Professional Responsibility Education Guide goes into further detail on these topic areas.

What are my professional responsibility CLE requirements as a newly admitted attorney?

Newly admitted attorneys must complete a 6-hour Basic Skills course in professional responsibility. This requirement may be fulfilled by the completion of the year-long mentoring program.

How can I find professional responsibility CLE courses?

Attorneys can find CLE courses through their bar associations, employers, non-profit organizations, and commercial CLE providers. The MCLE Board hosts a public listing of all CLE courses offered to the public in Illinois. Attorneys can also find free professional responsibility CLE courses from the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, the Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and the Commission on Professionalism.

What are non-traditional CLE activities?

In addition to the traditional CLE course offerings, attorneys have other options for obtaining professional responsibility credit. 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 law school courses, part-time teaching of law courses, or legal scholarship (publications), please electronically submit the non-traditional CLE application.

How do I get a CLE certificate for courses I took outside of Illinois?

If a provider has not applied for professional responsibility CLE credit in Illinois, attorneys can electronically submit the out-of-state CLE application to receive a CLE certificate from the Commission.

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