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CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION: For Attorneys
 
Click the link or scroll down for more information regarding:  For New AttorneysFor Firms and Assistants


General Information

Most attorneys have a biannual requirement of 24 credit hours due every two years. The Rules provide exceptions for senior attorneys, attorneys resuming active practice after a period of inactivity, and newly admitted attorneys who are not admitted during the month of December. However, these exceptions comprise only approximately 5% of all active attorneys and judges. If an attorney was admitted in an even-numbered year, credits are always due to be completed by December 31 of every even-numbered year; odd-numbered year admissions complete credit by December 31 of every odd-numbered year. Of the 24 credits, one-sixth, or 4 credits, must be earned in Enhanced Ethics.

Attorneys earn credits primarily from attending traditional courses of instruction held by organizations which exist to educate attorneys and other professionals. However, attorneys may earn credit in many other ways, but such forms of credit are limited to various amounts within the Rules. Other forms of approved attendance include in-house programs, monitored video replay and technologically-delivered self-study coursework. Attorneys may receive credit, upon application, for activities such as teaching CLE courses, performing pro bono work, writing and publishing works of knowledge requiring substantial research in the law, and serving on organizations which seek to improve the administration of justice.

Attorneys bear the responsibility of finding coursework which interests them and which will meet their CLE obligation. Our website can assist with the process by providing attorneys a listing of individually-approved programs and approved self-study activities (program catalog). If an attorney attends a traditional program not approved by this office, or participates in an activity as described above, the attorney may apply for credit by completing the appropriate application form and submitting it to the Commission with the necessary materials for review.

When attorneys attend approved courses, the provider maintains a record of attendance which includes each attorney's name, Delaware Supreme Court identification number, and actual credit earned. Attorneys should remember their identification number and follow all providers' instructions for recording attendance. After the seminar, the provider gives the attorney a certificate of attendance and sends a copy of the attendance list to the Commission.

Each February, the Commission will notify each attorney that an online transcript is available for final review of credits on record. This Transcript will include carryover credits from the attorney's last reporting period, credits reported by providers of approved courses, and credits approved through attorneys' applications for credit. If the attorney's compliance deadline has just passed, the attorney must certify Transcript to the Commission no later than March 1 of the reporting year (the year following the attorney's December 31 compliance deadline), making any changes necessary. If the attorney's compliance deadline has not passed, the attorney need not take any action unless changes are necessary.

While the Commission's Transcript system gives attorneys much assistance in maintaining a record of their credits, it is still the attorney's responsibility to confirm and correct information shown. The attorney should retain a certificate of attendance from every program attended to compare to the annual Transcript. If the attorney would like to monitor the reporting of credits to the Transcript throughout the year rather than wait until the annual mailing, the attorney may sign up for online access to the Transcript. Updated information is posted as received and this free service allows attorneys to review posted credit on an ongoing basis.

Attorneys should remember that neither the paper nor the online Transcripts are considered accurate or complete until the attorney certifies the verified Transcript every two years. Errors occur when attorneys write down an incorrect bar identification number, sign in, providers fail to report credits earned, or attorneys attend courses not previously approved by the Commission. The Transcript is intended only to assist attorneys in reporting their credits to the Commission, not serve as a report from the Commission to the attorney. A space is always provided on each annual Transcript for an attorney to update the form. Therefore, an attorney could choose to ignore all sign-in/sign-out procedures on-site, receive a blank Transcript, and fill in his own record of credits earned. However, should the attorney's Transcript be randomly selected for audit pursuant to CLE Rule 5(A)(6), it will be more difficult for the credits to be substantiated without any provider record of credits earned.

Continuing Legal Education is mandatory for all attorneys and judges, and the Commission which oversees the requirement is an arm of the Supreme Court. Attorneys will face financial penalties and possible disciplinary action if they do not complete and report credits earned within the proscribed deadlines. The Commission will provide assistance whenever possible in understanding the requirement or meeting the deadlines. If you still have questions after reading the information on this page and the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact the office at (302)577-7040 or by e-mail at margot.millar@state.de.us.


Especially for newly admitted attorneys:

When attorneys are admitted to the Supreme Court of Delaware, the Clerk of the Supreme Court notifies the Commission of the attorney's name, address, identification number and date of admission.

Attorneys admitted in the December admission ceremony have a 24-credit requirement due by December 31 of the year which is two years following admission (see the first paragraph above in general information).

Attorneys admitted in January through November must complete a pro-rated requirement by December 31 of the year in which they are admitted. No credit is due for the month in which admission takes place. Therefore, an attorney admitted in January will have 11 credits due by December 31 of that year; an attorney admitted in October will have 2 credits due by December 31 of the same year. This requirement includes ethics credit equaling 1/6 of requirement. After this prorated requirement, the attorney's next reporting requirement will be 24 credits due by December 31 of two years following.

In addition to the ongoing credit requirement, attorneys admitted to the Delaware Bar may have to complete one of two requirements. Recently Admitted Attorneys who passed the Delaware Bar Examination in 2004 or earlier must also complete the Basic Legal Skills requirement defined by CLE Rule 4(B) within four years of admission. A new attorney is not considered a Recently Admitted Attorney as defined in Rule 2(N) if that attorney's principal occupation was the practice of law for at least five years before the attorney's Delaware admission. The Basic Legal Skills requirement, also called the Fundamentals requirement, consists of three courses in the fundamentals of law: Fundamentals of Lawyer-Client Relations, plus two of the five optional courses: Fundamentals of Family Law, Fundamentals of Civil Litigation, Fundamentals of Real Estate, Fundamentals of Will Drafting and Estate Administration. The Fundamentals course are only offered by the Delaware State Bar Association.

Attorneys who passed the Delaware Bar Examination in 2005 or later are not required to complete the Basic Legal Skills requirement. Beginning in 2005, the Supreme Court's mandatory Pre-Admission Conference was redesigned to comprise a two-day program on fundamentals of practice in Delaware. Attendance at this program is mandatory before attorneys passing the bar exam may be sworn in by the Supreme Court, and attendance is excused only through written petition to the Supreme Court (addressed to Stephen D. Taylor, Court Administrator). Attorneys admitted in another jurisdiction for five years or more have to attend only Day One of the conference.

Fundamentals courses also earn credits toward the ongoing credit requirement for attorneys admitted to the Delaware Bar in any year. Attorneys are encouraged to complete the live courses as they are offered. However, if an attorney nears the four-year deadline and must complete the coursework, monitored video replay is available by appointment at the Delaware State Bar Association's office. Credits earned by monitored video replay may also be counted towards the two-year requirement, up to a limit of half the minimum requirement. If an attorney exceeds this limit, the attorney will receive credit for completing the Fundamentals requirement but will not receive excess video replay credits on the Transcript.

Newly admitted attorneys may not receive credit for courses attended prior to admission to the Delaware Bar (with the exception of the Pre-Admission Conference). Credit is also not available for courses taken in preparation for any other bar examination. However, attorneys satisfying credit requirements for other states may apply for approval of those courses towards their ongoing CLE obligation.

If you still have questions after reading the information on this page and the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact the office at (302)577-7040 or by e-mail at margot.millar@state.de.us.


Especially for law firm CLE Coordinators and Assistants:

Some large law firms employ support staff to assist their attorneys with meeting the CLE obligations, and the Commission is happy to work with such staff to meet this common goal. CLE Rule 10 decrees that compliance information is confidential, so some information is accepted from and released only to the attorney. However, the Executive Director of the Commission is available for presentations or consultations on how to assist attorneys in understanding and meeting the CLE requirements. If your law firm has hired you to coordinate CLE for your firm's attorneys, or if you are new to understanding your attorney's Delaware CLE requirements, please contact the office at (302)577-7040 or by e-mail at margot.millar@state.de.us

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Commission on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of Delaware
Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street, 11th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801-3545
(302) 577-7040