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CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION: Attorneys - FAQs


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Transcript and Reporting   Courses and Activities   Other Information



Transcript and Reporting

1. How do I find out how many credits I have now or how many I need by my deadline?
2. What if I don't have all my credits done by December 31?
3. I completed my make-up plan. Is there anything else I must do?
4. Can I get my late fees waived?
5. My deadline is almost here! Can I just watch videos to finish my credits?
6. I get a report each year - do I have to earn so many hours each year?
7. How many of my Enhanced Ethics credits can I earn by video replay or self-study?
8. I earned excess Enhanced Ethics last reporting period. Can I use them as carryover?
9. What's the most carryover I can have?


Courses and Activities

 
1. How do I know if a course I took or want to take is approved?
2. What if I attend a seminar not previously approved by the Commission?
3. How do I make sure my credits are reported to the Commission?
4. What if I forget to sign out of a seminar? What if I forget to write down my ID number?
5. How do I get credit for teaching, pro bono, or something else I did?
6. What is self-study? Can I get credit for listening to tapes at home? What about the teleconference I attended last week?
7. Can I get credit for a seminar my firm is holding?


Other Information

 
1. I also have to do credits for Pennsylvania. Do I still have to do Delaware credits?
2. What if I change to active? What if I'm inactive and want to return to practice?
3. What is the Fundamentals requirement?
4. Can I be exempted from the Fundamentals requirement?
5. Do courses I take in New Jersey count towards my Fundamentals requirement?
6. How do I find courses to satisfy the Fundamentals requirement? Can they be done by self-study or video replay?
7. What if I don't complete the Fundamentals requirement within four years of admission? Can I get an extension?


Transcript and Reporting

1. How do I find out how many credits I have now or how many I need by my deadline?

You can get this information if you have enrolled in our online Transcript feature (www.desclms.org). You may have enrolled by completing the appropriate portion of any previous Transcript, or by sending a letter or an e-mail to the Commission to register a password. The Commission does not have the resources to mail updates but will discuss credits earned over the telephone or via e-mail. If you do not want to wait until the next Transcript is finalized in January, you should enroll in the online database, which allows you to look up your credits on a website at any time of the day or night. Because of the confidentiality requirements of the CLE Rules, however, you must supply the Commission with a password or PIN number in order to access these credits. Please review the instructions on the Transcript page to sign up for this feature. If you do not give this information to the Commission, your records cannot be accessed online, and you will have to wait until each January to receive the finalized xcript.

2. What if I don't have all my credits done by December 31?

Provisions for make-up plans are built into the Rules. You have two options:

  • Complete the credits in January and February and add them in on the Transcript before you certify and return it to the Commission on or before March 1. We consider this a completed make-up plan.
  • File the certified Transcript showing the credits you have completed (if any) on or before March 1, but forward to it a make-up plan. A make-up plan may be a letter you compose or a completed Form 14. Make-up plans must inform the Commission of the specific courses you plan to complete by April 30 and are subject to approval by the Commission. If there are any changes to the approved plan, you must notify the Commission in writing or by e-mail. When you have completed the plan, you must file a statement confirming completion (or a completed Form 15) within 15 days of completion of the coursework.

3. I completed my make-up plan. Is there anything else I must do?

Yes! You are not considered in compliance until you have reported completion of the make-up coursework pursuant to CLE Rule 9(A)(1)(a). Just as you must verify the information on the Transcript by March 1, providers cannot confirm your attendance on your behalf. You must file a statement confirming completion (or a completed Form 15) within 15 days of completion of the coursework. If the provider has agreed to report your credits to the Commission, the report can only be used to verify your information, not to replace your verification to the Commission that you earned the credits.

4. Can I get my late fees waived?

The Commission is no longer waiving the $50.00 late filing fee. This fee is imposed by CLE Rule 5(A)(3) and is assessed regardless of the reason for the delay, including health problems and mail delays. The Commission encourages attorneys to certify and file the Transcript early. The per diem fees assessed by CLE Rule 5(A)(4) for filing a Transcript after April 1 and by CLE Rule 9(A)(1)(a) for filing late completion of a make-up plan may be waived, in part or in whole, by the Commission, for good cause shown. If you have been assessed late fees under these Rules, you may petition the Commission for consideration of fee waiver or reduction.

5. My deadline is almost here! Can I just watch videos to finish my credit?

Monitored video replay is still allowed by the Rules, however, only half of the minimum requirement may be earned by monitored video replay. For attorneys with a 24-hour credit requirement, no more than 12 credits may be earned by monitored video replay. Excess credits will not carry over; they simply will be rejected by the system.
Self-study video options are not available; the three providers approved for monitored video replay options are the Delaware State Bar Association, the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association, and the National Law Foundation. Other providers may present programs by video replay, but only these three schedule videos on an on-demand basis.

6. I get a report each year - do I have to earn so many hours each year?

No. The mid-period report is only to remind you of your status halfway through your compliance period. If you have earned ample credits for your upcoming deadline, you need not take courses unless they are of particular interest to you. If you have earned no credits, it serves as a reminder to make CLE course scheduling a priority in the upcoming year. It also gives you another opportunity to send in a password for the online Transcript database.

7. How many of my Enhanced Ethics credits can I earn by video replay or self-study?

All that are required. While your total credits are limited in certain categories such as monitored video replay or self-study, these ratio limits do not apply specifically to your Enhanced Ethics requirement. Therefore, if you have a requirement of 24 credits, including 4 Enhanced Ethics credits, you may earn up to 12 credits by self-study, of which 6 may be audio-only such as telephone seminars. All 4 of your required Enhanced Ethics credits may be earned through telephone seminars, online seminars, or video replay. Limits on the way you may earn credits apply only to the total amount; limits on "half the minimum requirement" do not apply specifically to the Enhanced Ethics requirement as well.

8. I earned excess Enhanced Ethics last reporting period. Can I use them as carryover?

Not as Enhanced Ethics credits. The 4 Enhanced Ethics credits must be earned during each two-year period and do not carry over as Enhanced Ethics. However, you are not penalized by earning more than 4 hours in Enhanced Ethics - they do stay part of your total credits, which carry over to the following two-year period.

9. What's the most carryover I can have?

If you have a requirement of 24 credits, you can carry over up to 20 credits to the following period (the Enhanced Ethics credits must be new each period). If you are a senior attorney and have a requirement of 12 credits, the most you can carry over is 10. If you are a newly admitted attorney or an attorney resuming active practice, your requirements are one-time-only and you may carry over 20 to the following period (unless you are resuming practice and will be considered a senior attorney after that requirement is satisfied; then the most you can carry forward is 10). CLE Rules have recently been clarified on this point.



Courses and Activities

1. How do I know if a course I took or want to take is approved?

We approve both sponsors and individual programs. We will approve the program as long as it meets our Rules - if the topic is in an area such as stress management or business development, contact the Commission to determine actual approval status. Please refer to the program catalog at www.decle.org for approved courses.
Important: The above information applies only to live programs. All self-study programs must be approved through the same process, regardless of provider status. We consider self-study programs to be any organized program of learning in which the provider's representative is not physically present with the attorney as the educational activity is underway.

2. What if I attend a course not previously approved by the Commission?

Indicate when you register, or at least when you attend, that you want Delaware credit. If the provider does not want to apply for Delaware credit, you will still have to do so in order to receive credit. Complete the Form 4 application so that the Commission can review the program and assign credits. Form 4 should be completed after the seminar so you can attach a final agenda and attendance certificate and properly answer all questions about the format of the seminar. However, if you require approval in advance, you may complete the Form 4 application before attending the seminar. You may need provider assistance in completing certain areas of the form (information about written materials or program format), and after attending, you will have to submit a copy of your attendance certificate so credit can be posted to your Transcript. Be sure to apply for credit as soon as possible after you have completed the activity so that your Transcript will always reflect the most accurate information. Since the reporting period ends before the Transcript is finalized, if you do not apply for credit for activities on a timely basis, it will affect your compliance status.

3. How do I make sure my credits are reported to the Commission?

Follow the instructions of the program provider at each seminar. This will usually require signing in at the program on a list at the door so they can track your attendance. However, some providers, particularly those of larger seminars with many concurrent sessions, have obtained approval of other attendance maintenance records, so if you do not see a sign-in sheet, be sure to ask. You may be required to turn in a program evaluation at the end of each session, or complete and submit a two-part form verified by the provider. Always supply your Delaware Supreme Court identification number on all paperwork, and for out-of-state seminars, be sure to request Delaware credit so they know to send us the records.

4. What if I forget to write down my ID number?

Contact the program sponsor so that they can amend their records. According to the sponsor's policy, you may not receive full credit. If you do not write down your ID number or write down the wrong number, you will not receive credit; your name may not be legible, or it may be the same as someone else's, so the Commission will not be able to ensure credit. If you write down the wrong number, someone else may receive your credit by accident.

5. How do I get credit for teaching, pro bono, or something else I did?

The Commission approves a number of forms of non-attendance credit. All work must be unpaid. You may receive credit for teaching or moderating a CLE course or teaching to law students; for authoring works of scholarly writing circulated to at least 300 lawyers; for writing and grading questions for the Board of Bar Examiners; for participating on committees that seek improvements in the law or administration of justice; and for performing uncompensated legal work assigned by specific Delaware agencies or courts. See our forms page to complete and submit the appropriate application for review, or, preferably, submit forms through online process.

6. What is eCLE? Can I get credit for listening to tapes at home? What about the teleconference I attended last week?

Self-study is any activity where the provider is not physically present with the attorney as the educational activity is underway. This includes telephone and online courses, as well as tapes at home. Self-study programs must be organized programs of learning, so reading books for credit will not qualify. Providers must be able to provide independent verification of the attorney's identification and participation, so tests or electronic monitoring may be involved. Due to the newness of this area and the extensive technology usually involved, only providers may apply for Commission approval of a program, and application must be made at least 60 days in advance to allow ample time for Commission review. Therefore, attorneys interested in completing self-study courses for credit must choose only from the Commission's list of approved self-study courses. If you attended a course before the provider sought credit, you will not be able to receive any credit for that course.

7. Can I get credit for a seminar my firm is holding?

We do approve closed, in-house programs for credit. The seminar must be approved by the Commission, and the firm must agree to abide by all the rules for providers, but there are no other restrictions for in-house programs. Attorneys may not earn more than half their credits per period through this means of instruction. The firm should apply following the instructions on the providers' page, or the attorney may apply for approval of individual credit using the Form 4 application. A completed Form 10 application must be attached to either application, and for the provider to receive credit, they must maintain attendance records in accordance with our requirements.



Other Information

1. I also have to do CLE for Pennsylvania. Do I still have to do credits for Delaware?

If you primarily practice in Pennsylvania*, and if you are licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and required to complete CLE for Pennsylvania, you need only certify on the Delaware Transcript that you are compliant in Pennsylvania and need not worry about Delaware's specific credit requirements. * - "Primary Practice" refers to the address you maintain on record with the Supreme Court through filing of your annual registration statements. The same rule applies to all other mandatory continuing legal education states. This does not exempt you from the Fundamentals requirement, only from the general credit requirement. If you primarily practice in Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, D. C., or another jurisdiction where CLE is not mandatory, you must still satisfy Delaware requirements. If your Transcript is randomly selected for audit and you have certified that you are compliant with the requirements in your primary jurisdiction, you may be required to submit proof of compliance to the Commission. If, however, you primarily practice in Delaware, then you still have to meet Delaware requirements, regardless of the other states in which you may be admitted. Please note: for this exemption to be claimed, it must apply during the entire two-year reporting period. During that time, the attorney must not have changed addresses outside the state in which the exemption is claimed, the attorney may not have been admitted to that state at some time during that two-year period, etc. The intent of the exemption rule is merely to save the attorney the burden of filing the paperwork to seek Delaware approval for all the out-of-state courses as most states' MCLE requirements are nearly the same. Therefore, the attorney who does not qualify for the exemption may still not have to do any CLE specifically for Delaware if the attorney files the paperwork to seek approval for each individual course attended.

2. What if I change from inactive to active? What if I'm inactive and want to return to practice?

You are exempt from CLE during your time of inactivity. If you come back to active practice, your requirement will be prorated based upon the point in your reporting cycle when you became inactive, and the point in your reporting cycle when you returned to active status. In addition, if you owed late fees to the Commission at the time you opted for inactive status, you must pay these fees in order to resume active practice. The Commission will contact you in writing upon receipt of the Supreme Court Clerk's letter to you confirming your new active status. If you are near a reporting deadline and have ample credits to meet the compliance requirement for that deadline, you should report compliance before changing to inactive, as this will decrease the number of credits due when you return to practice.

3. What is the Fundamentals requirement?

The Fundamentals requirement is a series of courses in basic legal skills required of all Recently Admitted Attorneys who passed the Delaware Bar Examination in 2004 or earlier. An attorney must take three of the courses within four years of admission. Fundamentals of Lawyer-Client Relations is required; the other two may be chosen among: Fundamentals of Civil Litigation, Fundamentals of Will Drafting and Estate Administration, Fundamentals of Family Law, and Fundamentals of Real Estate. At this time the Delaware State Bar Association is the only provider of these courses. Attorneys who passed the Delaware Bar Examination in 2005 or later are not required to complete these courses as they are instead required to attend the mandatory pre-admission conference in order to be sworn in to the Delaware Bar.

4. Can I be exempted from the Fundamentals requirement?

The Fundamentals requirement must be satisfied by all Recently Admitted Attorneys, and CLE Rule 2(N) defines "Recently Admitted Attorney" as "every Attorney who has been a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court for no more than 4 years and who upon the Attorney's initial admission to the Bar of the Supreme Court had, as the Attorney's principal occupation, been actively engaged in the practice of law within the United States or its territories for less than 5 years." Therefore, if you were working as an attorney in another state for at least five years before you were admitted to practice in Delaware, you need not complete the Fundamentals courses. On very few occasions, the Commission has waived the requirement for attorneys who changed to inactive status immediately after admission and practiced in another state for at least five years before returning to active practice in Delaware. No other exemptions are allowed. Attorneys required to complete the Fundamentals courses may not attend the pre-admission conference instead.

5. Do courses I take in New Jersey count towards my Fundamentals requirement?

No. The Fundamentals programs must be those approved by the Commission to deal with Delaware law. Courses you take to satisfy your Basic Legal Skills requirements in New Jersey or other states may be approved (via Form 4) towards your biannual requirement, but cannot be applied to your Fundamentals requirement.

6. How do I find courses to satisfy the Fundamentals requirement? Can they be done by self-study or video replay?

At this time, the Delaware State Bar Association is the only provider of Fundamentals courses. Be sure that you are on their mailing list for upcoming program advertisements. The Commission does not advertise any programs for providers, including the Fundamentals programs. At this time, Fundamentals courses may not be completed by self-study. Since there is no provision within the Rules for completing the courses via a make-up plan after the four-year deadline, attorneys may attend monitored video replays at the DSBA's office in order to complete the credits before the deadline. This method of attendance is strongly discouraged, as the interaction of a live seminar is a more valuable learning experience than monitored video replay. Also, since attorneys may only earn half the biannual minimum requirement through this medium, attorneys attending all three Fundamentals courses right before the deadline will not be able to receive credit for all three towards their two-year requirement.

7. What if I don't complete the Fundamentals requirement within four years of admission? Can I get an extension?

No. There is no extension allowed by the Rules. If your completion of the Fundamentals requirement is not reported on the CLE Transcript during the month after the four-year deadline expires, you will receive a notice from the Commission to request the date(s) on which you completed the courses. If this notice is not returned by the response deadline, you will receive a Notice of Noncompliance pursuant to CLE Rule 9(A)(1)(a), giving you 20 days to respond. If you do not rectify the situation by completing the courses via monitored video replay at the DSBA's offices by that final deadline, the matter of noncompliance will be referred to Disciplinary Counsel for review.

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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