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MCLE

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mandatory Continuing Legal Education?
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, a program adopted by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1986, establishes minimum requirements for continuing legal education for Oklahoma attorneys. The program is administered by the OBA Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission. The Commission consists of eleven members.

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What are the minimum educational requirements of the MCLE program?
Unless exempt, every active member, aged 64 and younger, must complete a minimum of 12 Oklahoma MCLE approved continuing legal education (CLE) credits during the calendar year. No more than 6 of the 12 CLE credits can be earned by participating in Oklahoma MCLE approved online, on-demand seminars. At least one of the 12 CLE credit hours must also be approved for legal ethics.

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Who must comply with the MCLE requirements?
Except for senior and associate members, every OBA member must comply with the requirements unless covered by an exemption under Supreme Court Rule 2.

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How are Mandatory Continuing Legal Education records kept?
If you attend a formal course or seminar that has been accredited by the Oklahoma Bar Association MCLE Commission in advance, you should sign-in before the seminar begins and after lunch, if applicable. The sponsor will send the MCLE Department a report of those who signed in within 30 days of the program. The attendance information will then be entered in your current MCLE compliance record. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to obtain written verification of your attendance that you can submit it to the MCLE Department.

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Is the OBA/MCLE Commission the same as OBA/CLE?
No. The OBA/CLE Department is a presumptively approved sponsor of continuing legal education. The OBA/MCLE Commission administers the MCLE Rules.

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Does Oklahoma have an ethics requirement? What is the required number of CLE hours?
Yes. Oklahoma requires that of the 12 credits of mandatory CLE required each year, a minimum of one credit must be in the area of professional responsibility, legal ethics or legal malpractice prevention.

To meet the ethics requirement in Oklahoma, instruction must be in blocks of time specifically devoted to legal ethics. Issues related to ethics may be included as part of a program highlighting another area of the law, as long as the ethics portion is in identifiable blocks of time.

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What dates constitute a compliance period?
The period from January 1 through December 31 is the Oklahoma MCLE compliance period.

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When do I need to start earning the required credit?
For newly licensed attorneys, you are exempt from the educational requirement for the calendar year you are admitted to practice law in Oklahoma. Your first year exemption will be filed automatically. You are not required to file the Annual Report of Compliance for the year you are first admitted to practice in Oklahoma. If you earn credit after you are admitted and before the end of the calendar year you are admitted, this credit can be carried forward to the following year only.

The following calendar year, you must earn the minimum requirement by December 31 of that year. If you earn your required credit by December 31 and the MCLE Department has a record of your attendance,  you do not need to do anything further. You can check your MCLE record any time at the Oklahoma Bar Association web site. Login to "my okbar" at bottom of page using your bar number and your PIN.

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May I carry over excess credit hours?
Yes. A maximum of one year’s requirement, 12 hours including 1 ethics hour, may be carried to the next year providing such credit is reported the year it is taken.

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Will I be required to file a report at the end of the year?
The MCLE rules no longer require that an Annual Report of Compliance be filed by members whose MCLE record reflects that he or she has the required credit by December 31. The Annual Report of Compliance must be filed by members who do not have sufficient credit on their MCLE record by December 31 or by members who must report an exemption. Exemptions for newly admitted attorneys and those who have reached age 65 are recorded automatically. No report is required from members entitled to these two exemptions.

In mid-January the Annual Report of Compliance is mailed to all members whose records indicate that they do not have sufficient credit. Upon receipt, you should make whatever additions or corrections need to be made or mark the appropriate exemption. You may also file this report online after January 2. Login to "my okbar" at bottom of page using your bar number and your PIN and follow the directions under MCLE credits.

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Will I receive any type of advance notice of my present MCLE record prior to the end of the calendar year?
Members of the OBA receive an Interim Annual Report of Compliance in late October by email. You can contact the MCLE Department at any time during the year to check your current status, or you can check your status over the internet. Login to "my okbar" at bottom of page using your bar number and your PIN.

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What is a "presumptively approved provider?"
An accredited, or presumptively approved provider is an organization whose entire CLE program has been accredited by the MCLE Commission. An attorney who attends a CLE activity sponsored or co-sponsored by a presumptively approved provider is generally assured MCLE credit, with one credit hour for each 50 minutes of actual instruction. The only educational programs of presumptively approved providers that would not qualify are those on topics not directly related to substantive or procedural law or ethics.

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I attend programs both in-state and out-of-state. How do I apply for credit for each of these?
Most sponsors are familiar with the application and reporting procedures in Oklahoma. In-state sponsors will require attendees to sign in when the seminar begins and again after lunch. For out-of-state programs, many sponsors may have applied for credit prior to the program.

An attorney may apply for credit independently by completing the Uniform Application for Accreditation. The completed application, along with the $15 per application fee and a copy of the program agenda or brochure for computation of CLE/ethics credits must also be included. A review of the seminar handout materials may also be required. In some instances, another individual or the sponsor may have already submitted written materials. If further information is needed, the MCLE office will contact you.

MCLE Regulation 4.5 requires that providers or attendees should apply for approval 45 days before the activity. While this is ideal, it is not always practical. Application can take place within 90 days after a program or by December 31, whichever comes first; however, do not assume credit will be granted.

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How are continuing legal education hours calculated?
Allocation of continuing legal education hours is never arbitrary. Instead, each 50 minute segment of actual instructional time constitutes 1.0 CLE hour.
Instructional periods of less than 1 CLE hour are rounded to the nearest half hour.

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Do I have to attend seminars in Oklahoma?
No. Approved CLE courses in any state or country will qualify for credit as long as they meet Oklahoma accreditation standards and the appropriate application procedures are followed. Course content, not location, is the controlling factor.

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It is difficult to get away from the office for live CLE seminars. I'd like to secure my CLE hours by a correspondence course or by self-study. Are these options available to me?
No. There is no provision for self-study or correspondence course work in Oklahoma. Upon written request, exceptions may be granted for physical limitations which restrict an attorney’s ability to be mobile, sit, see or hear. The Commission may approve satellite presentations. Video tape presentations are allowed when the program is Oklahoma MCLE approved, there are at least 5 licensed attorneys attending the video, each attendee has the required written materials and the video is shown in a setting with writing surfaces.

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Does Oklahoma approve in-house programs?
Oklahoma does approve in-house programs as long as they meet the criteria set forth in MCLE policy. Applications for approval of an in-house activity must be received by the Commission 45 days in advance of the program. In addition, at least 50% of the instructional time must be presented by persons having no affiliation with the firm.

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May I receive credit under the MCLE program for attending a course offered by a law school?
Yes. Credit is available for regular enrollment or auditing an ABA accredited college of law course, equal to 3 times the number of credit hours granted by the college of law for completion of the course.

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How will I know how many CLE credit hours I will be awarded for teaching?
You must apply for teaching credit using the prescribed form. You will be issued a notice of accreditation stating the CLE credits granted.

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How is teaching credit determined?
Regulation 3.3 provides 6 hours of CLE credits for each 50 minutes of instruction at an approved continuing legal education activity. If teaching is part of a panel, the time is divided equally among the instructors.
Teaching credit is not awarded for the conference moderator and will not be awarded for teaching to a non-attorney audience.

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I prepared the written materials used in association with a CLE presentation. If someone else teaches the course or it is canceled, may I receive any credit?
No.

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Are extensions of time to complete CLE requirements available?
No. If you complete your educational requirements after December 31, there is assessed a $100.00 fee for late compliance.

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Where do I call if I have questions?
The MCLE Office is located at the Oklahoma Bar Center. This office can be reached at (405) 416-7009 or for Oklahoma residents at (800) 522-8065 or mcle@okbar.org.

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Please contact us if you have questions concerning approval of a seminar, approval of teaching credit or the Annual Report of Compliance.

E-mail: mcle@okbar.org
Phone: (405) 416-7009
P.O. Box 53036
Oklahoma City, OK 73152