Rules Of The Supreme Court Of The State Of Oklahoma
For Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
Adopted and Promulgated by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma on the 17th day of January, 1986. Effective March 1, 1986. Amended to June, 2004.
- Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission (MCLEC)
- Scope and Exemptions
- Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Requirements
- Annual Report
- Noncompliance and Sanctions
- Regulation 1
- Regulation 2
- Regulation 3
- Regulation 4 (includes standards for course approval)
- Presumptively Approved Provider List (Reg. 4.2)
- Regulation 5
- Regulation 6
- Substituted Compliance Policies (technology based CLE)
RULE 1. MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION COMMISSION (MCLEC)
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- There is hereby established a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission (MCLEC) consisting of eleven (11) members who are resident members of the Bar of this State. The Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Director of Continuing Legal Education of the Oklahoma Bar Association shall be ex-officio members without vote. The remaining nine (9) members shall be appointed by the President of the Oklahoma Bar Association with the consent of the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association.
- The MCLEC shall have the following duties:
- To exercise general supervisory authority over the administration of these rules.
- To adopt regulations consistent with these rules with approval of the Board of Governors.
- Report annually on the activities and operations of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission to the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
- Five (5) Commissioners shall constitute a quorum of the MCLEC.
- A member of the MCLEC who misses three (3) consecutive regular meetings of the MCLEC, for whatever reason, shall automatically vacate the office.
RULE 2. SCOPE AND EXEMPTIONS
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- Except as provided herein these rules shall apply to every active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association as defined by Article II of the Rules Creating and Controlling the Oklahoma Bar Association.
- An attorney is exempt from the educational requirements of these rules for the calendar year during which he or she was first admitted to practice.
- All Judges who, during the entire reporting period, are by Constitution, law or regulation prohibited from the private practice of law, members of the United States Congress, members of the Oklahoma Legislature, the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma and members of the armed forces on full-time active duty shall be exempt from the educational requirements of these rules.
- An attorney who attains the age of sixty-five (65) years of age before or during the calendar year which is being reported is exempt from all requirements of these rules except as provided in Rule 5.
- An attorney who, during the entire reporting period, is a nonresident of the State of Oklahoma and did not practice law in the State of Oklahoma is exempt from the educational requirements of these rules.
- An attorney who files an affidavit with the Commission on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education of the Oklahoma Bar Association stating that the attorney did not practice law during the reporting period is exempt from the educational requirements of these rules.
- Any person claiming an exemption hereunder is required to file an annual report in compliance with these rules and regulations.
RULE 3. CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION (CLE) REQUIREMENT
Each attorney subject to these rules pursuant to Rule 2 herein shall attend, or complete an approved substitute for attendance, a minimum of twelve (12) hours of approved continuing legal education each calendar year beginning January 1, 1986.
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RULE 4. CREDITS
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- Credit will be given for CLE programs approved by the MCLEC.
- Hours in excess of the minimum annual requirement may be carried forward for credit only in the succeeding year.
RULE 5. ANNUAL REPORT
On or before February 15th of each year, every active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, who did not attain age 65 before or during the preceding calendar year, shall report in such a form as the MCLEC Shall prescribe concerning his or her completion of accredited legal education during the preceding calendar year or exemption from the requirements of these rules. An attorney reporting attainment of age sixty-five (65) need only make one (1) such annual report.
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RULE 6. NONCOMPLIANCE AND SANCTIONS
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- As soon as practicable after February 15th of each year, the Commission on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education shall furnish to the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association
- a list of those attorneys who have not reported for the calendar year ending the preceding December 31st as required by Rule 5, Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, and
- a list of attorneys who have reported on or before February 15th indicating that they have not complied with the requirements of Rule 3, Rules of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.
- For a member who fails to comply with the Rule 3 continuing legal education requirement by December 31st of each year, there shall be added an expense charge of $100.00. For a member who fails to comply with the Rule 5 annual report requirement by February 15th of each year, there shall be added an expense charge of $100.00. The Commission is authorized to, and may waive the expense charge for a late filing of the Rule 5 annual report upon finding by the Commission that the late filing was attributable to extreme hardship. Attorneys seeking a waiver shall do so by written application submitted to the Commission. The Commission is authorized to adopt, from time to time, policies and procedures as may be deemed appropriate for continuity in the exercise of the forgoing discretionary authority.
- The Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association shall then serve by certified mail each attorney who has not complied with the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, with an order to show cause, within sixty (60) days, why the attorney's license should not be suspended at the expiration of the sixty (60) days. Cause may be shown by furnishing the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association with an affidavit by the attorney and a certificate from the MCLEC (a) indicating that the attorney has complied with the requirement prior to the expiration of the sixty (60) days or (b) setting forth a valid reason for failure to comply with the requirement because of illness or other good cause.
- At the expiration of sixty (60) days from the date of the order to show cause, if good cause is not shown, the Board of Governors shall file application with the Supreme Court recommending suspension of the delinquent's membership. Upon order of the Court, the attorney shall be so suspended and shall not thereafter practice law in this state until reinstated as provided herein. At any time within one (1) year after the order of suspension, an attorney may file with the Executive Director an affidavit by the attorney and a certificate from the MCLEC indicating compliance with the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, and payment of a reinstatement fee of $500.00 and, if satisfactory to the Executive Director, the member will be restored to membership and the Executive Director will notify the Clerk and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and cause notice of reinstatement to be published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal.
- A suspended member who does not file an application for reinstatement within one (1) year from the date the member is suspended by the Supreme Court for noncompliance with the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, shall cease automatically to be a member of the Association, and the Board of Governors shall file an application with the Supreme Court recommending the member be stricken from the membership rolls. Subsequent to the Order of the Court, if the attorney desires to become a member of the Association, the attorney shall be required to file with the Professional Responsibility Commission an affidavit by the attorney and a certificate from the MCLEC indicating compliance with the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, including payment of all fees and charges, and the attorney must comply with Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Disciplinary Proceedings of the Oklahoma Bar Association.
RULE 7. REGULATIONS
The following Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education are hereby adopted and shall remain in effect until revised or amended by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission with approval of the Board of Governors and the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
1.1 The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission shall consist of eleven (11) members as provided by Supreme Court rule. The Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Director of Continuing Legal Education of the Oklahoma Bar Association shall be ex-officio members without vote. Nine (9) members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President of the Oklahoma Bar Association with the consent of the Board of Governors. Initially three (3) appointed members shall serve one-year terms, three (3) appointed members shall serve two-year terms, and three (3) appointed members shall serve three-year terms. Thereafter, at the expiration of the stated terms, all members shall serve three-year terms. Members shall not serve more than two successive three-year terms.
1.2 The President of the Oklahoma Bar Association shall appoint the Chairman of the Commission on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education. The Commission on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education shall elect a Vice Chairman and Secretary from among its members.
1.3 The Commission may organize itself into committees of not fewer than four (4) voting members for the purpose of considering and deciding matters submitted to them, except five (5) affirmative votes shall be necessary for any action under Rule 6 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.
1.4 Members of the Commission shall be reimbursed for their actual direct expenses incurred in travel when authorized by the Board of Governors or the President.
1.5 Support staff as may be required shall be employed by the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association in the same manner and according to the same procedure as other employees of the Oklahoma Bar Association within the funds available in the budget approved by the Supreme Court.
1.6 As used herein “MCLEC” and the “Commission” shall mean the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission. “CLE” shall mean Continuing Legal Education. “MCLE” shall mean Mandatory Continuing Legal Education. “Rules” referred to shall mean and are the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.
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2.1 Nonresident attorneys from other jurisdictions who are temporarily admitted to practice for a case or proceeding shall not be subject to the rules or regulations governing MCLE.
2.2 An attorney who is exempt from the MCLE requirement under Rule 2 shall endorse and claim the exemption on the annual report required by Rule 5 of said rules.
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3.1 Attorneys who have a permanent physical disability which makes attendance of CLE programs inordinately difficult may file a request for a permanent substitute program in lieu of attendance and shall therein set out continuing legal education plans tailored to their specific interest and physical ability. The Commission shall review and approve or disapprove such plans on an individual basis and without delay. Rejection of any requested substitute for attendance will be reviewed by the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association prior to any sanction being imposed.
3.2 Other requests for substituted compliance, partial waivers, or other exemptions for hardship or extenuating circumstances may be granted by the Commission upon written application of the attorney and may likewise be reviewed by the Board of Governors and the Oklahoma Bar Association.
3.3 Credit may be earned through teaching in an approved continuing legal education program, or for a presentation substantially complying with the standards of Regulation 4 in a program which is presented to paralegals, legal assistants, and/or law clerks. Presentations accompanied by thorough, high quality, readable, and carefully prepared written materials will qualify for CLE credit on the basis of six (6) hours of credit for each hour of presentation.
3.4 Credit may also be earned through teaching a course in an ABA accredited law school or a course in a paralegal or legal assistant program accredited by the ABA. The Commission will award six (6) hours of CLE credit for each semester hour of academic credit awarded by the academic institution for the course.
3.5 Credit may also be earned through auditing of or regular enrollment in a college of law course at an ABA or AALS approved law school. The MCLE credit allowed shall equal a sum equal to three (3) times the number of credit hours granted by the college of law for the completion of the course.
3.6 The number of hours required means that the attorney must actually attend twelve (12) instructional hours of CLE per year with no credit given for introductory remarks, meal breaks, or business meetings. Of the twelve (12) CLE hours required the attorney must attend and receive one (1) instructional hour of CLE per year covering the area of professional responsibility or legal ethics or legal malpractice prevention. An instructional hour will in all events contain at least fifty (50) minutes.
3.7 Hours of credit in excess of the minimum annual requirement may be carried forward for credit only in the succeeding calendar year. Such hours must, however, be reported in the annual report of compliance for the year in which they were completed and in the year for which they are being claimed and must be designated as hours being carried forward.
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4.1.1 The following standards will govern the approval of continuing legal education programs by the Commission.
4.1.2 The program must have significant intellectual or practical content and its primary objective must be to increase the participant's professional competence as an attorney.
4.1.3 The program must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law, professional responsibility or ethical obligations of attorneys.
4.1.4 The program must be offered by a sponsor having substantial, recent, experience in offering continuing legal education or demonstrated ability to organize and present effectively continuing legal education. 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 program.
4.1.5 The program itself must be conducted by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience. The program including the named advertised participants, must be conducted substantially as planned, subject to emergency withdrawals and alterations.
4.1.6 Thorough, high quality, readable, and carefully prepared written materials must be made available to all participants at or before the time the course is presented, unless the absence of such materials is recognized as reasonable and approved by the Commission. A mere outline without citations or explanatory notations will not be sufficient.
4.1.7 The program must be conducted in a comfortable physical setting, conducive to learning and equipped with suitable writing surfaces.
4.1.8 Approval may be given for programs where audiovisual recorded or reproduced material is used. Television video programs and motion picture programs with sound shall qualify for CLE credit in the same manner as a live CLE program provided:
- the original CLE program was approved for CLE credit as provided in these regulations or the visual recorded program has been approved by the Commission under these rules, and
- each person attending the visual presentation is provided written material as provided in Regulation 4.1.6 and
- each program is conducted in a location as required in Regulation 4.1.7 and
- there are a minimum of five (5) persons enrolled and in attendance at the presentation of the visually recorded program unless viewed at the Oklahoma Bar Center or sponsored by a county bar association in Oklahoma.
4.1.9 Programs that cross academic lines may be considered for approval.
4.2 Continuing legal education programs sponsored by the following organizations are presumptively approved for credit, provided that the standards set out in the Regulations 4.1.2 through 4.1.7 are met:
- American Association for Justice
- American Bankruptcy Institute *
- American Bar Association and Bar Sections
- American College of Real Estate *
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- American Inns of Court *
- American Law Institute
- Cannon Financial Institute *
- Canadian County Bar Association *
- Center for American & International Law (formerly Southwestern Legal Foundation)
- Cleveland County Bar Association *
- Commercial Law League of America *
- Defense Research Institute
- Energy Bar Association *
- Federal Bar Association *
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation *
- Federal Public Defender *
- Foxmoor (Formerly PESI Law and Accounting) *
- Garfield County Bar Association *
- Garvin County Bar Association *
- HB Litigation *
- International Municipal Lawyers Association * (formerly NIMLO)
- Kingfisher County Bar Association *
- Law.com *
- LawProse Inc. *
- Law Seminars International, Inc. *
- Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. Inc. *
- Mayes County Bar Association *
- Mediation Institute *
- Muskogee County Bar Association *
- National Association of Attorneys General *
- National Association of College and University Attorneys *
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers *
- National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel *
- NBI, Inc. *
- National Constitution Center Conferences
- National District Attorneys Association
- National Employment Law Institute *
- National Employment Lawyers Association
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy
- National Judicial College
- National Legal Aid and Defender Association *
- New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies *
- Northwestern University School of Law
- Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General *
- Oklahoma Academy of Collaborative Professionals *
- Oklahoma Association of Defense Counsel *
- Oklahoma Association for Justice
- Oklahoma Association of Municipal Attorneys
- Oklahoma Baptist University Bench and Bar Association *
- Oklahoma Bar Association
- Oklahoma City Commercial Lawyers Association *
- Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Lawyers Association *
- Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Society *
- Oklahoma City Real Property Lawyers Association *
- Oklahoma City University Law School
- Oklahoma County Bar Association
- Oklahoma County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
- Oklahoma County Public Defenders Office
- Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association *
- Oklahoma District Attorneys Council
- Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, Inc.
- Oklahoma Municipal Judges Association *
- Oklahoma Planned Giving Council *
- OSU Tax Schools
- Practicing Law Institute
- Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- SEC Institute, Inc. *
- South Oklahoma City Lawyers Association *
- South Texas College Of Law Continuing Legal Education
- State Bar of Texas
- Sterling Education Services *
- Strafford Publications *
- Tax Forum *
- The Likeable Lawyer *
- TRT, Inc.
- Tuesday Professional Tax Group *
- Tulsa County Bar Association
- Tulsa Employee Benefits Group *
- Tulsa Estate Planning Forum *
- Tulsa Pension Attorneys *
- Tulsa Tax Club
- Tulsa Title and Probate Lawyers Association *
- U.S. Air Force - Judge Advocate General School *
- U.S. Army - Judge Advocate General School *
- U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Legal Education *
- University of Oklahoma College of Law
- University of Texas School of Law *
- University of Tulsa College of Law
- Washington County Bar Association *
- WealthCounsel, LLC *
- West Professional Development *
- Woodward County Bar Association
- Young Lawyers Division of the Oklahoma Bar Association
- All other county bar associations in Oklahoma presenting seminars or programs that are co-sponsored by an organization that has presumptive approval as a CLE sponsor.
* Added since the rules were approved by the Supreme Court
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4.3 Approved seminars may be advertised in informational brochures and program materials provided by the sponsoring body. Organizations listed in Regulation 4.2 whose programs are presumptively approved shall give adequate notice that a program or seminar it conducts is not approved for MCLE credit in the event the program or seminar does not meet the standards set forth in Regulations 4.1.1 through 4.1.7.
4.4 The Commission may at any time re-evaluate and grant or revoke presumptive approval of a sponsor.
4.5 Any organization not included in Regulation 4.2 above, desiring approval of a course or program shall apply to the Commission by submitting an application on a form to be obtained from the Commission and supporting documentation at least forty-five (45) days prior to the date for which the course or program is scheduled. The Commission will advise the applicant in writing by mail within ten (10) days of the receipt of the completed application whether the program is approved or disapproved. Applicants denied approval of a program may appeal such a decision by submitting a letter of appeal to the Commission within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of the notice of disapproval.
4.6 An attorney desiring approval of a course or program which has not otherwise been approved shall apply to the Commission by submitting an application on a form to be obtained from the Commission and supporting documentation as follows:
- If approval is requested before the course or program is presented the application and supporting documentation shall be submitted at least forty-five (45) days prior to the date for which the course or program is scheduled.
- If approval is requested after the applicant has attended a course or program the application and supporting documentation shall be submitted within ninety (90) days after the date the course or program was presented or prior to the end of the calendar year in which the course or program was presented, whichever is earlier.
The Commission will advise the applicant in writing by mail within ten (10) days of the receipt of the completed application whether the program is approved or disapproved. Applicants denied approval of a program may appeal such a decision by submitting a letter of appeal to the Commission within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of the notice of disapproval.
4.7 The sponsor of an approved continuing legal education program may announce or indicate as follows:
This course has been approved by the Oklahoma Bar Association Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission for _____ hours of CLE credit, including ______ hours of legal ethics credit.
4.8 As soon as practicable but in any event on or before the earlier of (1) thirty (30) days following an approved legal education program or (2) January 10 of the succeeding year, the sponsor shall furnish to the Commission such attendance information in such format as the Commission shall direct.
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On or before February 15th of each year, every active member, under sixty-five (65) years of age, or the Oklahoma Bar Association shall submit a report in a form as the Commission shall provide concerning such attorney's completion of, exemption from or approved substitute for the minimum hours of instruction, including reference to hours earned during the preceding year and hours to be carried forward to the next year. An attorney reporting attainment of age sixty-five (65), need only make one (1) such annual report.
5.1 Commencing with calendar year 2004, the MCLEC shall deem a member to have fulfilled the reporting requirements and to have reported as required by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education if the official records of the OBA indicate the member is in compliance with the minimum educational requirements or exempt from compliance for the year in question.
Caveat: It shall remain the responsibility of each member to review the accuracy of the OBA records and reports, and to be assured that exemption or compliance is recognized by the MCLEC. Reports and records are available for member review by logging on to myOKBbar.
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Sponsors of the seminars or courses qualifying for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education credits shall keep records of attendance for a period of two (2) years following the date of the course or seminar.
SUBSTITUTED COMPLIANCE POLICIES
The following Policies have been adopted by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission which interpret and supplement the Rules and Regulations concerning substituted compliance with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements:
- Approval for credit may be granted, on a course-by-course basis, for live interactive, audio-only teleconference courses such as those sponsored and provided by the American Bar Association.
- Approval for credit may be granted, for no more than six hours MCLE credit per year, for computer-based or other technology-based legal education programs which otherwise meet the criteria established in the Rules of the Oklahoma Supreme Court for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, Rule 7, Regulation 4, subject to standard course approval procedures and appropriate certification of course completion.
- Other substitute forms of compliance may be granted for members with permanent or temporary physical disabilities (based upon a doctor's certification) which make attendance at regular approved CLE programs difficult or impossible, as set forth in Rule 7, Regulation 3.
- If the CLE course provider has not secured course approval or rejection for MCLE credit in Oklahoma, the attorney attendee, in order to receive MCLE credit, must submit a request for MCLE credit and course approval on forms which will be supplied by the MCLE office, which application must be submitted with a $15 per course application fee.