Here are the six exemption categories:
1. Retired or inactive:
Must be registered with ARDC as retired or inactive status (including under former
Rule 770) or voluntarily removed status. Rules 756(a)(5) or (a)(6), Rule 791(e) or (f).
2. Disability inactive:
Must be registered with ARDC as disability inactive. Rules 757 or 758, Rule 791(e).
Must be a justice, judge, associate judge or magistrate of any federal or state
court. Similar titles in administrative agencies do not qualify. If the attorney’s
member type with the ARDC is not “Judge,” the attorney must report this
exemption to the MCLE Board.
4. Judicial staff:
Must be registered with ARDC as a federal or state judicial employee specifically
listed in Rule 791(a)(4), who is prohibited by the terms of his/her
employment from actively practicing law. If the attorney’s member type with
the ARDC is not “Judicial Staff,” the attorney must report this exemption
to the MCLE Board.
Must be on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. This exemption applies until the
attorney is released from active service and returns to the practice of law. If
the attorney’s member type with the ARDC is not “Military,” the
attorney must report this exemption to the MCLE Board at his/her earliest opportunity.
Must practice outside Illinois and meet four specific criteria
(click “Out-of-State” for details.) The attorney must report this exemption
to the MCLE Board.
You are entitled to a full exemption (there are no partial exemptions for newly-admitted
attorney requirements) if you have one of the six exemption statuses listed above
- on the last day of the month that you were admitted to the Illinois bar –
one year later; or
- for 365 or more days from your admission to the Illinois bar. Rule 791(a).
The following exemption differs from the six listed above as it does not rely on
the attorney’s license status or out-of-state practice:
Must prove extreme hardship in the form of illness, financial hardship or other
extraordinary or extenuating circumstances beyond the attorney’s control.
A temporary exemption is granted only when the MCLE Board determines the attorney
has established that extreme hardship exists.
Newly-admitted attorneys who have previously practiced in another state may also
be exempt, depending on when you were admitted in Illinois. Please search our FAQs
using the keywords "newly admitted previous practice."
When returning from eligible retired or inactive status (Items 1 & 2), the attorney
will not have to comply with Newly-Admitted Attorney requirements but must comply
with general CLE requirements, which may include deferred credits. Each attorney’s
situation is different, so please consult the Rules or contact the MCLE Board by
using the “Send us a Message” feature on this website (under Contact) or calling 312.924.2420. Rules 756(a)(5) or (a)(6), Rules 757 or 758, Rule 791(a)(1)-(2), Rule 791(e), Rule 793.