Your MCLE Requirements

Your MCLE requirements depend on whether you:
(1) are a newly-admitted attorney;
(2) are already in a two-year reporting period; or
(3) need to complete deferred credits or work toward reinstatement.

You should check whether you are exempt from the MCLE requirements in a particular reporting period.

Newly-admitted attorneys

Earning credits and reporting

Attorneys admitted in Illinois on or after October 1, 2011 who are not exempt must complete certain required credits and then report to the MCLE Board by the stated deadlines:

Earning credits:

1. A course accredited as a Basic Skills Course. In lieu of that course, an attorney may undertake a mentoring program approved by the Commission on Professionalism (www.2civility.org); and

2. At least nine other hours of Illinois-approved CLE credit, including any amount of professional responsibility (PR) credit. Participating in a mentoring program cited in Part 1 counts toward these nine hours only if it was not completed in lieu of the Basic Skills course.

Parts 1 and 2 (which may include enrollment in an approved mentoring program) must be done by the completion deadline. The completion deadline is the last day of the month that you were admitted to the Illinois bar – one year later.

Reporting:

Once you have completed Parts 1 and 2, you must submit an online or paper compliance report to the MCLE Board by the reporting deadline. The reporting deadline is 31 days after the completion deadline.

Example using admission date to calculate completion deadline and reporting deadline:

Admission date November 6, 2013 (or any date in November, 2013)

Completion deadline November 30, 2014

Reporting deadline (31 days after completion deadline) December 31, 2014

If you miss these deadlines, you will incur late fees and risk removal from the Master Roll of Attorneys.

Initial two-year reporting period:

Your initial two-year reporting period begins on the July 1 after the completion deadline for your reporting group – an even-numbered year for A-M last names and an odd-numbered year for N-Z last names. Using the example above, the initial two-year reporting period starts July 1, 2015 for Atty. Smith and July 1, 2016 for Atty. Jones. Amended Rule 793(c), Rule 793(e).

Available exemptions

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).

3. Judicial: 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.

5. Military: 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.

6. Out-of-State: 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 either:

  • 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:

Extraordinary Hardship:

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 Us) 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.

Two-year reporting period and current with MCLE requirements

Completing credits and reporting:

Completing credits:

For all two-year reporting periods starting July 1, 2010 and going forward, attorneys subject to the MCLE Rules (who are not newly-admitted) must complete 30 total hours, including at least six hours of professional responsibility (PR).


Reporting:

The second year in the period is the reporting year. To avoid late fees, all CLE hours must be completed by 11:59 PM on June 30 of that year (completion deadline) and your compliance (or a valid exemption that needs to be reported) reported by 11:59 PM on July 31.


Your reporting group is based on your last name. If sworn in to the Illinois bar:

  • on July 1, 2006 or later, use your last name on file with the ARDC on your swearing-in date;
  • on or before June 30, 2006, use your last name on file with the ARDC on July 1, 2006.

To report online or check your specific requirements, please log into our website, then go to “Report Compliance”. To learn more, you can also search our FAQs with the keywords “reporting period”.


Name change:
Once you are admitted, your reporting group does not change even if your name does.

Available exemptions

An attorney with one of the following six statuses may, depending on the timing, be entitled to a full or partial exemption from MCLE requirements:


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).
3. Judicial: 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.
5. Military: 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.
6. Out-of-State: 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.


For a full exemption, you must have the status for at least 365 days of the reporting period or on the last day of the reporting period (June 30 of the reporting year).


If you have that status for 61 to 364 days of the reporting period, you may claim a partial exemption, unless the status applies on June 30 of the reporting year (which makes it a full exemption). For a partial exemption, you must complete half the required credits for the reporting period and contact the MCLE Board (312.924.2420) so we can adjust your record to allow you to report that partial exemption. Rules 757 or 758, Rule 791(a)(1) through (6), Rule 791(b) through (d)


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:


Extraordinary Hardship: 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.


The attorney must apply by May 31 of the reporting year, providing specific documentation to establish extreme hardship. Rule 791(a)(7)

Attorneys completing deferred credits or working toward reinstatement
Newly-admitted attorney requirement

Attorneys who did not complete the newly-admitted attorney requirement due to inactive, retirement or disability inactive status do not need to complete those credits after returning to active status.


Attorneys who have been removed from the master roll due to non-compliance with the newly-admitted attorney requirement need to: (1) complete the required credits; (2) report that compliance to the MCLE Board; and (3) pay the $250.00 reinstatement fee to the MCLE Board. After completing these three steps, please allow at least 4-5 business days for the ARDC’s records to reflect your updated status.

Two-year reporting period requirement

For all two-year reporting periods, starting with the one for A-M attorneys from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012 and after, attorneys subject to the MCLE Rules (who are not newly-admitted) must complete 30 total hours, including at least six hours of professional responsibility (PR).


Attorneys who are completing deferred or past due credits (toward reinstatement) have these past requirements:


First Letter of Last Name Reporting Periods Number of Credits
A – M July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2008 20 hours, including four hours of PR credit
July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010 24 hours, including four hours of PR credit
All reporting periods thereafter 30 hours, including six hours of PR credit
N – Z July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2009 20 hours, including four hours of PR credit
July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011 24 hours, including four hours of PR credit
All reporting periods thereafter 30 hours, including six hours of PR credit

If you plan to return to active status at a specific time (thereby triggering the requirement to complete deferred credits) or have been removed from the Master Roll for MCLE non-compliance and plan to be reinstated, please contact the MCLE Board for guidance. Please use the Contact Us feature on this website or call 312.924.2420.

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FAQs
How many hours of CLE, including professional responsibility, are required in a two year reporting period?

For all current and future reporting periods (as of January 1, 2013), attorneys subject to the MCLE Rules (who are not newly admitted) must complete 30 total hours, including at least six hours of professional responsibility (PR)...

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How can I confirm the MCLE Board has received my compliance report?

To confirm receipt by the Board of either an online or paper report, log in to our website, then go to “Report Compliance.” The Board designed ...

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Are attorneys required to maintain records proving compliance?

Yes. Illinois is a self-reporting state, which means the MCLE Board doesn't track individual attorneys’ CLE activity. Each attorney needs to ...

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What should I do if I have not completed my CLE credits by June 30?

June 30 is the completion deadline, by which you must finish all hours due in your two year reporting period (in even numbered years for A-M last names, in odd numbered years for N-Z last names) ...

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Which attorneys may claim an exemption from the MCLE requirements?

An attorney who has one of the following six statuses may, depending on the timing, be entitled to a full or partial exemption ...

Read More >