Can an attorney earn CLE credit for teaching a law course part-time at a university, college, or community college?
Supreme Court Rule(s) cited in this FAQ: Rule 795 .
The law course must involve significant intellectual, educational or practical law-related content. Examples include a civil procedure course for paralegal students or a commercial law course for business students. Credit may also be claimed for part-time teaching at a university, college, or community college outside the United States.
Yes, CLE credit can be earned from this nontraditional activity in certain cases – but it must be a law course and the attorney cannot be a full-time teacher. Additionally, the students participating in the course must be receiving college credit for their participation and the university, college, or community college must consider the attorney’s participation to be teaching the course.
Teaching courses of general interest to the public that include aspects of law does not earn credit. Examples include a genealogy course or a course on purchasing foreclosed real estate.
Calculating CLE credit for teaching a law course at a university, college, or community college
Total teaching credit for a qualifying law course at one of these institutions equals actual presentation time. Preparation time does not earn credit. The attorney earns full credit for the first time teaching a course then earns one-half credit for teaching the same course a second time. After the second time, no more credit is earned for teaching that same course. (Rule 795(d)(6)(ii))
An attorney can only earn new credit for teaching that course by making substantial (large) and substantive (meaningful) changes to it. “Substantial and substantive changes” is determined by the teaching attorney, but the MCLE Board sees it as revising content in a thorough and detailed manner to reflect, for example, new statutes, new court opinions, new regulations, revised procedures, or new guidance.
If audited, the attorney will be asked to support the claim that the course has been changed in this way. Rearranging the same content, changing font size or type, and making minor edits or additions are not considered substantial and substantive changes.
Claiming CLE Credit for teaching a qualifying law course
For the attorney to claim credit, the qualifying school must give the attorney a certificate stating that the attorney taught a law course at that school. We strongly suggest the school use the Board’s form certificate. If another certificate is used, it must contain all the information required on the Board’s form certificate.
An attorney must also report the CLE credit they claim for teaching a qualifying law course to the MCLE Board. Click here for information on claiming CLE for teaching a qualifying law course by adding it to your My MCLE list of reported credits. The information will also include the steps to request professional responsibility CLE credit for this activity.
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