Can an attorney earn CLE credit for teaching part-time at an ABA-accredited law school?
Supreme Court Rule(s) cited in this FAQ: Rule 795
Important: for part-time teaching of a law course at an ABA-accredited law school to count toward your MCLE requirements, you need to add this credit to your online transcript. See details below.
Yes, CLE credit may be earned for teaching law courses offered for credit toward a degree at a law school accredited by the ABA, but only by lawyers who are not employed full-time by a law school, university, college, or community college. Those full-time law teachers at a law school, university, college, or community college who choose to maintain an active Illinois law license are fully subject to the MCLE requirements, and may not earn any credits by their ordinary teaching assignments.
- CLE credit may also be earned by an attorney who is guest instructor, moderator, or participant (such as mock attorney or mock witness) in a law school class presentation which meets overall CLE program guidelines. Courses may include moot courts, mock trials, trial advocacy, negotiations, and dispute resolution simulations. Attorneys earn credit if they participate as judges/panelists in simulations and are recognized by the school as a part-time teacher.
No credit for guest speaking at assembly or teaching at law schools outside the U.S.
- CLE credit is also available to attorneys who instruct law students in clinic or externship programs that qualify for law school credit. Qualifying activities include attending client meetings with students, as well as instructing and mentoring students during meetings or reviewing work product with students. An attorney must keep contemporaneous time records of hours spent with law students in that clinic or externship program to establish actual presentation time that qualifies for Illinois MCLE credit.
Guest speaking at a law school assembly does not earn CLE credit. Also, CLE credit may not be claimed for part-time teaching at a law school outside the United States, as Rule 795(d)(6)(i) is limited to ABA-accredited law schools.
Calculating CLE credit for qualifying teaching of an ABA-accredited law school course
Total CLE credit for qualifying teaching at an ABA-accredited law school equals presentation/instruction time plus three times that number counted as preparation time. If the course or course session has more than one teacher or instructor, divide presentation time equally. An attorney earns full credit the first time the attorney teaches a course, then earns one-half credit for teaching the same course a second time. After the second time, no credit is earned for teaching that same course.
An attorney can only earn new CLE credit for teaching that same course by making substantial (major) 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 substantially and substantively. 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 qualifying teaching of an ABA-accredited law school course
For the attorney to claim credit, (1) the law school must give the attorney a certificate stating that the attorney engaged in a qualifying teaching activity for a course at the school, and (2) the attorney must enter these credits in their online transcript on the Board's website.
- The school issues a teaching certificate for teaching a law course
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.
- The attorney enters credits in their online transcript
The attorney must add the CLE credit they claim for teaching a qualifying law course to your online transcript.
Click here for information on adding CLE credit for teaching a qualifying law school course to your online transcript. That link includes information on the steps to request professional responsibility CLE credit for this activity.
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