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What general requirements and limitations apply to legal scholarship research and writing credits?

Supreme Court Rule(s) cited in this FAQ: Rule 795 .

Important: for legal scholarship research and writing to count toward your MCLE requirements, you need to add this credit to your online transcript. See details below. 

Researching and writing published law books and law review articles can qualify for non-traditional CLE credit. Law books include legal textbooks, casebooks, treatises, and other scholarly legal books. You may also earn credit for writing published law-related articles in responsible legal journals or other recognized legal sources.

To determine if the publication qualifies for CLE credit, an attorney should evaluate whether or not the publication or legal source that has been:
  • cited or quoted by courts or briefs; and/or
  • regarded by attorneys as a reliable source of law-related information.
This guideline allows a broad view of "legal sources" under the Rules. However, publications either intended for a general or non-lawyer audience, or those that contain only content about a group’s recent activities (e.g., some newsletters) don’t qualify as legal scholarship when earning writing credit. Also, the book or article had to be subject to peer review by attorneys not working for the same law firm, government entity, or employer, so articles published in law firm newsletters likely do not qualify. The peer review must also take place before publication.

The Board has determined the following activities do not qualify for CLE publication credit:
  1. editing legal writing done by someone else;
  2. writing any content for general circulation or in a publication directed to a non-lawyer audience;
  3. doing research-based legal writing in any print or electronic publication, including a blog, controlled by the author or the author's employer; and
  4. briefs, pleadings, or other documents submitted to a court or administrative agency in a pending matter or prepared to represent a client.
CLE credit is earned for the newly-admitted or two-year reporting period in which a qualifying book or article was published (not when written). Credit earned is the actual hours spent researching and writing. Each publication has a cap of one-half of the hours required for the reporting period. No CLE credit is earned for re-publication unless the author made substantial substantive revisions or additions.

Claiming CLE credit for researching and writing a legal scholarly publication
Once you’ve determined that you are entitled to CLE credit for the legal scholarship you authored or co-authored, click here for information on claiming the CLE publication credit by adding it to your online transcript on the Board's website. That link includes information on the steps to request professional responsibility CLE credit for this activity.

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