What are the requirements for an out-of-state attorney to be exempt from their Illinois MCLE requirements and does that exemption need to be reported to the MCLE Board?
Supreme Court Rule(s) cited in this FAQ: Rule 791
Under Rule 791(a)(6), some out-of-state attorneys qualify for an exemption from the Illinois MCLE requirements. The exemption is available to attorneys in both newly-admitted attorney ("NAA") and two-year reporting periods.
To be eligible for that exemption, an attorney must meet the following requirements for at least 365 days of their Illinois reporting period (NAA or two-year), or meet them on the last day of that reporting period:
Other Important Eligibility Details:
- have a law license (can be a limited license) from another state with a comparable MCLE requirement;
- have their primary office in that other MCLE state (if no office, have their primary home address in that other MCLE state); and
- be required to earn credits to comply with that state’s MCLE requirements and comply with requirements by the other state’s compliance deadline.
Attorneys Must Report this Exemption to the MCLE Board
- These jurisdictions lack a comparable MCLE requirement, so there is no out-of-state exemption for attorneys in: Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Dakota, and Washington D.C.
- This exemption is not available to an attorney practicing outside the states of the U.S.
- This exemption is not available to an attorney whose office, or home if no office, is in another state but does not comply with that state’s requirements but complies with the MCLE requirements of yet another state.
- Example 1: an attorney with a primary office in Maryland but complies with Virginia’s requirements cannot claim an exemption from the Illinois MCLE requirements.
- Example 2: an attorney without an office whose primary home is in Michigan but complies with Indiana's MCLE requirements cannot claim an exemption from the Illinois MCLE requirements.
- This option is not available to attorneys whose office is in another state with a comparable MCLE requirement, but the attorney is not required to earn credits to meet the MCLE requirement in that state.
- Example: an attorney with a primary office in Wisconsin has emeritus status there and is not required to comply with Wisconsin’s MCLE requirements, so that attorney cannot claim an exemption from the Illinois MCLE requirements.
To avoid a fee and eventual removal from the master roll, an attorney entitled to this exemption under Rule 791(a)(6) must report it to the MCLE Board by the reporting deadline for each reporting period that the attorney qualifies for the exemption.
An attorney who reports an out-of-state exemption must keep the other state's compliance records for three years after the applicable Illinois reporting period ends in case of an audit.
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