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Which inactive or retired attorneys qualify for an exemption from the MCLE requirements and how is the exemption reported?

Supreme Court Rule(s) cited in this FAQ: Rule 756Rule 757Rule 758 and Rule 791.

The MCLE requirements are not automatically reduced or eliminated because an attorney works part-time, is semi-retired, or is receiving disability benefits. Additionally, Illinois does not have emeritus or senior status that allows attorneys to be exempt from CLE requirements based on age or years in practice.

To qualify for an exemption based on inactive, retired, or disability inactive status, an attorney must be registered with the ARDC on one of the following statuses on the last day of their reporting period (either NAA or two-year):
  1. Inactive status under Supreme Court Rule 756(a)(5);
  2. Retired status under Supreme Court Rule 756(a)(6);
  3. Disability inactive status under Supreme Court Rules 757 or 758;
  4. Inactive status under former Supreme Court Rule 770; or
  5. Attorneys previously placed on voluntarily removed status

Rule 791(a)(1),(a)(2),(b)(1).

It is important to note that an attorney must register each year with the ARDC (and pay the inactive registration fee) to maintain inactive status under Rule 756(a)(5). If an attorney fails to register annually as inactive status and loses that registration status, the attorney no longer qualifies for the exemption from their MCLE requirements based on inactive status.  

Attorneys registered as inactive or retired under Rule 756(a)(5) or (a)(6) and authorized to provide pro bono services under Rule 756(k) still qualify for an exemption from their MCLE requirements based on their inactive or retired registration.

If an attorney qualifies for an exemption based on inactive, retired, or disability inactive status, the MCLE Board records this exemption for the attorney. Attorneys do not report this exemption themselves. The Board records the exemption shortly after the attorney’s compliance deadline but before the reporting deadline for the reporting period. 

Click here for more information about the differences between inactive and retired status. 

To check your status with the ARDC, click here to use the ARDC’s Lawyer Search to look up your information. 

To change your registration status, contact the ARDC directly via their website (www.iardc.org) or by phone (312.565.2600). The MCLE Board does not have the ability to make this change.

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