Aug 09, 2015
This is a summary of the full rules available through the Illinois court’s website. This is for information purposes only, and you are not to rely upon this summary in fulfilling any legal education requirement.
The public contemplates that attorneys will maintain certain standards of professional competence throughout their careers in the practice of law. The following rules regarding Minimum Continuing Legal Education are intended to assure that those attorneys licensed to practice law in Illinois remain current regarding the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the professional responsibilities and obligations of their respective practices and thereby improve the standards of the profession in general.
The Rules apply to every attorney admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois, except for attorneys on inactive or retirement status, attorneys on disability inactive status, attorneys serving in the office of justice, judge, associate judge, or magistrate of any federal or state court, attorneys prohibited by a court from engaging in the practice of law, attorneys on active duty in the Armed Forces and attorneys who are licensed and in compliance in another state, under good cause shown.
The administration of the program for MCLE is under the supervision of the Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board (“Board”).
The Board recommends to the Court rules and regulations for MCLE, including fees and forms necessary to insure attorneys’ compliance with the rules and regulations.
The MCLE program is funded solely from the fees charged to CLE providers and from late fees and reinstatement fees assessed to individual attorneys.
Almost every Illinois attorney admitted to practice after December 31, 2005 must complete a Basic Skills Course, totaling at least 15 actual hours of instruction. The course must be completed within one year of admission to practice in Illinois. During this period, the lawyer is exempt from the other MCLE requirements.
Illinois attorneys must complete 20 hours of CLE activity during the initial two-year reporting period ending on June 30 of either 2008 or 2009. Attorneys whose last names begin with A through M report July 1, 2008 and N through Z on July 1, 2009. The requirement increases to 24 hours in 2010 and 2011 and then 30 hours thereafter. Four of the hours must be in the area of professionalism.
Within 31 days (no later than July 31st) of the end of the reporting period, the attorney must complete, sign and submit a certification to the Board.
If an attorney fails to comply, their name will be removed from the master roll.
Each attorney must keep a copy of their certificates of attendance for three years. Attorneys are subject to an audit.
The ARDC may investigate an attorney’s compliance upon a referral from the Director. When the Director refers a matter to the ARDC, the investigation, and any resulting prosecution, shall be conducted in accordance with the rules pertaining to ARDC proceedings.
The Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism was established “In order to promote among the lawyers and judges of Illinois principles of integrity, professionalism and civility; to foster commitment to the elimination of bias and divisiveness within the legal and judicial systems; and to ensure that those systems provide equitable, effective and efficient resolution of problems and disputes for the people of Illinois.”