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FAQs for Experienced Attorneys


The CLE Requirement for Experienced Attorneys

What is an “experienced attorney”?

As an experienced attorney, what is my CLE requirement?

What kinds of courses count toward my CLE requirement?


Fulfilling The Requirement

How do I find CLE courses close to home?

Do out-of-state courses count towards my CLE requirement?

What is New York's "Approved Jurisdiction" policy?

I attended a CLE course where the sponsor did not apply for CLE accreditation. Is there any way to get credit?

Besides attending courses, are there other ways in which I may earn CLE credit?

How much credit may I earn for speaking at, or moderating a CLE activity? What about panel participation?

Do I get credit if I teach the same CLE course more than once?

How much credit may I earn for preparing students for, or judging law competitions?

How much credit may I earn for the time I spend working on an article for publication?

How much credit will I earn for providing CLE accredited pro bono service?

May I earn CLE credit for attending a CLE course if I arrive late? What about if I leave early?

May I earn credit for repeating a course?


Exceptions To The Requirement

Are there any exemptions from the CLE requirement?

How do I determine whether I am "practicing law in New York"?

What are my CLE obligations if I practice law outside of New York?

What if I am not practicing law at the beginning of my biennial reporting cycle? Or if I stop practicing before the end?

If I retire from the practice of law midway through my cycle, do I have to complete any CLE?

Are there any conditions under which I may obtain a waiver or modification of my CLE requirement?


Compliance & Reporting

How and when do I report compliance with my CLE requirement?

Is the CLE biennial reporting cycle the same as the attorney registration cycle?

What should I do if I have not received an attorney registration form by my birthday?

What should I do if I cannot complete my CLE requirement on time?

May I carry over CLE credits from one biennial reporting cycle to the next?

Who keeps track of my certificates of attendance?

What happens if I do not fulfill my CLE requirement?

What if I have more questions?


CLE Requirement for Experienced Attorneys


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Q] What is an "experienced attorney"?

A] Attorneys who have been admitted to the New York Bar for more than two years are considered experienced attorneys.


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Q] As an experienced attorney, what is my CLE requirement?

A] Experienced attorneys must complete a total of 24 accredited CLE credit hours during each biennial reporting cycle (the two-year period between your attorney registrations). At least 4 of these credit hours must be in the Ethics and Professionalism category. The remaining credit hours may be in any category of credit.


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Q] What kinds of courses count toward my CLE requirement?

A] Experienced attorneys may earn CLE credit by attending CLE courses offered in the traditional live classroom format, or in nontraditional formats such as audiotapes, videoconferences, online, etc., so long as the CLE Board has accredited the provider to offer the course in the particular format, or the course is eligible for credit under New York’s Approved Jurisdiction policy.


Fulfilling The Requirement


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Q] How do I find CLE courses close to home?

A] The CLE Board does not maintain a list of individually accredited CLE courses. You may check with local bar associations or other organizations in your area that may be presenting CLE courses, or you may check the New York Accredited Provider List for approved CLE providers.


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Q] Do out-of-state courses count towards my CLE requirement?

A] Some out-of-state course are accredited by the New York State CLE Board. Other out-of-state courses may be accredited by another jurisdiction, and you may be eligible for New York CLE credit under New York’s Approved Jurisdiction policy. (If your course is not accredited by the New York State CLE Board or if your course does not fall under New York’s Approved Jurisdiction policy, you may submit an Application for Accreditation of an Individual Course Activity to the New York State CLE Board.)


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Q] What is New York's "Approved Jurisdiction" policy?

A] A New York attorney may earn credit for attendance at an out-of-state course provided that the course is accredited by the CLE agency of another state or foreign jurisdiction that has been approved by the New York State CLE Board as meeting New York’s accreditation standards. An out-of-state course accredited by a New York Approved Jurisdiction is eligible for New York CLE credit based on a 50-minute credit hour, and in accordance with the Program Rules and the Regulations and Guidelines. The attorney must obtain from the provider documentation of course accreditation by a New York Approved Jurisdiction, a proper certificate of attendance and for nontraditional formats, proof of the provider’s independent verification of the attorney’s completion of the course. Please see section 6 of the Regulations and Guidelines for details.


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Q] I attended a CLE course where the sponsor did not apply for CLE accreditation. Is there any way to get credit?

A] You may submit an Application for Accreditation of an Individual Course Activity to the CLE Board. If the application is postmarked more than 30 days after the conclusion of the course, you must include a detailed explanation of the circumstances that prevented you from submitting the application within 30 days of the conclusion of the course. If the Board accepts your application and if the course is approved, you will be awarded the appropriate CLE credit.


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Q] Besides attending courses, are there other ways in which I may earn CLE credit?

A] Experienced attorneys may receive credit for speaking or teaching at an accredited CLE program; for moderating or participating in a panel presentation at an accredited CLE activity; for teaching law courses at an ABA-accredited law school; for preparing students for and judging law competitions, mock trials and moot court arguments, including those at the high school or college level; for published legal research-based writing; and for providing pro bono legal services.


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Q] How much credit may I earn for speaking at, or moderating a CLE activity? What about panel participation?

A] For speaking or teaching at an accredited CLE activity you may earn 3 CLE credit hours for each 50 minutes of your presentation, and you may earn 3 credits for each 50 minutes of your participation on the panel. A moderator earns 1 credit for each 50 minutes of participation. No additional credit is available for preparation time for any of these activities.


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Q] Do I get credit if I teach the same CLE course more than once?

A] You may earn 1 CLE credit hour for repeat presentations as a speaker, teacher or panel member at an accredited CLE activity within any one reporting cycle. No additional credit may be earned for moderating repeat presentations of the same CLE program within a reporting cycle.


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Q] How much credit may I earn for preparing students for, or judging law competitions?

A] You may earn 1 credit for each 50 minutes of your participation in a law competition. For participation in a high school or college level law competition, your credit is limited to 3 CLE credit hours during a two-year reporting cycle. You may earn a maximum of 6 CLE credit hours, in one reporting cycle, for participation in a law school competition.


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Q] How much credit may I earn for the time I spend working on an article for publication?

A] You may earn 1 credit for each 50 minutes you spend in research and writing a legal research-based publication. You are limited to a maximum of 12 publication credits during any one reporting cycle.


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Q] How much credit will I earn for providing CLE accredited pro bono service?

A] For pro bono CLE activity, you may earn 1 CLE credit hour for every two 60-minute hours (120 minutes) of pro bono legal service performed. You are limited to 10 pro bono credits per reporting cycle. Additional CLE credits may be obtained by attorneys who are enrolled and participate in the Attorney Emeritus Program.


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Q] May I earn CLE credit for attending a CLE course if I arrive late? What if I leave early?

A] It is up to the sponsor of the program to determine whether you may earn credit if you do not attend the entire program. The sponsor may award partial credit, full credit or no credit at all, depending upon the circumstances.


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Q] May I earn credit for repeating a course?

A] You may not get credit for repeating the same course, even if the course is in a different format and even if the course is repeated in a different reporting cycle. So, if you had earned CLE credit for attending the live presentation of a program on cross examination, for example, you would not be able to earn credit for watching the video of that course, even if you watched it three years later. If, on the other hand, the program you “repeat” has significant new content, such as revised or updated materials reflecting recent changes in the law, you may be eligible for CLE credit, even if the title of the course has not changed.


Exceptions To The Requirement


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Q] Are there any exemptions from the CLE requirement?

A] Yes. The following persons are exempt from New York's CLE requirement:
1. Attorneys who do not practice law in New York at all during the relevant reporting cycle,
2. Full time active members of the U.S. Armed Forces,
3. Attorneys with offices outside of New York who are temporarily admitted to practice in a court within New York for a case or proceeding, and
4. Attorneys who certify that they are retired from the practice of law pursuant to § 468-a of the Judiciary Law.


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Q] How do I determine whether I am "practicing law in New York"?

A] You must determine for yourself whether your specific activities are considered practicing law in New York. All members of the New York Bar are presumed to be practicing law in New York unless otherwise shown. The burden of proof is on the individual attorney. You should be guided by case law and the Restatement of Law, Third, The Law Governing Lawyers, Chapter 1, § 3. Attorneys "practice law in New York" if they give legal advice or counsel to, or provide legal representation for, a particular body or individual in a particular situation in either the public or private sector. The practice of law does not include the performance of judicial or quasi-judicial (e.g., administrative law judge, hearing officer) functions. Neither the CLE Board nor its staff may advise attorneys on the issue of whether their specific activities constitute the practice of law in New York.


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Q] What are my CLE obligations if I practice law outside of New York?

A] 1. If you do not practice law in New York but practice in another jurisdiction (including a foreign country) that requires you to fulfill a CLE requirement, you must certify compliance with that other jurisdiction's requirement on your New York biennial registration form.
2. If you do not practice law in New York but practice in another jurisdiction (including a foreign country) that does not require you to fulfill a CLE requirement, you must certify to this on your New York biennial registration form.
3. If you practice law both in New York and in another jurisdiction (including a foreign country), you will be required to fulfill New York's CLE requirement. Keep in mind that you may obtain credit for out-of-state courses accredited by New York Approved Jurisdictions.


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Q] What if I am not practicing law at the beginning of my biennial reporting cycle? Or if I stop practicing law before the end?

A] Experienced attorneys who are not practicing law in New York at the beginning of their reporting cycle and then begin to practice law in New York during the cycle will be subject to a pro rata CLE requirement. Similarly, if you are not practicing law at the end of your biennial reporting cycle, then you have a pro rata requirement. However, if you take a break from the practice of law in the middle of your reporting cycle, you are subject to the full CLE requirement for experienced attorneys.


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Q] If I retire from the practice of law midway through my cycle, do I have to complete any CLE?

A] Yes, you are responsible for one 1 CLE credit hour, in any category of credit, for each month of the cycle during any part of which you practiced law in New York.


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Q] Are there any conditions under which I may obtain a waiver or modification of my CLE requirement?

A] The New York State CLE Board may, in individual cases involving undue hardship or other extenuating circumstances, grant waivers or modifications of the CLE requirement to attorneys. The attorney should submit an Application for a Waiver or Modification.



Compliance & Reporting


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Q] How and when do I report compliance with my CLE requirement?

A] An attorney registration form will be mailed to you. You must file your attorney registration form and complete your CLE requirement within 30 days after your birthday on alternate years. If you were admitted before January 1, 1982 or in an even-numbered year (e.g., 1998), then you will register in even-numbered years. If you were admitted in an odd-numbered year after 1982, then you will register in odd-numbered years. All attorneys must certify, at the time of their biennial registration, that they have satisfactorily completed their CLE requirement for that reporting cycle and that they have retained the proper documentation. (If, when you register, you have completed your required CLE credits but have not received all of your certificates of attendance, you may edit the relevant sentence on the attorney registration form to indicate that you are "awaiting documentation" of your compliance.


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Q] Is the CLE biennial reporting cycle the same as the attorney registration cycle?

A] No. When you file your registration form, you will certify your CLE compliance for the prior two-year period, and register for the following two years. For example, if you were admitted to the New York Bar in 1986 (and thus register in even-numbered years) and your birthday is in June, then in June 2006 you will file your “2006-2007" registration form, and you will certify your CLE compliance for your June 2004 - June 2006 biennial reporting cycle.


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Q]What should I do if I have not received an attorney registration form by my birthday?

A] If you have not received an attorney registration form by your birthday in the second calendar year following your admission to the Bar, contact the Attorney Registration unit by e-mail at attyreg@nycourts.gov or by telephone at (212) 428-2800.


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Q] What should I do if I cannot complete my CLE requirement on time?

A] If you cannot complete your CLE requirement within 30 days after your birthday (the deadline for experienced attorneys to complete their CLE and file their attorney registration form), you should request an Extension of time.


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Q] May I carry over CLE credits from one biennial reporting cycle to the next?

A] Once an experienced attorney has completed the 24 CLE credit requirement, a maximum of 6 additional credits earned may be applied toward the next reporting cycle. Experienced attorneys may carry over Ethics and Professionalism credits from one cycle to the next. For more information, see Carryover Credit FAQs.


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Q] Who keeps track of my certificates of attendance?

A] The New York State CLE program is a self-reporting system. Certificates of attendance, and/or other documentation of compliance with, or exemption from, the CLE requirement, must be retained by the attorney, for a period of at least four years from the date of the course or program, in case of audit.


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Q] What happens if I do not fulfill my CLE requirement?

A] The names of attorneys who fail to comply with the CLE requirement may be submitted to the Appellate Division for appropriate action.


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Q] What if I have more questions?

A] Please e-mail your questions or comments to CLE@nycourts.gov. You may also contact us at (212) 428-2105, or toll free from outside of New York City at 1 (877) NYS-4CLE (697-4253).


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