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New CLE Rule Goes Into Effect July 1, 2017

The Illinois Supreme court recently amended the state’s rule on minimum  Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements. The new requirements for attorneys in Illinois will go into effect on July 1, 2017. The rule change begins with attorneys with the two-year reporting period ending June 30, 2019. Currently, attorneys must complete 30 total hours, including at least six hours of professional responsibility (PR).

The new CLE rule change requires CLE’s in the areas of diversity and wellness. Only seven out of 45 states that have mandatory CLE have allowed for courses in diversity and inclusion to qualify for credit.  The change begins with the July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019, and July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020, two-year reporting periods. Attorneys must continue to complete 30 total hours, including at least six hours of PR. However, Illinois attorneys must complete one hour of diversity/inclusion PR and one hour of mental health/substance abuse PR.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier believes the new requirement will offer new experiences for attorney. “The Court’s experience has shown that lawyers have not been seeking out or cannot find continuing legal education programs that might offer meaningful help in addressing their own substance abuse and mental health issues or those of their colleagues.We have also noted that as Illinois and the Illinois bar have become more diverse, there has been a marked lag in interest in educational programs addressed to facilitating diversity and inclusion generally and in the legal profession specifically.”

The changes do not increase the total number of hours needed to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement. Attorneys will still be permitted take the year-long Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program as an alternative.

CLE Resources

Here is a list of CLE resources in Illinois for you.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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