What is the CLE hourly requirement?
By June 30 of each year, an attorney must report at least 12 hours of approved CLE which must include at least 1 hour of ethics.
What if I take more than one ethics hour for the year?
After an attorney has earned the 1 ethics hour requirement per reporting period, any ethics hours earned beyond that are applied toward the general hours requirement of 11 hours.
Can I carry forward hours to the next reporting period?
After an attorney has earned the 12 hour requirement for the current reporting period, they may earn additional hours up to a maximum of 11 general and 1 ethics hour to apply to the next reporting period. Anything over this amount is removed when the current reporting period ends.
Who must comply with this requirement?
All active resident Arkansas licensed attorneys. The exceptions are: if the attorney is age 70 or more or has been licensed to practice in Arkansas for at least 40 years. Nonresident attorneys do not report hours to this office for their requirement. See Nonresident attorney CLE requirement for a full explanation.
What happens if an attorney does not comply with the requirements by the deadline date of June 30?
An attorney has until July 31 to report their compliance hours taken on or before June 30 with no penalty. After July 31, if an attorney reports hours taken on or before June 30 there is a $25 late filing fee. If an attorney must take hours after June 30 to meet the current year requirement there is a $75 deficiency fee so long as this is paid by August 31. Any deficiency fee paid to earn hours after June 30 is $100 if paid after August 31. Any attorney taking hours after the June 30 deadline date must also sign an acknowledgment of deficiency form. By paying the deficiency fee of $75 or $100 if after August 31, an attorney has an extension of time to December 1 of the current year to obtain hours for compliance.
What happens if an attorney does not get their hours by June 30 and does not pay the deficiency fee?
In November, the CLE Board will meet and vote on suspension of all attorneys who are not in compliance or have not requested an extension and paid the deficiency fee by the Board meeting date. The attorneys will be suspended from the practice of law at this time.
How does an attorney apply to be reinstated from CLE suspension?
This office can send the attorney a sample petition for reinstatement along with information on any fees and/or hours needed for compliance. The attorney will submit their petition, hours and fees to this office.
What happens if an attorney does not get hours by the extension deadline of December 1?
An attorney who has paid a deficiency fee and signed an acknowledgment of deficiency is granted an extension to December 1 to acquire hours for compliance. If this deadline is missed the attorney may pay an additional late filing fee of $100 to acquire hours after December 1 until the CLE Board meets in March for a vote of suspension. If an attorney acquired hours for compliance on or before December 1 but reports those hours after December 15, a $25 late filing fee is assessed.
What is the CLE requirement for attorneys who reside outside the state of Arkansas?
Any attorney whose address of record with the Clerk of the Court is outside the state is not required to report CLE hours to this office. Instead, the attorney is required to complete an annual certification form that is emailed to them in September of each year. The deadline to return that form without penalty is October 31 of each year. Forms returned after October 31 require payment of a $25 late filing fee.
How does an attorney change their status from active to inactive?
The attorney will call the Office of Professional Conduct 501-376-0313 and request voluntary inactive status. Once the attorney has moved to voluntary inactive status, their annual license fee will be reduced by 50% and they will be exempt from the CLE requirement as long as they remain on voluntary inactive status.
How does an attorney change their status from inactive to active?
The attorney will call the Office of Professional Conduct 501-376-0313 and request to be returned to active status. If the attorney resides in Arkansas, their first CLE requirement upon return to active practice is 36 hours due the end of the reporting period after they return to active practice.
Do attorneys receive extra credit for teaching CLE classes?
An attorney who teaches all or part of an approved CLE program may receive enhanced credit for their presentation. The amount of credit is calculated in this office based the completion of a speaker credit form. For a solo speaker, the attorney will receive 4 to 1 credit and panel presentations receive 3 to 1 credit. For example, a solo speaker whose presentation is 1.25 hours will receive 5 CLE hours for that presentation.
How are credit hours calculated?
Each CLE credit hour is based on 60 minutes of instruction. Programs must be at least 60 minutes to qualify. Hours are rounded to the nearest quarter of an hour. Some states base a credit hour on 50 minutes rather than 60.
Do in-house programs qualify for CLE credit?
In-house programs may qualify for CLE credit but there are restrictions for this type of program. An in-house program is defined as a program restricted to members of one private law firm.
(4) In-house Programs. In-house programs are available as a means of acquiring CLE credits provided: (a) The program complies with Rule 4(C) of the Arkansas Rules for Minimum Continuing Legal Education; and, (b) The application and documentation for in-house programs conducted in Arkansas must be submitted to the Secretary in advance of the scheduled event and be approved thirty (30) days before the scheduled event. In addition, private law firms which conduct in-house programs shall be subject to the following requirements: (c) A minimum of three (3) 'out-of-firm' attorneys must be allowed to attend such programs. Each firm may set reasonable limits on the total number of such 'out-of-firm' attendees. (d) Any "out-of-firm" attorney who desires to attend an in-house CLE program may be responsible for a proportionate share of the costs of the program; and, (e) Attorneys may receive a maximum of six (6) hours CLE credit for in-house programs conducted during any reporting period.
Where can I find programs that qualify for credit in Arkansas?
This site has a list of providers who offer live webcast and on-demand programs that will qualify for CLE credit in Arkansas as well as live programs approved by date range.
How do you get programs approved for CLE credit in Arkansas?
A provider or an attorney may submit an application along with a timed agenda to this office for review. If the program is already accredited in another state or jurisdiction, documentation confirming that fact along with the attorneys completed certificate of attendance can also be used for approval.
What is the requirement for newly admitted attorneys?
The first reporting period for an attorney after they are licensed begins on the date of enrollment and ends on June 30 of the period after they are licensed.