FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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1. What is Mandatory Continuing Legal Education?

2. Who administers the MCLE program?

3. What is the purpose of the MCLE program?

4. Is the Commission on CLE & Specialization the same as the South Carolina Bar-CLE Division?

5. What must I do to comply with the MCLE requirements?

6. When is the filing deadline for MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements?

7. How many MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours do regular (active) attorneys have to report each reporting year?

8. What is the Substance Abuse/Mental Health (SA/MH) requirement and when must it be completed?

9. What are LEPR courses? What are SA/MH courses?   

10. How many LEPR and SA/MH credit hours do regular (active) attorneys have to take each reporting year?

11. How will I know if a course has LEPR or SA/MH credit?

12. If I earn more than 14 hours during the reporting year, can I carry the excess hours forward?

13. Who must comply with the MCLE requirements?

14. How do I change my SC Bar membership status from regular (active) to inactive?

15. Who is exempt from complying with the MCLE requirements?

16. Must I comply with MCLE requirements while I am in active duty in the military?

17. Must I report compliance if I am exempt?

18. I am a 60 year old attorney and have been admitted to practice for 30 years, how do I file for an exemption of my MCLE requirements?

19. I was admitted to the South Carolina Bar during the 2020-2021 reporting year (March 1, 2020-February 28, 2021). What are my first CLE reporting year requirements and when do I file my first CLE compliance report?

20. What CLE requirements are applicable to SC Bar members who have a limited certificate of admission, or who are licensed as foreign legal consultants?

21. How many of the annual 14 MCLE credit hours must be obtained from live, in-person courses, and how many hours can be obtained from ADO/ADT courses?   In the 2020-2021 reporting year, have there been any provisions made for distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic?  

22. What educational activities qualify as “ADO or ADT” courses, i.e. alternatively delivered CLE programming?

23. Are webcasts of live seminars “live” courses?

24. Are video replays of live seminars and satellite broadcasts of live seminars considered to be “live” courses?

25. How much MCLE credit can be obtained from a single ADO (online, on-demand) or ADT (teleconference) course?

26. Does South Carolina permit “self-study” to obtain MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours?

27. Does South Carolina accredit in-house CLE courses?

28. Can I get extra MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit for teaching a CLE course?

29. Can I get MCLE credit for a published legal writing?

30. How can I check the number of MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours that I currently have?

31. If I have attended a course that has not been accredited by the SC Commission on CLE and Specialization will I receive SC CLE credit for it?

32. How can I find out if the Commission has approved a specific course?

33. I have attended a course that has not been accredited by the Commission, how can I get credit for the course?

34. If I attend a course outside of South Carolina, can I count it toward my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirement?

35. If I have taken the requisite number of approved MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours, must I file a compliance report?

36. How do I get a copy of my CLE compliance report?

37. If I do not receive my CLE compliance report, do I still have a responsibility to file?

38. What should I do if my CLE compliance report is complete and correct?

39. How much is the CLE compliance report filing fee?

40. Where do I submit my CLE compliance report?

41. What should I do if my CLE compliance report is incomplete or incorrect?

42. If an accredited course that I attended is not listed on my CLE compliance report, and I do not add the course to the report, will I get credit for the course?

43. Should I file my CLE compliance report if I have not completed all of my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH course work?

44. If I plan to attend a course, but have not yet attended it, can I include that course when I file my CLE compliance report?

45. If I filed my CLE compliance report and then attended additional courses this reporting year, how can I get credit for those additional courses?

46. When must I complete my course work for the 2020-2021 CLE reporting year?

47. When must I file my annual CLE compliance report?

48. Are extensions of time to complete CLE requirements available?

49. What happens if I file my CLE compliance report after March 1?

50. If I am filing my CLE compliance report after the March 1 deadline, how do I know if my late fee should be $75 or $200?

51. What happens if I do not establish my CLE compliance with the Commission?

52. If I am suspended from the practice of law for non-compliance with CLE requirements, how can I get reinstated?

53. I am an attorney licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina.  Are there any special provisions that I need to know regarding satisfying my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements?

54. I am an attorney licensed in both Georgia and South Carolina.  Are there any special provisions that I need to know regarding satisfying my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements?

55. I need copies of my past CLE compliance reports.  Where can I find them?

56. What is the fee to submit an Application for Accreditation of a CLE activity to the Commission for MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH approval in South Carolina?



1.   What is Mandatory Continuing Legal Education?

Answer:      
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) is the program adopted in 1982 by the Supreme Court of South Carolina, which establishes minimum requirements for continuing legal education for South Carolina’s attorneys and judges.  The Court’s belief is that “all judges and lawyers must meet certain minimum continuing legal education requirements if they are to maintain their competency.”  The CLE Rules are set forth in the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR), in Rule 408, Continuing Legal Education and Specialization; Rule 504, Continuing Legal Education of the Judiciary; and Rule 510, Continuing Legal Education For Magistrates and Municipal Judges.  The accompanying CLE Regulations are set forth in the Appendices to Part IV, SCACR, in Appendix C. Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education; Appendix D. Regulations for Legal Specialization; and Appendix E. Regulations for Specialty Fields.


2.   Who administers the MCLE program?

Answer:      
The program is administered by the Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on Continuing Legal Education & Specialization (Commission).  The Commission is an agency of the Supreme Court of South Carolina (Court) created by Rule 408, SCACR.  Twelve members of the Commission are appointed by the Court to oversee operations of the agency.  The Commission Members include representatives from the South Carolina judiciary, to include a member of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, a circuit court judge, a family court judge and practicing attorneys from the four (4) judicial regions.

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3.   What is the purpose of the MCLE program?

Answer:      
In the modern legal environment, the law continues to grow more complex and it changes with increasing frequency.  Mindful of the improvements in the administration of justice that have resulted from mandatory judicial continuing legal education (JCLE) and mandatory continuing legal education for attorneys (CLE), the Court maintains minimum CLE requirements to ensure that all active South Carolina Bar members remain competent and current with the law throughout their legal or judicial careers.

4.   Is the Commission on CLE & Specialization the same as the South Carolina Bar-CLE Division?

Answer:      
No.  The Commission on CLE & Specialization is the regulatory agency of the Supreme Court of South Carolina which administers the MCLE program and accredits all CLE programming.  The South Carolina Bar-CLE Division is the division of the Bar which sponsors (produces) CLE courses and publishes legal treatises and practice manuals for attorneys and judges.  You can contact the SC Bar-CLE Division at 803-771-0333 or 803-799-6653, or visit its website at www.scbar.org.

 

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5.   What must I do to comply with the MCLE requirements?

Answer:      
Each reporting year, all regular (active) attorneys must earn 14 hours of MCLE credit, of which at least two (2) hours must be Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (LEPR) credit, or must have sufficient credit carried forward from the previous reporting year.  The maximum carry-forward credit is 14 hours of MCLE credit of which two (2) hours may be LEPR credit.  Credit from alternatively delivered courses (designated by the Commission with an ADO or ADT suffix after the SC CLE course number) may not be carried forward (see FAQ 22 regarding alternatively delivered courses).  As part of the MCLE requirement, at least once every two (2) reporting years, attorneys must complete one (1) hour of instruction devoted exclusively to substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management and the legal profession (SA/MH).  Credit for SA/MH courses may not be carried forward from one two-year reporting cycle to the next.  SA/MH credit is part of the general CLE requirement and cannot be applied to satisfy the LEPR requirement.  Bar members will be deemed to have established compliance with the MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements when they have done the following: 1) earned the required MCLE and LEPR hours (or have sufficient MCLE and LEPR carry-forward hours); 2) earned the required SA/MH hours to satisfy their current two-year cycle; 3) filed the compliance report listing all courses attended during the reporting year; and 4) paid the $50.00 filing fee and late fee if applicable.   Due to COVID-19, pursuant to the June 16, 2020 Order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina https://www.sccourts.org/whatsnew/displaywhatsnew.cfm?indexID=2514, lawyers and judges may earn all or any portion of the CLE they are required to obtain for the 2020-2021 annual reporting year through online or telephone programs.  Such courses are alternatively delivered and are designated by the Commission with an ADO or ADT suffix after the SC CLE course number.  Any ADO/ADT credit earned in excess of the credit needed to satisfy the 2020-2021 CLE obligation cannot be carried forward to the next CLE reporting year.


6.   When is the filing deadline for MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements?

Answer:      
The filing deadline for attorneys is on or before March 1.  The CLE reporting year runs from March 1 until the last day of February.

7.   How many MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours do active attorneys have to report each reporting year?

Answer:      
Regular (active) attorneys must report 14 hours of approved MCLE courses per reporting year.  All courses must be approved by the Commission.  South Carolina uses a 60-minute CLE credit hour.  At least two (2) of the 14 MCLE hours must be courses that are devoted to legal ethics and professional responsibility (LEPR).  Additionally, effective May 1, 2019, at least once every two (2) reporting years, active attorneys and judges must complete one (1) hour of instruction devoted exclusively to substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management and the legal profession (SA/MH).  Members who have exceeded the minimum MCLE and LEPR requirements for the current reporting year may carry-forward up to 14 hours of MCLE credit of which two (2) hours may be LEPR credit.  Credit from alternatively delivered courses (designated by the Commission with an ADO or ADT suffix after the SC CLE course number) may not be carried forward (see FAQ 22 regarding alternatively delivered courses).  Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit earned during a member’s current two-year reporting cycle cannot be carried forward to the next two-year reporting cycle. 


8.   What is the Substance Abuse/Mental Health (SA/MH) requirement and when must it be completed?

Answer:
       Pursuant to the March 13, 2019 Order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina amending Rule 408, SCACR, effective May 1, 2019, at least once every two (2) reporting years, attorneys and judges must complete one (1) hour of instruction devoted exclusively to substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management and the legal profession (SA/MH).  Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit is a part of the general CLE requirement and cannot be applied to satisfy the legal ethics and professional responsibility (LEPR) requirement.  Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit earned during a member’s current two-year reporting cycle cannot be carried forward to satisfy the requirements of the member’s next two-year cycle.  Under the amended rule, lawyers and judges who satisfied this requirement in the 2018-2019 annual reporting year are required to complete the requirement again no later than the 2020-2021 reporting year.  Lawyers and judges who completed the requirement in either the 2016-2017 or the 2017-2018 reporting year are required to complete the requirement again in the 2019-2020 reporting year.   

9.   What are LEPR courses?  What are SA/MH courses?

Answer:
       South Carolina has an ethics requirement as mandated by its Supreme Court.  LEPR courses are those that deal with legal ethics and professional responsibility.  Legal ethics/professional responsibility (LEPR) includes, but is not be limited to, instruction focusing on the Rules of Professional Conduct as they relate to law firm management, malpractice avoidance, lawyer fees, legal ethics, and the duties of lawyers to the judicial system, the public, clients and other lawyers.  LEPR also includes, but is not limited to, instruction focusing on the elimination of bias in the legal profession.  Elimination of bias instruction includes programming designed to educate lawyers on the recognition, identification, prevention, and elimination of bias in the legal setting, as well as programming on diversity in the legal profession.

Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit DOES NOT qualify for LEPR credit.  SA/MH topics include the effects of stress, substance abuse, and chemical dependency, or debilitating mental conditions on a lawyer’s or judge’s professional responsibilities, and the prevention, detection, treatment, and etiology of stress, substance abuse, chemical dependency, and debilitating mental conditions, and may include topics addressing signs of substance abuse or mental health issues in oneself or a colleague within the legal community, lawyer assistance programs, and other topics that are focused on the impact of substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management on lawyers and judges.

10.   How many LEPR and SA/MH credit hours do active attorneys have to take each reporting year?

Answer:
       Regular (active) attorneys must take at least two (2) hours of LEPR credit every CLE reporting year.  At least once every two (2) reporting years, attorneys and judges must complete one (1) hour of instruction devoted exclusively to substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management and the legal profession (SA/MH).  Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit is a part of the general CLE requirement and cannot be applied to satisfy the LEPR requirement.  Attorneys who have exceeded the minimum MCLE and LEPR requirements for the current reporting year may carry-forward up to 14 hours of MCLE credit of which two (2) hours may be LEPR credit.  Credit from alternatively delivered courses (designated by the Commission with an ADO or ADT suffix after the SC CLE course number) may not be carried forward (see FAQ 22 regarding alternatively delivered courses).  Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit earned during a member’s current two-year reporting cycle cannot be carried forward to the next two-year reporting cycle. 

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11.
   How will I know if a course has LEPR or SA/MH credit?

Answer:
       The CLE course sponsor should let you know if a course (or a portion of a course) has been accredited for LEPR or SA/MH credit.  The sponsor also will tell you the exact number of LEPR or SA/MH credit hours in the course and which presentation(s) in the course have been approved for LEPR or SA/MH credit.

12.   If I earn more than 14 hours during the reporting year, can I carry the excess hours forward?

Answer:
       Yes.  A regular (active) attorney, who earns more than 14 hours of credit in the reporting year, may carry forward a maximum of 14 hours to the next reporting year, of which two (2) hours may be LEPR credit.  Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit hours earned during an attorney or judge’s two-year cycle cannot be carried forward to satisfy the requirements of the next two-year cycle of SA/MH reporting years.  Credit from “alternatively delivered” courses (designated by the Commission with an ADO or ADT suffix after the SC CLE course number) may not be carried forward (see FAQ 22 regarding alternatively delivered courses).

13.   Who must comply with the MCLE requirements?

Answer:
       Pursuant to Rule 408, SCACR, all regular (active) members of the South Carolina Bar must comply with the MCLE requirements.  All active appellate, circuit, family, and probate court judges, and masters-in-equity, must comply with the JCLE requirements of Rule 504, SCACR.  All active summary court judges (magistrates and municipal court judges) must comply with the MMJCLE requirements of Rule 510, SCACR.

14.   How do I change my SC Bar membership status from inactive to regular (active)?

Answer:
       To change your status, you must request a change in your SC Bar membership status (or class) through your member account on the website of the Supreme Court of South Carolina’s Attorney Information System (AIS) at www.sccourts.org/ais.  Additionally, you may need to contact the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court of South Carolina by telephone at 803-734-1080. 

SC Bar membership status change is governed by Rule 410(h)(1)(B) and 410(o), SCACR.  Rule 410 provides that, if an inactive member has engaged in the practice of a law in this or any other jurisdiction within the last twelve months, the inactive member may become a regular member by paying the fee specified in Rule 410 (o) if that member is current on mandatory continuing legal education requirements in that jurisdiction.  Otherwise, the inactive member may only become a regular member by paying the fee specified in Rule 410 (o), i.e. the difference in the license fee for that year regardless of when the change occurs, and providing proof that the inactive attorney has completed the continuing legal education requirements of a regular member under Rule 408, SCACR, within the last twelve months.

You must contact the Commission to obtain confirmation to be emailed to the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court of South Carolina that you are currently in compliance with SC CLE requirements.  If you are a resident of another state or U.S. jurisdiction, and you have been actively engaged in the practice of law in your state/jurisdiction of residence for the last 12 months, and you are currently in compliance with CLE requirements of your state/jurisdiction, you may obtain an affidavit of out-of-state CLE compliance from the Commission to be executed, notarized, and returned to the Commission, which to attests to your current out-of-state CLE compliance.  As soon as the Commission receives your affidavit, the Commission will notify AIS and the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court of South Carolina that the Commission has no objection to your change of status from inactive to regular (active) status.  If you are not currently actively practicing law in any other jurisdiction, you must contact the Commission to obtain a CLE compliance report for the most recent CLE reporting year, and then complete and submit your report to the Commission, demonstrating that you have obtained at least 14 hours of SC-accredited MCLE credit, including 2 hours of LEPR credit (not more than 8 hours of which may be obtained via online/on-demand/ teleconference courses, i.e. “alternatively delivered” CLE programming during the most recent SC CLE reporting year.  Note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with respect to the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 CLE reporting years, all required credit may be earned via preapproved alternatively delivered programming, pursuant to the June 16, 2020 Order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina https://www.sccourts.org/whatsnew/displaywhatsnew.cfm?indexID=2514.  You must also pay the $50 annual filing fee (via check made payable to “SC Commission on CLE.”)  As soon as you have filed your regular SC attorney’s CLE compliance report demonstrating that you have satisfied the requirements for the most recent CLE reporting year and paid your annual filing fee, the Commission will notify AIS and the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court of South Carolina that the Commission has no objection to your change of status from inactive to regular (active) status.  The Commission staff member to contact for assistance with this process is Brent Burry, brentburry@bellsouth.net or 803-799-5578 ext. 101.

You must also contact the SC Bar Membership Department to pay the difference between the current year’s license fee for the regular membership category and the inactive membership category.  The SC Bar staff member to contact for assistance with this process is Donna Oelhafen, doelhafen@scbar.org or 803-799-6653 ext, 171.  

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15.   Who is exempt from complying with the MCLE requirements?

Answer:
       The following are exempt from the MCLE requirements, pursuant to Rule 408(a)(2)(A)-(F), SCACR:

• Bar members who are at least sixty (60) years old and have been admitted to practice law for thirty (30) years or more may apply to the Commission for an exemption.  This exemption is not automatic.  See FAQ 18 which outlines the procedure to file for the exemption.

• Bar members who are inactive members
, military members, and retired members are exempt from complying with MCLE requirements;

 

• Bar members who are federal judges or federal administrative law judges are exempt from complying with the MCLE requirements;

Bar limited certificate members who have been licensed under Rule 415, SCACR (Limited Certificate of Admission for Retired and Inactive Attorney Pro Bono Participation Program) are exempt from complying wth MCLE requirements.

 

Specialists who have been certified pursuant to Rule 408 SCACR, who satisfy the CLE requirements of their specialty area, are exempt from MCLE requirements.  However, each specialist must have at least two (2) LEPR hours annually.  Also, effective May 1, 2019, each specialist must complete one (1) hour of instruction devoted exclusively to substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management and the legal profession (SA/MH).  Substance abuse/mental health (SA/MH) credit hours do not qualify for LEPR credit.  Each specialty’s CLE requirements can be found on this website.  See Specialization Regulations & Forms.


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16.
   Must I comply with MCLE requirements while I am on active duty in the military?

Answer
:       Regular (active) members of the SC Bar who are deployed overseas on an active duty military assignment may request and obtain a temporary waiver of their MCLE requirement from the Commission, during the period of their deployment.  Regular (active) SC Bar members on active duty military status in the United States must comply with the MCLE requirements.  Please send notice of your active duty military status and overseas deployment to the Commission, at least thirty (30) days before the end of the current CLE reporting year, to the following address: Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization, Post Office Box 2138, Columbia, SC 29202, or email the Commission at: commcle@bellsouth.net.

 

Military members of the SC Bar, regardless of their duty station, are exempt from SC CLE requirements for as long as they maintain military member status.   Military members who change their status are afforded an exemption for their first year of civilian regular membership, after their change of status.  If you change your SC Bar membership status from “regular” to “military,” you will become eligible for a permanent waiver of the annual CLE requirement, pursuant to Rule 408(a)(2)(C), SCACR, for as long as you remain a military member.  To change your SC Bar membership status you must contact both the SC Supreme Court’s Attorney Information System (AIS) (https://www.sccourts.org/AIS/) and the SC  Bar Membership Services Department (http://www.scbar.org/Bar-Members; 803-799-6653; doelhafen@scbar.org or cmedlin@scbar.org), to request the change.  Note that military members may not engage in the practice of law in South Carolina outside of their duties in the Armed Forces of the United States, pursuant to Rule 410(h)(1)(E), SCACR.  When you leave military duty and change to regular (active) member status with the SC Bar, you should contact the Commission regarding your MCLE requirements.

17.   Must I report compliance if I am exempt?

Answer:      
No.  If you fall within the exempt categories noted above in the answer to question 15, you do not need to take CLE courses nor do you need to file an annual compliance report.

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18.   I am a 60 year old attorney and have been admitted to practice for 30 years, how do I file for an exemption of my MCLE requirements?

Answer:      
To receive the exemption, an active attorney who meets the requirements should contact the Commission to obtain an affidavit requesting CLE exemption, or a member may prepare his/her own affidavit which includes the following:

      • His/her name, SC Bar identification number, age, and date of birth
      • The date of his/her admission to practice law
      • A request to be exempt from the MCLE requirements

Please send your signed, notarized affidavit to:
      Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization
      Post Office Box 2138
      Columbia, South Carolina 29202

The Commission will notify you in writing that your exemption has been granted and that you no longer need to earn CLE credits and file a compliance report.  The exemption will become effective in the CLE reporting year in which it was granted.

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19.    I was admitted to the South Carolina Bar during the 2020-2021 reporting year (March 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021).  What are first CLE reporting year requirements and when do I file my first CLE compliance report?

Answer:      
Pursuant to Rule 408(a)(3), SCACR, newly admitted members are exempt from CLE requirements during the CLE reporting year in which they are admitted to the SC Bar.  The first required CLE reporting year for newly admitted members begins on March 1 after the date of admission.  Consequently, if you were admitted to the SC Bar during the 2020-2021 reporting year, i.e. March 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021, you will file your first annual CLE compliance report for the 2021-2022 CLE reporting year, i.e. March 1, 2021 - February 28, 2022.  Therefore, your first annual CLE compliance report must be submitted to the Commission on or before March 1, 2022.

Before the end of the first required CLE reporting year, newly admitted members admitted pursuant to Rule 402, SCACR, unless exempt as set forth below, must complete an Essentials Series course administered by the South Carolina Bar-CLE Division, in addition to satisfying the annual MCLE requirements.  Hours earned by attending an Essentials Series course will be applied to the member's first required CLE reporting year.  Except for the required Essentials Series course, any CLE courses taken before the beginning of your first CLE reporting year cannot qualify for credit and cannot be used to satisfy future MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements.

SC Bar members who live and practice outside of South Carolina may take an Essentials Series course online. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to the June 16, 2020 Order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina https://www.sccourts.org/whatsnew/displaywhatsnew.cfm?indexID=2513 any newly admitted member may satisfy this requirement by completing an Essentials Series course online for the 2020-2021 CLE reporting year.

Pursuant to Rule 408(a)(3), the following newly admitted members are exempt from completing an Essentials Series course:

(A) members called to active military duty and who elect to become Military Members under Rule 410(h)(1)(E), SCACR;

(B) inactive members who remain inactive through the end of the first required reporting year;

(C) members who have been admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction for at least two (2) years prior to admission in South Carolina;

(D) members who took the South Carolina Bar's Bridge the Gap Program prior to March 2013.


Please note that, if you were admitted to the SC Bar under a limited certificate of admission, pursuant to Rules 414, 427, or 430, SCACR, you must file an annual CLE compliance report for the CLE reporting year in which you were admitted.  Additionally, effective May 1, 2019, you will also be required to satisfy
the two-year substance abuse/mental health CLE requirement.  Please see Question 20, below, for more information about the CLE requirements of limited certificate members of the SC Bar.


20.    What CLE requirements are applicable to SC Bar members who have a limited certificate of admission, or who are licensed as foreign legal consultants?

Answer:     
SC Bar members with a limited certificate of admission pursuant to Rule 405, SCACR, Limited Certificate of Admission to Practice Law in South Carolina; Rule 414, SCACR, Limited Certificate to Practice Law for Clinical Law Program Teachers; Rule 427, SCACR, Limited Certificate of Admission for Judge Advocates; and Rule 430, SCACR, Limited Certificate of Admission for Military Spouse Attorneys, must file an annual CLE compliance report, beginning in the CLE year in which they were admitted, and continuing for each CLE reporting year thereafter for as long as they remain a limited certificate member, demonstrating that they have met the CLE requirements of Rule 408, SCACR.   

 

Limited certificate members licensed pursuant to Rule 415, SCACR, Limited Certificate of Admission for the Retired Attorney Pro Bono Participation Program, are exempt from the CLE requirements of Rule 408, SCACR.     

 

SC Bar members licensed as foreign legal consultants pursuant to Rule 424, SCACR, Licensing of Foreign Legal Consultants must annually attend at least two (2) hours of approved CLE courses devoted to legal ethics/professional conduct (LEPR) and file an annual CLE compliance report with the Commission.


21. How many of the annual 14 MCLE credit hours must be obtained from live, in-person courses, and how many hours can be obtained from ADO/ADT courses?
Answer:      
Pursuant to the Commission’s Regulations, six (6) of your annual MCLE credit hours must come from attendance at live, in-person courses.   Eight (8) hours can come from courses that are “alternatively delivered,” which are designated by the Commission with an ADO or ADT suffix after the SC CLE course number. The Supreme Court of South Carolina waived the restriction on the annual distance learning cap for the 2020-2021 reporting year.   The Supreme Court’s waiver is based on the issues caused by COVID-19 and the potential lack of available in-person courses this reporting year.  Pursuant to the June 16, 2020 Order of the Supreme Court https://www.sccourts.org/whatsnew/displaywhatsnew.cfm?indexID=2514, lawyers and judges may earn all or any portion of their 2020-2021 annual CLE requirements through preapproved online or telephone courses.  Certified specialists also can satisfy the annual CLE requirements of their specialty areas through distance learning courses. 

 

The Supreme Court did not waive the restriction on carrying forward online and telephone credit hours.   Any distance learning hours (ADO/ADT credit) earned in excess of the attorney’s or judge’s annual CLE requirement, cannot be carried forward to the 2021-2022 reporting year.

22.   What educational activities qualify as “AD0 or ADT”, i.e. alternatively delivered programming?

Answer:      
Due to COVID-19, pursuant to the June 16, 2020 Order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina https://www.sccourts.org/whatsnew/displaywhatsnew.cfm?indexID=2514 , lawyers and judges may earn all or any portion of the CLE they are required to obtain for the 2020-2021 annual reporting year through online or telephone programs.  Pre-approved “alternatively delivered” courses are designated by the Commission with an ADO or ADT suffix after the course number.  A current list of accredited alternatively delivered courses can be found on the Commission’s website https://www.commcle.org/avail_course20.asp.  Alternatively delivered programming includes online and on-demand courses, live webcasts and webinars, which are delivered over the Internet.  Online and on-demand courses can be accredited for a maximum of eight (8) hours per course.  Telephone courses, including teleseminars and teleconferences, are also defined as alternatively delivered programming, and can be accredited for a maximum of 90 minutes.  Video replays of live courses and satellite broadcasts, such as the SC Bar-CLE Division’s broadcasts to remote sites around the state, are considered to be “live” courses.  Essentially, the difference between “live” and “alternatively delivered” programming for SC CLE purposes is that live courses are attended in-person, in a group setting, in a location administered by the CLE sponsor.  Alternatively delivered programming is delivered via internet or telephone to individuals in a solo setting (e.g., live individual webcasts, individual online and on-demand courses, and individual live and replay teleseminars) and can be attended in your office, home, or anywhere you have access to the internet or telephone. A current list of accredited live courses can be found on the Commission’s website https://www.commcle.org/avail_course10.asp.   

 

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23.
    Are webcasts of live seminars “live” courses?

Answer:      
No. Webcasts of live seminars, which are received over the Internet, are considered to be alternatively delivered courses, the same as other online and on-demand courses.  See FAQ 22, above.

24.    Are video replays of live seminars and satellite broadcasts of live seminars considered to be “live” courses?

Answer:      
Yes.  Video replays of live courses and satellite broadcasts, such as the SC Bar-CLE Division’s broadcasts to remote sites, are considered to be “live” courses.  See FAQ 22, above.

25.    How much MCLE credit can be obtained from a single ADO (online, on-demand) or ADT (teleconference) course?

Answer:      
An individual ADO (online, on demand) course can be accredited for a maximum of eight (8) hours of MCLE credit. An individual ADT (teleconference) course can be accredited for a maximum of 90 minutes of MCLE credit.

26.    Does South Carolina permit “self-study” to obtain MCLE/LEPR credit hours?

Answer:      
No.  There is no provision for SC CLE credit for self-study course work.

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27.
    Does South Carolina accredit in-house CLE courses?

Answer:      
Yes.  In-house courses can be accredited if they meet the criteria as outlined in Commission Regulation IV(D).  To receive credit, all in-house courses must be submitted to the Commission prior to the presentation of the course.  Not more than one-half of an attorney’s approved credits for any CLE reporting year can be earned through in-house courses.  For example, if you earn a total of 15 MCLE credit hours during the reporting year, only seven and one-half hours (7.5 hrs.) of this credit may be earned through in-house courses.  Please check the Commission's Regulations for a complete list of requirements for “In-House CLE” programming.

28.    Can I get extra MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit for teaching an accredited CLE course?

Answer:      
Yes.  The Commission’s Regulations allow you to earn enhanced credit for teaching.  You must apply for teaching credit on the prescribed form.  You will get three (3) times the amount of time that you teach if you have prepared at least five (5) pages or more of quality written material for the participants.  If you do not prepare written material, you can earn one and one-half (1.5) times the amount of time that you teach.  You must submit your request for teaching credit within 60 days of your presentation.  Please see the complete list of restrictions on teaching credit.

29.    Can I get MCLE credit for published legal writing?

Answer:      
Yes.  The Commission’s Regulations allow you to earn MCLE credit for published writing concerning substantive or procedural law.  You must apply for writing credit on the prescribed form.  The published writing must be a minimum of 2,000 words, and you must submit your application within one year of publication. Please see the complete list of restrictions on writing credit.

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30.
    How can I check the number of MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours that I currently have?

Answer:      
Your current CLE reporting year MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours are available by accessing the Check MCLE Credits link on the Commission's secure website and entering your AIS Username and Password, by calling the Commission office at 803-799-5578, or by emailing the Commission at commcle@bellsouth.net with your request.

31.    If I have attended a course that has not been accredited by the Commission, will I receive credit for it?

Answer:      
No.  You will not receive MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit for a course unless it was submitted to the Commission for accreditation and approved for SC CLE credit.

32.    How can I find out if the Commission has approved a specific course?

Answer:      
Click here to search for accredited courses.

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33.
    I have attended a course that has not been accredited by the Commission, how can I get CLE credit for the course?

Answer:      
You can ask the course’s sponsor to file a uniform application for accreditation.  Most in-state and out-of-state course sponsors are familiar with the application and reporting procedures in South Carolina.

If a sponsor has not accredited the course, an attorney can apply for course credit independently of a sponsor by completing and submitting a Uniform Application for Accreditation of CLE Activity, along with a $25 per course application fee.  Along with the application, you will be required to submit a copy of the course brochure, agenda, and handout materials. 
The application has complete information regarding the required attachments needed to file the application.

34.    If I attend a course outside South Carolina, can I count it toward my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirement?

Answer:      
If the course was submitted to the Commission and approved as having met the South Carolina CLE accreditation standards, you may count it toward your MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirement.  See above FAQ 33 regarding the procedure to have courses accredited by the Commission.

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35.
    If I have taken the requisite number of approved MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH  credit hours, must I file a CLE compliance report?

Answer:      
Yes.  The Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for Judges and Active Members of the South Carolina Bar (Regulations) require that in addition to taking the MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH hours, you must file a compliance report by the filing deadline and pay the appropriate fees.

36.    How do I get a copy of my compliance report?

Answer:      
Each year the Commission mails all active, non-exempt attorneys an annual report of compliance.  Compliance reports are mailed on/about January 15 of each year. 

37.    If I do not receive my CLE compliance report, do I still have a responsibility to file?

Answer:      
Yes.  The Regulations do not require that the Commission provide you with a copy of your compliance report, only that the reports be made available to you through its office.  If for any reason you do not receive your annual CLE compliance report in the mail, it is your responsibility to notify the Commission so that a duplicate copy of your CLE compliance report can be provided to you.  You can reach the Commission at 803-799-5578 or e-mail at commcle@bellsouth.net.  Non-receipt of your CLE compliance report does not excuse you from the responsibility of filing your CLE compliance report by the reporting deadline.

 

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38.
    What should I do if my CLE compliance report is complete and correct?

Answer:      
If your CLE compliance report is complete and correct, you need to sign it, date it, and return it, along with the filing fee, no later than March 1.

39.    How much is the CLE compliance report filing fee?

Answer:      
The compliance report filing fee for regular attorneys, limited certificate members, and judges is $50.  The compliance report filing fee for certified specialists is $100.  Please make your check or money order payable to SC Commission on CLE.

40.    Where do I submit my CLE compliance report?

Answer:      
You may mail your compliance report to the following address:
      Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization
      Post Office Box 2138
      Columbia, South Carolina 29202

You may hand deliver or overnight your compliance report to the Commission.  Please overnight your report to the Commission’s physical address:
      Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization
    
  950 Taylor Street, Suite 120
      Columbia, South Carolina 29201

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41.    What should I do if my CLE compliance report as printed is incomplete or incorrect?

Answer:      
If your CLE compliance report is incomplete or incorrect, you should make necessary pen and ink additions or corrections to the MCLE transcript portion of the report before returning it.

If you have taken a CLE course that does not appear on the report, you may add the course provided the course has been previously approved for accreditation by the Commission.  If you add a course that was not accredited, you will not receive credit for course.  All courses that have been accredited by the Commission will appear on the list of accredited MCLE courses.  Only accredited courses can be added to your MCLE transcript.  To determine if a course has been accredited, you may check the Commission’s Web site at https://www.commcle.org.  If a course is not on the “List of Accredited MCLE Seminars,” then you, or the course’s sponsor, must take the necessary steps to have the course accredited.  For instructions on how to accredit a course, please see Question 33, above, or call the Commission’s office.  YOU WILL NOT BE GIVEN MCLE CREDIT FOR NON-ACCREDITED COURSES.  After you have made pen and ink corrections to your report, sign it and return it with the filing fee before the filing deadline.

42.    If an accredited course that I attended is not listed on my CLE compliance report, and I do not add the course to the report, will I get credit for the course?

Answer:      
No.  When you file your CLE compliance report it must be complete.  If an accredited course that you attended does not appear on your report, you must add it to the MCLE transcript portion of your report or you will not get credit for the course, unless you file an amended CLE compliance report.  It is essential that your MCLE transcript be accurate and complete before you submit it for filing.  If your transcript has incorrect or incomplete information, please make pen and ink corrections directly to the report.  DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR COMPLIANCE REPORT UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED ALL OF YOUR COURSES THAT YOU WISH TO SUBMIT FOR CREDIT THROUGH THE LAST DAY OF THE CLE REPORTING YEAR.

 

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43.    Should I file my CLE compliance report if I have not completed all of my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH course work?

Answer:      
No.  If you have not earned all of your required MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH credit hours, DO NOT file your CLE compliance report.  You will not be in compliance by filing the report without completing the course work.  Wait until you have completed the course work before filing.  If you file the report without completing the work, you will need to re-file and pay the $50 filing fee for a second time, in addition to any late fee that may now be due.

44.    If I plan to attend a seminar, but have not yet attended it, can I include that course when I file my CLE compliance report?

Answer:      
No.  Your CLE compliance report must only list the courses that you have actually attended at the time that you file the report.  The CLE compliance report that you must sign clearly states “that the information contained in this report is, to the best of my knowledge, complete and accurate and that I did, in fact, participate for the number of hours indicated in the courses listed in Part II.”  You cannot add a course to your MCLE transcript that you plan to attend in the future.  THE COMMISSION WILL NOT APPROVE A REPORT CLAIMING CREDIT FOR A COURSE THAT YOU PLAN TO ATTEND IN THE FUTURE.  THE COMMISSION WILL NOT ADJUST YOUR REPORT AFTER IT IS FILED, EVEN IF ATTENDANCE IS RECEIVED FROM YOU OR THE SPONSOR, UNLESS YOU FILE AN AMENDED COMPLIANCE REPORT.  A $50.00 amended filing fee is assessed when filing an amended report to obtain credit for a course which you attended after you filed your compliance report, but before the end of the CLE reporting year.

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45.    If I filed my CLE compliance report and then attended additional courses this reporting year, how can I get credit for those additional courses?

Answer:      
You must file an amended CLE compliance report.  Once you file your CLE compliance report, you cannot receive credit for additional courses that you take unless you prepare and file an amended CLE compliance report.  The best practice is to wait to file your CLE compliance report until you have completed all your annual course work.  If you attended an accredited course that does not appear in PART III, 2018-2019 MCLE TRANSCRIPT, please add (type or write in) the course on your report.  If you attended a course that is not listed on your CLE compliance report AND YOU DO NOT ADD IT BEFORE FILING THE REPORT, you will not receive credit for attending the course unless you file an amended compliance report and pay the $50.00 amended filing fee.  Complete instructions for filing an amended CLE compliance report are found on this website.  An amended CLE compliance report may be filed up to one (1) year after the filing of your previous CLE compliance report.  

46.    When must I complete my course work for the 2020-2021 CLE reporting year?

Answer:      
The 2020-2021 CLE reporting year begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on February 28, 2021.


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47.    When do attorneys file their annual CLE compliance reports?

Answer:      
Pursuant to Rule 419, SCACR, active attorneys’ compliance reports and filing fees are due no later than March 1.  To avoid the assessment of a late filing fee, you must make sure that your CLE compliance report is USPS postmarked no later than March 1.  Please note that the Commission uses the USPS postmark date, not your office postage meter’s date.  If you wait until the last day to mail your report, you assume the risk that the USPS may not postmark your envelope until the next day, after the timely filing deadline has passed, in which case you will be assessed a late fee.


48.    Are extensions of time to complete CLE requirements available?

Answer:      
No.  Extensions of time to complete CLE course work are not permitted.  Lawyers are encouraged to maintain enough hours through the carry-forward provision to plan for illness or other unforeseen circumstances.

49.    What happens if I file my CLE compliance report after March 1?

Answer:      
If you file your annual CLE compliance report after March 1, but no later than April 15, you will be assessed a late filing fee in addition to the $50 annual filing fee.  If this is your first late filing, you will be assessed a $75 late filing fee in addition to the $50 annual filing fee.  If you have filed late on a prior occasion, you will be assessed a $200 late filing fee in addition to the $50 annual filing fee.

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50.     If I am filing my CLE compliance report after the March 1 deadline, how do I know if my late fee should be $75 or $200?

 

Answer:  The fees due can be found on the front of your CLE compliance report in the box labeled “FEES.”


51.    What happens if I do not establish my CLE compliance with the Commission?

Answer:      
Pursuant to Rule 419(c) and (d), SCACR, Administrative Suspensions, if you have not timely filed your annual CLE compliance report by March 1, showing that you have satisfied the MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements and paid all fees, promptly after March 15, the Commission will notify you that you have failed to file a report of compliance and pay the annual filing fee, including payment of any penalty established by the Commission, and that you will be suspended if you do not file your report of compliance and pay the filing fee and any penalty by April 15.  Promptly after April 15, the Commission will forward a list of the attorneys who have failed to file CLE compliance reports and pay any required fee and penalty to the Clerk of the Supreme Court of South Carolina.  Those attorneys will be administratively suspended by order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina and must thereafter forward their certificates of admission or licenses to the Clerk of the Supreme Court of South Carolina.

52.    If I am suspended from the practice of law for non-compliance with CLE requirements, how can I get reinstated?

Answer:      
Pursuant to Rule 419, SCACR, Administrative Suspensions, you will be required to file a petition for reinstatement with the Supreme Court of South Carolina.  The petition for reinstatement must be accompanied by a written statement from the South Carolina Bar showing that the person has paid all license fees and penalties due to the South Carolina Bar and by a written statement from the Commission showing that the person is current on all continuing legal education requirements, including any fees and penalties.  The petition must be accompanied by a filing fee of $200 if the person has been suspended for two years or less, a filing fee of $400 if the person has been suspended more than two years, and a filing fee of $600 if the person has been suspended for more than four years.  A proof of service showing that a copy of the petition has been served on the Office of Disciplinary Counsel must be filed with the petition.  The Court may take such action as it deems appropriate on the petition for reinstatement, including, but not limited to, requiring the person to appear before the Court for a hearing, referring the petition to the Committee on Character and Fitness or referring the petition to the Commission on Lawyer Conduct for investigation and a recommendation as to the propriety of reinstatement.  The petition of any person who has been suspended for more than four years shall be referred to the Committee on Character and Fitness for a recommendation as to whether the person has the character and fitness to again engage in the practice of law in South Carolina.

For a person holding a limited certificate or licensed as a foreign legal consultant, any petition for reinstatement must be filed within ninety (90) days of the date of the suspension.  Otherwise, the expiration of the license based on the suspension under Rules 405, 414, 415 or 424, SCACR, shall be final.

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53.    I am an attorney licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Are there any special provisions that I need to know regarding satisfying my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements?

Answer:      
Yes. You can satisfy the MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements of both states by complying with the MCLE requirements in North Carolina.

In other words, if you are an active member in good standing of the North Carolina Bar, residing and practicing in North Carolina, you can satisfy your South Carolina 2020-2021 requirement by showing that you were in compliance for the 2020 North Carolina reporting year.  You must be in compliance in North Carolina by the South Carolina deadline of March 1.

To comply in South Carolina using your North Carolina compliance, you must do the following:

• Obtain a copy of your North Carolina report showing that you are in full compliance in North Carolina

• Attach your North Carolina report to your South Carolina compliance report

• Sign the South Carolina compliance report

• Mail these documents along with a $50 filing fee to the Commission so that they will be received no later than March 1

 

Of course, you are also able to establish compliance in in the same manner as a regular attorney in South Carolina, by attending and reporting sufficient accredited CLE courses to satisfy South Carolina CLE requirements.

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54.    I am an attorney licensed in both Georgia and South Carolina.  Are there any special provisions that I need to know regarding satisfying my MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH requirements?

Answer:      
Yes. You can satisfy the annual South Carolina MCLE and LEPR requirements by complying with the MCLE requirements in Georgia. 

In other words, if you are an active member in good standing of the Georgia Bar, residing and practicing in Georgia, you can satisfy your South Carolina 2020-2021 MCLE-LEPR requirements by showing that you were in compliance for the 2020 Georgia reporting year.  You must be in compliance in Georgia by the South Carolina deadline of March 1.  Additionally, effective May 1, 2019, at least once every two (2) annual reporting years, you must complete and report one (1) hour of instruction devoted exclusively to substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management and the legal profession (SA/MH).  To establish compliance with the
two-year South Carolina SA/MH requirement, you must provide to the Commission a copy of the agenda of the program which you report for SA/MH credit.  The course should be listed on the compliance report and include the date, course sponsor, course name, and the credit for the course.

To comply in South Carolina using your Georgia compliance you must do the following:

• Obtain a copy of your Georgia transcript (or a certificate from the Georgia Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency) showing that you are in full compliance in Georgia

• Attach your Georgia transcript (or certificate from the Georgia Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency) to your South Carolina CLE compliance report;

• Sign the South Carolina CLE compliance report

• Mail these documents along with a $50 filing fee to the Commission so that they will be received no later than March 1

 

Of course, you are also able to establish compliance in in the same manner as a regular attorney in South Carolina, by attending and reporting sufficient accredited CLE courses to satisfy South Carolina CLE requirements.

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55. I need copies of my past CLE compliance reports.  Where can I find them?

 

Answer:       To obtain copies of your previously filed CLE compliance reports (for the last ten CLE reporting years), you can access the Check MCLE Credits link on the Commission's website and enter your AIS Username and Password.  When you see the detail of your current MCLE information, you can print the reports by choosing the link for the desired reporting period.  Or, please call 803-799-5578 or email the Commission at commcle@bellsouth.net for further assistance.

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56. What is the fee to submit a Uniform Application for Approval of CLE activity to the Commission for MCLE-LEPR-SA/MH approval in South Carolina?

 

Answer:       Click here to access a list of the 2020 Accredited Sponsors in South Carolina.  Any CLE sponsor included in the list of the Commission’s Accredited Sponsors does not require an application fee to be submitted along with the Uniform Application for Approval and required attachments.

If an individual attorney attendee would like to submit an Uniform Application for Approval to have the Commission review and approve a course which is presented by a CLE sponsor that is not included on the Accredited Sponsor List, the application fee is $25.00 per course.  If a CLE sponsor of a course would like to submit an Uniform Application for Approval to have the Commission review and approve a course, and that sponsor is not an Accredited Sponsor, the application fee is $75.00 per course.  Please note that all alternatively delivered courses (online, on-demand, and teleconference courses) must be pre-approved by the Commission, before the course presentation, in order to obtain SC CLE accreditation.  Live, in-person courses can be approved after the course has been presented.


Physical address: 950 Taylor Street, Suite 120, Columbia, SC 29201

Mailing address: P.O. Box 2138, Columbia, SC 29202
Telephone: 803-799-5578; Fax: 803-799-5671; Email: commcle@bellsouth.net

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