Continuing Legal Education Policies
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CLE Policies

This is the basic information on what types of courses receive credit and what other activities are eligible for Continuing Legal Education credit.

Section 1

Policy 1.1
  • Courses Must be Primarily Related to the Practice of Law
    To receive general CLE credit, courses must be primarily related to the practice of law or pre-suppose that the participants have either law school education or a substantial degree of exposure to and familiarity with the substantive body of law being examined.

Policy 1.2
  • Moot Court Competition.
    CLE credit is not granted for service as a moot court judge.
Policy 1.3
  • Committee Work
    General CLE credit is not granted for committee work, but individuals may claim self-study credit.
Policy 1.4
  • Bar Review Courses.
    General CLE credit is granted for bar review courses.
Policy 1.5
  • Teaching Credit in General.
    Attorneys may claim up to 5 hours of preparation time for every one hour of lecture time for presentations made to lawyers, but may not claim credit for teaching the same course more than once.
Policy 1.6
  • Teaching Law School Courses.
    Faculty at an ABA approved law school may receive up to 5 hours of credit for each semester hour taught, not to exceed 30 hours in any given reporting period
Policy 1.7
  • Teaching Undergraduate Courses.
    CLE credit will not be granted for teaching undergraduate courses.
Policy 1.8
  • Teaching at Other Seminars.
    CLE credit will be approved for teaching at seminars, if the attorney could receive general CLE credit for attending the session. If not, no self-study or UCE credit will be allowed for preparation time.
Policy 1.9
  • Uniquely Connected Exception.
    A course, which is not primarily related to the practice of law or to a substantive body of law, may be approved for limited CLE credit if the lawyer seeking credit shows that the course is uniquely connected to the applicant's practice and will increase the lawyer's knowledge, skill and ability in the practice of law. Individuals may not, however, claim more than 20 hours of UCE credit in any reporting period. Sponsor applications will not be approved for UCE credit; only individual attorney applications may receive UCE credit.
Policy 1.10
  • Legislative Service.
    General CLE credit will not be approved for service as a legislator, but legislators may claim 15 hours of self-study for research on legislation.
Policy 1.11
  • In-House Sessions.
    General CLE credit may be granted if the material presented would otherwise qualify for CLE credit if presented to the general bar membership, and a) outside speakers are used to present information, or b) the session is advertised and open to the general bar membership.
Policy 1.12
  • Credit for Graduate Advance Degree Course Work: CLE credit will be given for time spent in class pursuing an LLM or other post-JD law degree at an ABA approved law school. One CLE credit hour will be allowed for each full contact class hour.
Policy 1.13
  • Courses on Law Office Management and Related Topics.
    Courses dealing with law office management issues, including computer technology are approvable.
Policy 1.14
  • Out-of-State Courses.
    Courses sponsored by state bar associations are presumptively approved, as are courses approved by a CLE body of a state with mandatory CLE. Courses focusing on laws in other jurisdictions are generally approvable.
Policy 1.15
  • Self-Study.
    Individuals may claim no more than 15 hours of credit by self-study during a reporting period. The Commission will not pre-approve self-study materials.
Policy 1.16
  • Law Review and Other Legal Publications.
    Individuals may receive 15 hours of credit for authorship of law review articles or other scholarly legal publications including books, magazine articles, etc., providing the attorney verifies that 15 hours was actually spent writing the publication.
Policy 1.17
  • Arbitration/Mediation Seminars.
    Arbitration and mediation seminars which include attorneys on the teaching staff and which are primarily directed to attorneys may receive general CLE credit.
Policy 1.18
  • Accounting Seminars.
    Sponsor applications for accounting seminars should be denied, but individual attorneys may apply for UCE credit.
Policy 1.19
  • Pro Bono Work.
    An attorney may receive credit, upon application to the Commission, for performing uncompensated legal services for clients unable to afford counsel, provided: The services are performed under the auspices of a legal assistance program approved by the Commission, such as Legal Services of North Dakota, or SBAND’s pro bono program. Credit may be earned at the rate of 1.0 hour of CLE credit for every 6.0 hours of uncompensated legal services performed. An attorney may receive no more than 3.0 CLE credit hours under this policy in any one year of the attorney’s reporting period. Credit may also be earned at the same rate, and subject to the same limit for service as an uncompensated mentor attorney to an attorney providing uncompensated legal services under the auspices of an approved legal assistance program.
Policy 1.19

On-Line Computer Study.
To be approved for general CLE credit, an on-line computer seminar must: a) Meet the standards set forth in section 1(a)(1) - (4) of the Guidelines for Approved Course Work; b) Faculty must be on-line when making the presentation(s); and c) The seminar must provide an interactive mechanism for attendees to ask and have questions answered by the seminar's faculty. Seminars utilizing videodisc, video on demand or review of an on-line program after the seminar date may qualify for self-study credit, but not general CLE credit.


Policy 1.21

Mentorship Program.

 Eligible participants who fulfill the requirements of the Mentorship Program (the “Program”) of the State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND) will be approved for general CLE credit.  An attorney is eligible to participate as a mentee in the Program if the attorney has been licensed in North Dakota for five years or less.  An attorney is eligible to participate as a mentor in the Program if the attorney has been licensed for five years or more and is currently licensed in North Dakota.

  • A mentor and mentee must jointly present written notice to SBAND of their intent to participate in the Program.  A form for doing so, and all other Program materials, can be found on SBAND’s website. The mentor and mentee pair must complete the Program within one year of submitting written notice to SBAND.  Upon completion of the Program, the mentor and mentee pair must submit to SBAND the Activity sheets from the Mentoring Plan, signed by the mentor and stating the amount of time spent on each completed activity.  The maximum amount of credit that will be approved for participation in the Program is 15 hours per mentor and mentee in any CLE reporting period.

Section 2

General Policies

Policy 2.1
  • Proof of Attendance.
    In general, proof of attendance at a seminar is not required unless obvious inaccuracies appear.
Policy 2.2
  • Waiver of CLE Requirements.
    CLE requirements will not be waived for attorneys over the age of 62.
Policy 2.3
  • Inactive Status.
    Attorneys who plan to retire from the practice of law or who plan to leave the state may apply for inactive status.

Section 3

Calculation of Credit Hours

Policy 3.1
  • Appropriate Information for Determining Credit.
    Applications for credit must be accompanied by a brochure or other document which provides adequate information about the seminar; Newspaper clippings are not sufficient.
Policy 3.2
  • Allocation of Credit for Breaks, Introductory Remarks, Etc.
    No credit will be given for coffee breaks, introductory remarks, keynote speeches, and business meetings. If the brochure does not indicate breaks, credits should be permitted as indicated in the program without assuming breaks.
Policy 3.3
  • Calculation When Different Hours Approved.
    Simple majority method is used to determine whether the course is approved or denied. When a course receives different hours, the approvable number will be determined by the highest number of hours approved by the simple majority of Commission members voting.
Policy 3.4
  • Partial Credit.
    When partial credit for a course is given, the number of hours should be noted on the application form.
Policy 3.5
  • Hours Calculated to Nearest Quarter Hour.
    Credit hours will be rounded to the nearest quarter hour.

Section 4

Reporting Periods

Policy 4.1
  • Beginning of Reporting Periods.
    The initial reporting period will commence the July 1st following the date of relicensure or initial licensure. New admittees may carry-over credits earned from courses taken after August 1 of the year of their admission. Attorneys admitted by motion or relicenure will not receive credit for courses taken prior to becoming licensed.
Policy 4.2
  • Modification of Reporting Period.
    Reporting periods may be changed to correspond with reporting periods in other states, but the attorneys requesting the change must move their ND reporting period back one or two years.
Policy 4.3
  • Exemptions from Filing.
    Judges, including federal judges, full-time magistrate judges and federal administrative law judges (ALJs) are exempt from filing under the rules.
Policy 4.4
  • Carry-Over Credits.
    Members receiving credit hours in excess of the 45 hour minimum taken during the three year reporting period may carry forward a maximum of 15 hours to the next reporting period.  No ethics hours may be carried forward.  

Section 5

Internal Procedures

Policy 5.1
  • Beginning of Reporting Periods.
    The initial reporting period will commence the July 1st following the date of relicensure or initial licensure. New admittees may carry-over credits earned from courses taken after August 1 of the year of their admission. Attorneys admitted by motion or relicenure will not receive credit for courses taken prior to becoming licensed.
Policy 5.2
  • Reviewing Commissioner Duties.
    Commissioners will rotate as reviewing commissioner, serving for a period of 60days.
Policy 5.3
  • Admission by Motion Review.
    Chair is responsible for reviewing course work submitted as a part of an application for admission by motion.
Policy 5.4
  • Reconsideration.
    Requests for reconsideration of a Commission decision will be circulated to the entire Commission for review.
Policy 5.5
  • Reports of Compliance.
    Staff should attempt to mail the Report of Compliance, with the guidelines printed on back, in May.
Policy 5.6
  • Ethics Requirement.
    All attorneys must certify that 3 of the 45-hours required every 3 years are in the area of professional responsibility or ethics.
Policy 5.7
  • 60-Day Notice.
    Attorneys who fail to file acceptable Reports of Compliance will receive a notice stating that they have 60-days to comply with the CLE rules or risk suspension of their license to practice law.
Policy 5.8
  • Extensions for Filing.
    Except in extraordinary circumstances, requests for extension of time are reviewed at the end of the 60-day period by the Commission. In extraordinary situations, the S/T may poll the Commission to determine whether a request for extension may be granted/denied before the 60-day meeting or suspension meeting.
Policy 5.9
  • Findings of Non-compliance and Orders of Suspension.
    Attorneys who fail to file a Report of Compliance without receiving an extension of time for filing will receive an order of suspension. The order of suspension will include a notice requirement consistent with Rule 6.3 of the North Dakota Rules of Lawyer Discipline.
Policy 5.10
  • Open Records.
    An attorney's file is not open for review by a third party unless the third party subpoenas the file.
Policy 5.11
  • Records Retention.
    Reports of Compliance and related documents will be held until attorney's next reporting date at which time information will be entered into the database and the records will be purged. Course material will be purged after 4 years.

Section 6

Hearing Procedures

Policy 6.1
  • Formal Procedures.
    Procedures for formal hearings as outlined in Appendix F were adopted.
Policy 6.2
  • Waiver of Formal Hearing.
    A formal hearing may be waived at the request of the aggrieved attorney

Section 7

Accredited Sponsor

Policy 7.1
  • Approval Procedures.
    Groups within the presumptively approved category will receive prospective approval of courses unless a reason exists to deny a particular course. Other organizations will receive retrospective approval if the approval criteria are met.
Policy 7.2
  • Sponsor Fees.
    A sponsor’s fee of $45 per application will be charged (effective Nov. 2007).
Policy 7.3
  • Presumptively Approved Sponsors.
    Sponsors listed in Rule 6 of the North Dakota Rules for Continuing Legal Education are considered presumptively approved.
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