1. How are "ethics" hours, as described in the MECLE system, applied to meet my CLE requirement under Maine Bar Rule 5?
CLE credit hours described in the MECLE system as "ethics" will first be applied to fulfill the annual one hour requirement for ethics or professional responsibility (E/P). Any "ethics" hours in excess of the annual required one hour for E/P will be applied toward the general annual requirement of eleven hours.
2. How are my CLE credit hours treated in a year in which I have only a prorated responsibility under Rule 5?
An attorney who is required to complete only a prorated number of CLE hours in a calendar year [Rule 5(a)(1)] may carry forward to the following year any hours completed in excess of the prorated amount. The hours carried forward from a prorated year may not exceed ten.
3. Must I have an ethics hour of credit in a year in which I have only a prorated responsibility for CLE hours under the Rule?
An attorney who is required to complete only a prorated number of CLE hours in a calendar year must complete at least one full hour of ethics or professional responsibility for that reporting period.
4. What if I earn more credit hours than are required for the year?
An attorney who completes more than 11 credits hours in a calendar year may carry forward up to 10 such additional hours to satisfy the requirement for the following year, provided that the professional responsibility requirement is satisfied for each year.
5. Should I keep a list or file of my CLE credits?
Every active lawyer should maintain records sufficient to establish compliance with the CLE requirement in the event of a dispute with the Board’s records. Please retain original documents for your records and submit only copies to the Board when required.
6. What are the reporting requirements for an attorney who is admitted in Maine but resides and practices in another jurisdiction?
Pursuant to Maine Bar Rule 5(a)(4), a non-resident attorney subject to this rule, who is a member of the bar of another jurisdiction which has a mandatory CLE requirement, satisfies the requirement of Rule 5(a)(1) if the attorney is in compliance with a CLE requirement established by court rule or statute in that jurisdiction. The attorney must certify their compliance with that state’s CLE requirement when completing their annual registration with the Board.
7. Who is exempt from Maine Bar Rule 5?
Attorneys in inactive status; full-time judges in state and federal jurisdictions; full-time teachers at a law school approved by the American Bar Association; members of the armed forces on the United States on active duty, unless they are practicing law in Maine; resident of another country unless they are practicing law in Maine; attorneys admitted for less than three months of a calendar year; elected members of the Legislative branch of government; Workers’ Compensation Hearing Officers; and attorneys who have practiced law 40 years or more, attained the age of 65, and are engaged in less than the full-time practice of law.
8. How are hardship or disability waivers treated?
Applications for hardship or disability waivers must be submitted annually for review and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Any request for a disability waiver must be accompanied by a doctor’s note.
9. What is “in-house” credit?
In-house credit refers to a seminar or program that has been approved for CLE credit that is presented exclusively to members of a particular law firm, section of government, etc. In-house credit is considered self-study credit, and is capped at 5.5 CLE hours annually.
10. How are CLE credits reported to the Board?
An accredited provider is required to notify the Board of your attendance within 30 days after the CLE activity has taken place. Courses taken from other than accredited providers (which must first be approved by the Board by submitting the CLE-Reg Form 1) can be reported by the provider or by the attorney with the submission to the Board of a properly executed Certificate of Attendance.
11. What if I want to attend a CLE activity and the provider has not applied for approval?
You may apply as an individual, using the Application for Accreditation of Continuing Legal Education Courses, to have the CLE activity approved.
12. How are CLE credit hours treated for watching videotaped replays of initially live accredited presentations?
Attendance at a course-sponsor’s broadcast of the videotape of an initially-live CLE program shall entitle the attendees to the same number of non-self-study CLE credits as the initial live presentation. Private use of audio or videotaped presentations shall entitle the viewer/listener to the same number of CLE credits as the initial live presentation, but those credits shall be self-study credits.
13. What is the Application for Accreditation of Continuing Legal Education Courses?
The Application for Accreditation of Continuing Legal Education Courses is the form used by providers to apply for continuing legal education credits. It can be used by both sponsors and individual attorneys. You may download the form at Application for Accreditation of Continuing Legal Education Courses.
14. Can I receive credit in Maine for a course I completed in another state?
Credit hours for courses or activities approved by another mandatory continuing legal education state and certified by that state’s CLE regulatory authority will be accepted for identical credit by the Board of Overseers of the Bar in Maine upon the Board’s receipt of evidence of such certification as issued by that state.
15. Can I receive credit for certain activities in which I participate with a bar association?
Structured educational activities presented as part of a meeting or “brown-bag lunch” offered by a state, county or municipal bar association will automatically be eligible for thirty minutes of CLE credit for each attorney who completes the session. The Board may grant additional credit upon receipt of a completed CLE-Reg Form 1 with attachments from the sponsoring entity. Total allowable credit for such activities shall not exceed three (3) CLE credit hours per attorney per reporting period.
16. Can I receive credit for writing law related articles?
The writing of law related articles for publication will not be automatically approved for CLE credit. Authors requesting such credit must submit a copy of the article after publication for evaluation by the Board to apply toward only the self-study portion of the attorney’s annual CLE obligation.
17. What is the fee charged to approve a course?
Approved Providers must submit a non-refundable $35 application fee at time of application. Non-approved Providers must submit a non-refundable $45 application fee at time of application. Course approval requests by individual attorneys for any non-approved course that charges a registration fee must include a non-refundable $45 application fee. There is no application fee for courses that do not charge a registration fee.
18. Are credits calculated on a fiscal or a calendar year?
Reporting is on a fiscal year for the previous calendar year. That means an attorney has until August 31 each year to earn and report credits for the prior calendar year, without penalty. This schedule was designed to make it easier for the attorney to receive and return the Annual Report Statement along with the registration statement and materials at the same time each year.