Bar Rules

Rule 8-104. Education Requirements and Exemptions.

State Bar Programs / Part VIII - Continuing Legal Education / CHAPTER 1 MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION / Rule 8-104. Education Requirements and Exemptions.

(A) Minimum Continuing Legal Education Requirement.

Each active member shall complete a minimum of twelve (12) hours of actual instruction in an approved continuing legal education activity during each year. If a member completes more than twelve (12) hours in a year, the excess credit may be carried forward and applied to the education requirement for the succeeding year only.

(B) Basic Legal Skills Requirement.

(1) Except as set out in subsections (a) and (b) below, any newly admitted active member admitted after June 30, 2005, must complete in the year of his or her admission or in the next calendar year the State Bar of Georgia Transition Into Law Practice Program, and such completion of the Transition Into Law Practice Program shall satisfy the mandatory continuing legal education requirements for such newly admitted active member for both the year of admission and the next succeeding year.

(a) Any newly admitted active member, who has practiced law in another United States jurisdiction other than Georgia for two or more years immediately prior to admission to practice in this state, may be exempted from completing the Transition Into Law Practice Program upon the submission, within three months of admission, of an affidavit to the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency. The affidavit shall provide the date or dates of admission in every other state in which the member is admitted to practice and a declaration that the newly admitted member has been actively engaged in the practice of law for two or more years immediately prior to admission in this state. Upon submission of a satisfactory affidavit, the newly admitted active member shall be required to complete the annual twelve hours of instruction in approved continuing legal education activity beginning at the start of the first full calendar year after the date of admission. Any newly admitted active member, who has practiced law in another United State jurisdiction other than Georgia for two or more years immediately prior to admission to practice in this state and who does not timely file the required affidavit, shall be required to complete the Transition Into Law Practice Program as set out above.
(b) Any newly admitted active member, who is a judicial law clerk or who begins a clerkship within three months of admission, shall not be subject to the requirement of completing the Transition Into Law Practice Program during the period of the judicial clerkship. Within thirty days of admission to the State Bar or within thirty days of the beginning of the clerkship if said clerkship begins within three months after admission, the member shall provide written notice to the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency of the date of entry into the clerkship position. Judicial law clerks are required to complete the annual twelve hours of regular instruction in approved continuing legal education courses beginning at the start of the first full calendar year after the date of admission. Within thirty days of the completion of the clerkship, the member shall provide written notice to the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency of the date of such completion. The member must complete, in the year the clerkship was concluded, or the next calendar year, the Georgia Transition Into Law Practice Program. Such completion of the Transition Into Law Practice Program shall satisfy the mandatory continuing legal education requirements for such member for both the year of completion of the clerkship and the next succeeding calendar year.

(2) Each active member, except those participating in the Georgia Transition Into Law Practice Program, shall complete a minimum of one (1) hour of continuing legal education during each year in the area of ethics. This hour is to be included in, and not in addition to, the twelve-hour (12) requirement. If a member completes more than one (1) hour in ethics during the calendar year, the excess ethics credit may be carried forward up to a maximum of two (2) hours and applied to the ethics requirement for succeeding years.

(3) Each active member, except those participating in the Georgia Transition Into Law Practice Program, shall complete a minimum of one (1) hour of continuing legal education during each year in an activity of any sponsor approved by the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism in the area of professionalism. This hour is to be included in, and not in addition to, the twelve-hour (12) requirement. If a member completes more than one (1) hour in professionalism during the calendar year, the excess professionalism credit may be carried forward up to a maximum of two (2) hours and applied to the professionalism requirement for succeeding years.

(4) Confidentiality of Proceedings.

(a) The confidentiality of all inquiries to, decisions of, and proceedings by the Transition Into Law Practice Program shall be respected.  No disclosure of said inquiries, decisions and proceedings shall be made in the absence of the agreement of all participating.

(b) Except as expressly permitted by these rules, no person connected with the Transitions Into law Practice Program operated under the auspices of the Standards of the Profession Committee of the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency shall disclose any information concerning or comments on any proceeding under these rules.

(c) The Transition Into Law Practice Program operated under the auspices of the Standards of the Profession Committee of the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency may reveal private records when require by law, court rule, or court order.

(d) Any records maintained by the Transition Into Law Practice Program operated under the auspices of the Standards of the Profession Committee of the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency, as provided herein, shall be available to Counsel for the State Bar only in the event the State Bar or any department thereof receives a discovery request or properly executed subpoena requesting such records.

Regulations

(1) Definitions.

(a) Newly Admitted Active Member. A "newly admitted active member" is one who becomes an active member of the State Bar of Georgia for the first time.

(b) Bridge-the-Gap. "Bridge-the-Gap" is a program organized and defined by ICLE. Currently, the Bridge-the-Gap program consists of two days of instruction: the first day being a seminar called Bridge-the-Gap and the second day being any other approved six hour seminar to be selected by each lawyer. This program will be replaced by the Transition Into Law Practice Program after October 1, 2005.
 
(c) Transition Into Law Practice Program. "Transition Into Law Practice Program" is a program organized and defined by the Standards of the Profession Committee of the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency. Currently, the Transition Into Law Practice Program consists of two components:
(i) Attendance at the Enhanced Bridge-the-Gap program, or the Fundamentals of Law Practice program of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, or a comparable program approved by the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency; and
(ii) Completion of a Mentoring Plan of Activities and Experiences.
(d) Enhanced Bridge-the-Gap. "Enhanced Bridge-the-Gap," is the continuing legal education program of the Transition Into Law Practice Program that is delivered by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in large group settings. Enhanced Bridge-the-Gap consists of two consecutive days of course work that inform and facilitate further discussion in the mentoring context.
 
(e) Fundamentals of Law Practice. "Fundamentals of Law Practice" is the continuing legal education program of the Transition Into Law Practice Program that is delivered by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in small group settings to foster close interaction between newly admitted active lawyers and instructors. Fundamentals of Law Practice consists of two consecutive days of course work that inform and facilitate further discussion in the mentoring context.
 
(f) Mentoring Plan of Activities and Experiences. The "Mentoring Plan of Activities and Experiences" is the plan that structures and guides the mentoring component of the Transition Into Law Practice Program. The Plan shall be submitted to the Program in the year of admission or early in the next calendar year by the newly admitted active member and his or her mentor. The Plan must be completed in the year of admission or the next calendar year.


(2) Transition Application. Except as set out in Sections (B)(1)(a) and (B)(1)(b) above, the Transition Into Law Practice Program shall be required of all newly admitted active members admitted after June 30, 2005. The ICLE Bridge-the-Gap program shall be required of all newly admitted active members who are admitted prior to July 1, 2005.

(3) Legal Ethics. Legal ethics includes instruction on professional responsibility and malpractice. It does not include such topics as attorney fees, client development, law office economics, and practice systems except to the extent that professional responsibility is directly discussed in connection with these topics.

(4) Professionalism. The professionalism CLE requirement is distinct from, and in addition to, the ethics CLE requirement. The one-hour professionalism requirement is satisfied only by attending an activity of any sponsor approved by the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism in the area of professionalism. Legal ethics sets forth the minimal standards of professional conduct required of a lawyer; professionalism encompasses what is more broadly expected of lawyers to serve both client and public good. Professionalism refers to the intersecting values of competence, civility, integrity, and commitment to the rule of law, justice, and the public good. The general goal of the professionalism CLE requirement is to create a forum in which lawyers, judges, and legal educators can explore and reflect upon the meaning and goals of professionalism in contemporary legal practice. The professionalism CLE sessions should encourage lawyers toward conduct that preserves and strengthens the dignity, honor, and integrity of the legal profession. Professionalism CLE includes, but is not limited to, courses on (a) the duties of lawyers to the systems of justice, courts, public, clients, other lawyers, and the profession, (b) the roles of lawyers as advocates, counselors, negotiators, problem solvers, and consensus builders, (c) various forms of dispute resolution, (d) pro bono service, (e) the concept of a profession, (f) history of the legal profession, (g) comparison of the legal profession in different nations' systems of advocacy, and (h) jurisprudence or philosophy of law.

(5) Deadlines. The normal MCLE deadlines (December 31 and approved deficiency plan extensions) are applicable to the Transition Into Law Practice Program.

(6) Appointment of Mentors; Minimum Qualifications.

    (a) Appointment of Mentors. The Supreme Court of Georgia has the sole authority to appoint Mentors.

    (b) Nomination of Mentors. The Standards of the Profession Committee may nominate individuals satisfying the Minimum Qualifications to the Supreme Court of Georgia for appointment consideration; provided however, that the Supreme Court of Georgia retains the authority to appoint Mentors upon its own recommendation and/or motion.

    (c) Minimum Qualifications for Mentors. A volunteer shall meet the following Minimum Qualifications to be eligible for nomination to the Supreme Court of Georgia for appointment as Mentor:

            (i) Active Status.  Be an active member of the State Bar of Georgia, in good standing; and,

           (ii) 5 Years of Practice.  Have been admitted to the practice law for not less than five (5) years; and,

           (iii) Professional Reputation.  Maintain a professional reputation in his or her local legal community for competence, ethical and professional conduct; and,

           (iv) Disciplinary Action.  Never have received the sanction of disbarment or suspension from the practice of law in any jurisdiction, nor have voluntarily surrendered his or her license to practice law for the purpose of disposing with a pending disciplinary proceeding in any jurisdiction.  During the ten (10) years preceding the nomination as mentor, the prospective mentor shall not have been otherwise sanctioned by the pertinent entity governing the admission and practice of law in any jurisdiction. The term "sanctioned" means subjected to disciplinary action.  (For example, in Georgia, "sanctioned" currently means any of the levels of discipline whether public or confidential listed in State Bar of Georgia Rule 4-102(b) (i.e., Disbarment; Suspension; Public Reprimand; Review Panel Reprimand; Investigative Panel Reprimand; Formal Admonition); Rule 8-107 (C) (i.e., Administrative Suspension for deficiency in continuing legal education hours); or State Bar Bylaws Article I, Section 4, Item 2 (i.e., Failure to Register with State Bar of Georgia within one year upon eligibility)). Nominations of individuals having formal complaint (s) pending before the Supreme Court of Georgia will be deferred until the final disposition of the formal complaint (s); and,

           (v) Court-ordered Disciplinary Action.  During the ten (10) years preceding the nomination as mentor, the prospective mentor shall not have been the subject of a written order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction that prohibits or otherwise limits the prospective mentor from practicing before that court or class of courts.  A directive, request or order by a judge of a court requesting or directing that an attorney employed by an agency of government or a legal aid organization who is assigned to handle cases before that judge be transferred or reassigned to other duties or another courtroom does not constitute court-ordered disciplinary action under this part.  A prospective mentor who is or has within the preceding ten (10) years been the subject of such a written order may petition the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency (the "Commission") for a waiver of this requirement.  After review of the facts and circumstances which led to the entry of such order, the Commission may, upon good cause shown, grant such waiver if the prospective mentor is otherwise qualified to be a mentor; and

           (vi) Professional Liability Insurance or Equivalent. Be covered under a professional liability insurance policy with minimum limits of $250,000.00/$500,000.00, or, if applicable, the equivalent to such coverage through the legal status of his or her employer.

(7) Status. While CLE and TILPP mentoring activities may be completed while on inactive status, TILPP completion certification will be issued only after a member changes to active status.

(C) Exemptions.
 

(1) An inactive member shall be exempt from the continuing legal education and the reporting requirements of this Rule.

(2) The Commission may exempt an active member from the continuing legal education, but not the reporting, requirements of this rule for a period of not more than one (1) year upon a finding by the Commission of special circumstances unique to that member constituting undue hardship.

(3) Any active member over the age of seventy (70) shall be exempt from the continuing legal education requirements of this rule, including the reporting requirements, unless the member notifies the Commission in writing that the member wishes to continue to be covered by the continuing legal education requirements of this rule.

(4) Any active member residing outside of Georgia who neither practices in Georgia nor represents Georgia clients shall be exempt, upon written application to the Commission, from the continuing legal education, but not the reporting, requirements of this rule during the year for which the written application is made. This application shall be filed with the annual report.

(5) Any active member of the Board of Bar Examiners shall be exempt from the continuing legal education but not the reporting requirement of this Rule.

 

Regulations

(1) Inactive. To be fully exempt, the member must be inactive during the entire year. An active attorney who changes to inactive status is not exempt during the year in which the status change occurs. An inactive attorney who changes to active status must comply with the full 12 CLE hour requirement.

(2) Undue Hardship. Requests for undue hardship exemptions on physical disability or other grounds may be granted. The CCLC shall review and approve or disapprove such requests on an individual basis.

(D) Requirements for Participation in Litigation.

(1) Prior to appearing as sole or lead counsel in the Superior or State Courts of Georgia in any contested civil case or in the trial of a criminal case, any participant in the Transition Into Law Practice Program admitted to practice after June 30, 2005, shall complete the mandatory Advocacy Experiences of the Transition Into Law Practice Program set forth in Regulation (5) hereunder. The mandatory Advocacy Experiences shall be completed as part of the Mentoring Plan of Activities and Experiences, except that up to three (3) of the five (5) mandatory Advocacy Experiences may be obtained after completion of 60% of the credit hours required for law school graduation and prior to admission to practice. At least two (2) of the mandatory Advocacy Experiences must be completed as part of the Mentoring Plan of Activities and Experiences.

(2) Each active member who appears as sole or lead counsel in the Superior or State Courts of Georgia in any contested civil case or in the trial of a criminal case in 1990 or in any subsequent calendar year, shall complete for such year a minimum of three (3) hours of continuing legal education activity in the area of trial practice. A trial practice CLE activity is one exclusively limited to one or more of the following subjects: evidence, civil practice and procedure, criminal practice and procedure, ethics and professionalism in litigation, or trial advocacy. These hours are to be included in, and not in addition to, the 12-hour (twelve) requirement. If a member completes more than three (3) trial practice hours, the excess trial practice credit may be carried forward and applied to the trial practice requirement for the succeeding year only.


Regulations

Trial MCLE

(1)  Lead Counsel is defined as the attorney who has primary responsibility for making all professional decisions in the handling of the case.

(2) The trial MCLE rule applies to all members who appear as sole or lead counsel in the Superior or State Courts of Georgia in any contested civil case or in the trial of a criminal case. As a segment of the 12-hour (twelve) total MCLE requirement, the MCLE exemptions are applicable to the trial MCLE rule. Likewise, the normal MCLE deadlines (December 31st and approved deficiency plan extensions) are applicable to the trial MCLE rule.


(3) Due to the "exclusively limited" requirement, trial CLE must be (a) clearly segregated and identified (b) a minimum of one (1) hour in length, and (c) limited to one or more of the five (5) listed subjects in order to receive trial CLE credit. The "exclusively limited" requirement does not prohibit credit for a seminar that deals with one or more of the subjects stated in the Rule in the context of a particular field of trial practice, such as medical malpractice, personal injury defense, criminal cases, construction law, etc.

(4) MCLE transcripts will reflect trial CLE in addition to ethics and total CLE. However, the certification of compliance is made by the members when they make the court appearance described in the Rules. The sanctions for false certification or other non-compliance lie with the Court in which the lawyer appeared and with the State Disciplinary Board of the State Bar of Georgia. If the Commission receives allegations or evidence of a false certification or other non-compliance, a report thereof shall be forwarded to the State Disciplinary Board for any action it deems necessary.

(5) For participants in the Transition Into Law Practice Program who wish to appear as sole or lead counsel in the Superior or State Courts of Georgia in any contested civil case or in the trial of a criminal case, the mentors and beginning lawyers shall devise five (5) mandatory Advocacy Experiences tailored to the practices of the beginning lawyers.  The following are examples:

i. An actual or simulated deposition of a witness or adverse party in a civil action;
ii. An actual or simulated jury trial in a civil or criminal case in either a state or federal court;
iii. An actual or simulated nonjury trial or evidentiary hearing in a state or federal court;
iv. An actual or webcast of an appellate argument in the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Court of Appeals of Georgia, or a United States Circuit Court of Appeals; and
v. An actual or simulated mediation.

Other advocacy experiences may be selected by Mentors to comply with Rule 8-104(D).



GO TO Rule 8-103. Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency.
GO TO Rule 8-105. Annual Report.
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