Bar Rules

Rule 8-106. Hours and Accreditation.

State Bar Programs / Part VIII - Continuing Legal Education / CHAPTER 1 MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION / Rule 8-106. Hours and Accreditation.

(A) Hours. The Commission shall designate the number of hours to be earned by participation, including, but not limited to, teaching in continuing legal education activities approved by the Commission.

Regulations

(1) Computation Formula. CLE and ethics hours shall be computed by the following formula:
 

Sum of total minutes
 of actual instruction
60
= total hours (round to the
   nearest 1/10th of an hour)

(2) Actual Instruction. Only legal education shall be included in computing the total hours of actual instruction. The following shall not be included: (a) introductory remarks, (b) breaks, (c) business meetings, (d) questions and answer sessions at a ratio in excess of 10 minutes per CLE hour, (e) programs of less than 60 minutes in length.

(3) Teaching. For their contribution to the legal profession, attorneys may earn credit for non-paid teaching in an approved continuing legal education activity. Presentations accompanied by thorough, high quality, readable, and carefully prepared written materials will qualify for CLE credit on the basis of three (3) credits for each hour of presentation. Repeat presentations qualify for one-half of the credits available for the initial presentation. A speaker may elect to split the teaching credit with another attorney who, under the speaker's supervision, prepares the written materials. If the intended speaker prepares the written materials and cannot speak due to health problems, emergency or required court appearance, the teaching credit will be split between the speaker and the substituted speaker at the request of either. Should neither make such request, the credit will be given to the actual speaker.

(4) Author. The CCLC may award up to a maximum of (6) hours of CLE credit for the authoring of legal articles upon the written certification by the attorney to the CCLC of (a) the amount of time expended in researching and writing the article and (b) the submission of a copy thereof to the CCLC for review, provided that (1) the article or treatise's content and quality are consistent with the purposes of CLE, (2) it is published in a recognized publication which is primarily directed at lawyers, and (3) the project was not done in the ordinary course of the practice of law, the performance of judicial duties, or other regular employment. If co-authors are involved, the credit may be divided on the basis of each attorney's contribution. An attorney requesting author credit shall pay the normal attendee fee.

(5) Organizer. The chairperson who organizes an approved CLE activity and who does not make a formal oral presentation therein shall qualify for CLE credit as if he or she had made a one hour presentation. If co-chairpersons are involved, the credit shall be divided on the basis of each attorneys' contribution. An attorney requesting this type of credit should pay, or arrange for the sponsor to pay, the normal attendee fee.

(6) Mental Health. Mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, substance abuse, depression and suicide, materially affect lawyers’ competency to practice law and their lives. CLE credit as required under Rule 8-104 (A) is available for seminars on these and similar quality of life topics. In addition, professionalism CLE credit is available when these topics are presented in a professionalism program approved by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.

(7) Trial Observation. Every trial encompasses many aspects of the practice of law that are consistently taught in both law school and continuing legal education seminars. Observing how this education is applied into actual practice in the form of a current trial is, in and of itself, very educational. Its importance in achieving competency as a lawyer cannot be emphasized enough. To encourage this, CLE credit for observing trials is available under the following guidelines

a. Jury trials, bench trials, motion hearings and appellate court arguments in any Federal or State court are eligible.  Administrative hearings, trials and probate court, and mediations/arbitrations are also eligible.

b. Proceedings in magistrate court and pro se matters are not eligible.

c.  Credit is not available for trials in which the member takes an active role in the trial or any phase thereof.

d. The credit shall be treated as In-House and subject to the limitations of Regulation 5e under Rule 8-106 (B).

e. The credit is not eligible for ethics or professionalism CLE.

f. The credit is self-reported to the CCLC and must include:

  • member's name and bar number

  • the name of the court, parties, date of trial and type of trial

  • the credit applicable (actual time rounded to nearest tenth of an hour)

  • the administrative fee required by Rule 8-103(C)(2) (currently $5 per credit hour)

(8) Active Non-Resident. Active non-Georgia members residing in other mandatory CLE states may satisfy all Georgia requirements by (1) meeting the CLE requirements of the resident state, (2) so reporting annually on their Georgia MCLE affidavit, and (3) paying the Georgia CLE, professionalism, and late fees normally paid by active members residing in Georgia.

(B) Accreditation Standards: The Commission shall approve continuing legal education activities consistent with the following standards: 

(1) They shall have significant intellectual or practical content, and the primary objective shall be to increase the participant's professional competence as a lawyer;

(2) They shall constitute an organized program of learning dealing with matters directly related to the practice of law, professional responsibility or ethical obligations of lawyers;

(3) Credit may be given for continuing legal education activities where (a) live instruction is used or (b) mechanically or electronically recorded or reproduced material is used if a qualified instructor is available to comment and answer questions;

(4) Continuing legal education materials are to be prepared, and activities conducted, by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience in a setting physically suitable to the educational activity of the program;

(5) Thorough, high quality, and carefully prepared written materials should be distributed to all attendees at or before the time the course is presented. It is recognized that written materials are not suitable or readily available for some types of subjects; the absence of written materials for distribution, should, however, be the exception and not the rule;

(6) The Commission may issue from time to time a list of approved accredited sponsors deemed by it to meet the requirements set forth in this Rule. Any other sponsor desiring to be approved for accredited sponsor status must file an application with the Commission with such program material and information as the Commission may require;

(7) Any accredited sponsor must keep and maintain attendance records of each continuing legal education program sponsored by it, which shall be furnished to the Commission upon its request.

Regulations

(1) Continuing Legal Education. The CCLC shall determine those matters which directly relate to the practice of law so as to be eligible for CLE credit. They shall constitute an organized program of learning dealing with matters directly related to the practice of law, professional responsibility, or ethical obligations of lawyers.

(2) Law School Courses. Courses offered by an ABA accredited law school shall receive credit on the basis of one-half (1/2) hour of CLE credit for each 60 minutes of actual instruction. No more than twenty-four (24) CLE hours in any calendar year may be earned by law school courses. Success on an examination is not required for credit and the course may be attended on an audit (not for academic credit) basis. No credit is available for law school courses attended prior to becoming an active member of the State Bar of Georgia. Law courses in schools other than law schools will not qualify.

(3) Bar Review/Refresher Course. Courses designed to review or refresh recent law school graduates or other attorneys in preparation for any bar exam shall not be approved for CLE credit.

(4) Approval. CLE activities may be approved upon the written application of sponsors on an individual program basis, sponsors on an accredited sponsor basis, or attorneys on an individual program basis. In addition, the CCLC may approve both CLE activities and accredited sponsors on its own motion, on either an individual program or accredited sponsor basis. All applications for CLE course approval shall:

a. Be submitted at least thirty (30) days, and preferably longer, in advance of the course, although the CCLC may grant retroactive approval;

b. Be submitted on forms furnished by the CCLC;

c. Contain all information requested on the form;

d. Be accompanied by a course outline or brochure that describes the course content, identifies the teachers, lists the time devoted to each topic, and shows each date and location at which the program will be offered;

e. Include a detailed calculation of the total CLE hours and of the ethics hours.

In addition to the foregoing, sponsors shall within thirty (30) days after the course is concluded:

a. Furnish to the CCLC a list in alphabetical order of the name and State Bar number of each Georgia attendee;

b. Remit to the CCLC the appropriate sponsor fee. Sponsors who have advance approval for courses may include in their brochures or other course descriptions the information contained in the following illustration:

This course (or seminar, etc.) has been approved by the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency of the State Bar of Georgia for mandatory continuing legal education credit in the amount of _____hours, of which ______hours will also apply in the area of ethics. The reporting of your attendance at this course will be done for you by (name of sponsor). To assure proper credit, please be sure to furnish us with your correct Georgia Bar number. (If applicable: The administrative fee for this course will be paid for you by (name of sponsor) directly to the Commission.)

Sponsors not having advance approval shall make no representation concerning the approval of a course for CLE credit by the CCLC.

The CCLC will mail a notice of its decision on all CLE activity approval requests within ninety days of their receipt. Approval thereof will be deemed if the notice is not timely mailed. This automatic approval will not operate if the sponsor contributes to the delay by failing to provide the complete information requested by the CCLC, or if the CCLC timely notifies the sponsor that the matter has been tabled and the reason therefore.

(5) Approval of Accredited Sponsors. CCLC may, at its sole discretion, approve the accredited sponsors. Accredited sponsors shall

a. Complete such application as the CCLC requires;

b. Comply with all the CLE rules and regulations, including any amendments thereto;

c. Upon request by the CCLC, submit, on forms to be furnished by the CCLC, all future CLE activities for confirmation of the approved total number of CLE hours, ethics hours, trial hours and professionalism hours

d. Conduct all CLE activities substantially as advertised and represented to the CCLC;

e. Furnish to the CCLC, within 30 days after each CLE activity, the following:

i. A list of the name and State Bar membership number of each Georgia attendee; and

ii. The required sponsor fee for the CLE activity;

f. All in-person observation of all CLE activities by the Justices of the Supreme Court, officers of the State Bar of Georgia, members of the Overview Committee, members of the CCLC and the CCLC staff;

g. Comply with any and all requirements or representations which may be contained in any form required by the CCLC for the confirmation of the number of approved hours, and

h. Submit such other forms as the CCLC may from time to time require, and reply to any and all inquiries from the CCLC.

(6) Restrictions on Accredited Sponsors. Accredited sponsors shall not use any name which may cause confusion with the State Bar or any of its entities or with the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency, or with ICLE in Georgia. At the sole discretion of the CCLC, an accredited sponsor may be required to place a disclaimer upon any communication with members of the State Bar which disclaims the accredited sponsor from any connection with the State Bar or CCLC. Such disclaimer, if required, shall be approved by the CCLC. An accredited sponsor shall not link to any web page on the State Bar of Georgia without the written approval of the State Bar of Georgia and subject to any requirements and restriction that may be placed upon such approval.

(7) Revocation of Accredited Sponsor Status. The CCLC may, with or without cause, at its sole discretion, revoke the accredited sponsor status of any CLE provider.

(8) In-House/Self-Study CLE. The Commission recognizes that law firms, corporate legal departments and similar entities, either alone or in conjunction with each other, will develop and present In-House continuing legal education activities to assist their member attorneys in maintaining their professional competence. The Commission further recognizes that these In-House CLE activities often are designed to address matters most relevant to a firm's own attorneys. However, it is also educational and beneficial for attorneys to meet and learn from colleagues who practice in other firms, corporate legal departments, or similar entities including sole practitioners.

The Commission recognizes that active member attorneys on an individual basis may participate in distance learning CLE activities, which constitutes Self-Study.

These In-House/Self-Study CLE activities may be approved for credit under these Rules and Regulations plus the following additional conditions:
 

a. All In-House/Self-Study CLE activities shall be designed specifically as an organized program of learning.

b. All In-House/Self-Study CLE activities must be open to observation by members of the CCLC and its staff;

c. Experienced attorneys must substantially contribute to the development and presentation of all In-House/Self-Study CLE activities;

d. In-House/Self-Study CLE activities must be scheduled at a time and location so as to be free of interruptions from telephone calls and other office matters.

e. Up to six (6) CLE hours may be earned by an attorney in a calendar year through any combination of approved In-House/Self-Study activities. In addition, up to six hours of In-House/Self-Study credit may be carried forward and applied to In-House/Self-Study CLE for the next calendar year or carried back to the previous year to satisfy a CLE deficiency as long as the In-House/Self-Study limit for that year has not been met. While In-House credits count toward this six (6) CLE hour annual limit for all members of the sponsoring law firm or legal department, non-member attorneys who attend those In-House CLE programs will receive regular credit that does not count toward the six (6) CLE hour annual limit. For example, if a law firm conducts a seminar attended both by its partners or associates and by in-house counsel of its corporate client or other invited attorney guests, these credits would count toward the six (6) hour limit for the firm's partners and associates, but not for the non-member guests.

(9) Facilities. Sponsors ordinarily must provide a facility with adequate lighting, temperature controlled ventilation, and a designated non-smoking area. For a non-clinical CLE activity, the facility should be set up in classroom or similar style to provide a writing surface for each pre-registered attendee, to provide a minimum of two linear feet of table space per chair, and should provide sufficient space behind the chairs in each row to permit easy access and exit to each seat. Crowding in the facility detracts from the learning process and will not be permitted.

(10) Written Materials. Qualifying written materials shall specifically address each of the topics of the seminar. These materials must be prepared by the speaker (or someone acting under his or her direct supervision) and shall be distributed to all attendees at or before the time the seminar is held. There are essentially three rationales for these requirements. First, they ensure speaker organization and preparation. Second, they alleviate the need for attendees to take notes and allow them to concentrate on the oral presentations. Finally, they provide a valuable reference tool for the attendees after they leave the seminar.

Examples of written materials which alone would not qualify include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) topical outlines; (2) topical outlines with case citations; (3) copies of statutes or cases; (4) copies of leases, contracts, wills and other legal instruments (unless accompanied by qualifying explanatory text); (5) hornbooks (unless speaker prepared and on point); (6) casebooks; (7) subsequently prepared transcripts.

The quality of oral presentations and the overall educational value of the seminar will not excuse the written materials accreditation requirement.

It is recognized that on rare occasions, or for unique topics, preparation of written materials may not be possible or appropriate. Thus, for example, where the particular law which is the topic of a seminar changes dramatically immediately before the seminar is given, the prepared materials may be rendered obsolete. Likewise, written materials may not always be suitable for a clinical program on oral advocacy. In these exceptional circumstances, the requirements of this regulation may not apply. If there is any question as to whether written materials are required for a given topic, the sponsor is advised to contact the Commission in advance of the seminar.

(11) Sponsor Records. In addition to the required attendance records, sponsors are encouraged, though not required, to solicit written evaluations of each sponsored program from its attendees and to maintain for at least two years after the program all such evaluations received, both for the sponsor's benefit and for furnishing to the Commission upon its request. A sponsor's policy either to solicit and maintain such evaluations or not to do so may be considered by the Commission as a factor bearing on the sponsor's accreditation.

(12) Primary Objective Test.The primary objective of CLE shall be to increase the attendee's professional competence as a lawyer. Worthwhile professional activities which have other primary objectives are encouraged, but do not meet the accreditation standards for CLE credit. Bar meetings, service on committees, jury duty, and client development or marketing seminars are examples of activities which do not meet the primary objective test.

(13) ADR CLE. CLE activities which train attorneys in the generally accepted processes of alternative dispute resolution are consistent with Accreditation Standards 1 and 2 where such programs meet the other criteria set forth herein

(14) Practice Management CLE. (CLE activities relating to the development and management of a law practice including client relations) Practice Management CLE includes, but is not limited to, those activities which (1) teach lawyers how to organize and manage their law practices so as to promote the efficient, economical and competent delivery of legal services; and (2) teach lawyers how to create and maintain good client relations consistent with existing ethical and professional guidelines so as to eliminate malpractice claims and bar grievances while improving service to the client and the public image of the profession. Practice Management CLE is consistent with Accreditation Standards 1 and 2 where such programs meet the other criteria set forth herein.

(15) CLE Delivery Formats. In addition to traditional approved continuing legal education activities attended live and in-person by groups of attorneys, distance learning delivery formats are acceptable provided they are designed specifically as organized programs of learning and meet the other accreditation standards set out in these Rules and Regulations. These distance learning CLE activities may be attended by an individual attorney with no minimum number of attendees needed to receive approved MCLE credit, but must comply with the In-House/Self-Study CLE Regulation 5 to Rule 8-106(B). Examples of qualifying distance learning formats include: live CLE activities presented via video or audio replays of live CLE activities; on-line computer CLE activities, CD-ROM and DVD interactive CLE activities; and written correspondence CLE courses. When attended by an individual attorney, the distance learning activity constitutes Self-Study CLE. Examples of non-qualifying educational activities that are encouraged on a non-MCLE approved credit basis include: reading cases and advance sheets, legal research, internet chat groups and jury duty.



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