These regulations express the standard
procedures of the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and
Specialization. For compelling reasons, the Commission may suspend or alter any
part of these regulations in particular matters. These Regulations were last
reviewed, modified, and adopted by the Commission on March 18, 2008.
Commission: The Tennessee
Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization
Rule: The Rule for Mandatory
Continuing Legal Education, Rule 21 of the Supreme Court of Tennessee
General Credit: Credit
applicable only to the general CLE requirement
EP Credit: Credit applicable
only to the Ethics & Professionalism requirement
Dual Credit: Credit
applicable to either the general or EP requirements
Section 2 Regulations
2A. Exemption Due To Physical Disability
Exemptions from the requirements of the Rule
due to physical, mental or emotional disability may be made by the Commission
upon receipt of an application from the affected attorney. An attorney
receiving such an exemption shall be required to reaffirm when filing his or
her Annual Report Statement that the circumstances warranting such exemption
continue. In any case, such exemption shall not extend past the resumption of
the regular, active practice of law.
2B. Inactive Status with Board of
Attorneys on inactive or suspended status
with the Board of Professional Responsibility shall not be exempt from the
Attorneys who are not actively practicing law in any
United States jurisdiction will, upon request, be granted exceptional relief by
designation as “inactive” for years while they are not practicing.
An attorney returning to active status from either
inactive or suspended status must earn and report CLE credits sufficient to meet
the requirements of the years while inactive or suspended, to a maximum of five
(5) years prior to having his or her license reinstated.
The provisions of this section are applicable only to
MCLE requirements and attorneys are advised to check independently with the
Board of Professional Responsibility on applicable provisions of the rules
administered by that organization.
2C. Non Residents
Attorneys who reside outside of Tennessee and
do not practice law in Tennessee may receive exceptional relief from the Rule
upon application to the Commission.
Attorneys who move out of Tennessee during a
calendar year and cease practicing law in Tennessee may receive exceptional
relief from the Rule for that calendar year upon application to the Commission.
Attorneys who move into Tennessee on or
before August 31 shall be subject to the Rule for that calendar year. Attorneys
who move in after August 31 shall be subject to the Rule beginning the
following calendar year.
Section 3 Regulations
3A. Computation of Credit
One hour of credit will be awarded for each
sixty (60) minutes of instruction, not including introductory remarks, keynote
speeches, luncheon speeches, or breaks (but including question and answer
periods). Portions of an hour will be rounded down to the nearest hundredth of
Each teacher involved in a joint or panel
portion of an approved activity shall receive credit as though he or she were
the only teacher.
Approved on-site commentators at satellite or
video seminars will receive credit at the rate of two hours for each hour of
the program if they have either viewed the program in advance or otherwise
engaged in preparation appropriate to the role of commentator.
Section 4 Regulations
4A. Credit Earned While Exempt
Hours of credit earned during a year in which the
attorney earning them is exempt from the requirements of the Rule may be
carried forward to succeeding non-exempt years only to the extent they would
have carried forward had the attorney not been exempt.
4B. Credit for Published Writing
An attorney seeking credit under Rule 21, §4.07(b)
shall submit an Affidavit of Authorship in the form available from the
Commission. Credit will be awarded in the amount of 1 hour for every 1,000
words, not including footnotes, endnotes or citations of authority. The
attorney shall submit a word count and a statement of the percentage, if any,
of the article devoted to ethics/professionalism issues to receive appropriate
credit toward the ethics/professionalism requirement.
Attorneys seeking credit as joint authors shall complete an Affidavit of Joint
Authorship, available from the Commission. The authors must indicate the
division of labor for the article and how the total credits allowed should be
Section 5 Regulations
5A. In-House Activities
An "in-house activity" shall be defined as an
activity conducted primarily for the benefit of attorneys of a single firm,
corporation, or governmental department except as follows:
Any joint training activity conducted for the
attorneys of a governmental department shall not be considered "in-house" if it
is available to all attorneys in that
department on a state-wide basis, and
at least 50% of the hours of approved
instruction are taught by persons with no continuing relationship or employment
with the department.
In-house activities will not be approved for
continuing legal education credits in Tennessee.
technical compliance with this regulation, the Commission may deny
accreditation to activities lacking substantive merit as a continuing legal
5B. Remote Locations and
Remote Locations: Seminars consisting
of viewing or hearing the presentations at remote sites via electronic
transmission as part of an organized CLE event for multiple participants at
that site will receive credit if participants have a reasonable opportunity to
submit questions to the speaker at the broadcast's origination site. Programs
presented via video tape replay must have a live commentator as required by
Rule 21. Further, the Commission encourages the use of live commentators at
satellite programs to enhance the educational value of such programs. Remote
locations of live seminars are not considered a “distance learning format”
pursuant to Rule 21 Section 4.08 and are not subject to the per year maximum on
such credits established by that section.
Distance Learning: Pursuant to Rule
21, Section 4.08 and 5.01 (f), the Commission approves the following distance
on-line programs with interactive components,
accredited for actual time spent for programs involving video or audio
components, but to a maximum of one (1) hour of credit for text-only programs,
“real-time” or “streamed” seminars whether
through "conference call" or via the internet (“webcast”) if the submission of
questions or other interactive components are included, and
interactive stand-alone programs without a
web component if they include participation monitoring, or a testing component,
and completion certification from the sponsor, ac-credited for normal
completion time, but to a maximum of one (1) hour of credit for text-only
5C. Seminars Held Outside the United States
All seminars held outside the United States,
even those sponsored by presumptively approved providers, must be individually
approved by the Commission.
5D. Attorney Request for Accreditation
Any attorney may request approval in advance
of an activity to be held outside Tennessee by completing and submitting a
Uniform Application for Accreditation form available from the Commission. No
activity conducted in Tennessee will be approved in advance except on
application by the provider.
5E. Submission of Written Materials
A provider requesting single program approval
need not submit materials provided to participants unless requested to do so by
the Commission or its staff.
5F. Applications for Reconsideration
Upon request from an attorney or provider,
the Commission will review decisions made by staff. Requests for such review
must be in writing, state the basis for the applicant’s position that staff has
erred, and include all relevant materials for the Commission’s consideration.
In-person presentations or discussion are at the discretion of the Commission.
The Commission will reconsider denial of credit to an
activity only upon an application showing that the Commission misapprehended a
material fact concerning such application, or that the program, subject matter
or audience for the activity has substantially changed. The Commission will not
consider an application which fails the foregoing requirements.
Suggestions for changes in MCLE requirements or the
Commission’s policies, procedures, or regulations will be considered at the
discretion of the Commission.
5G. [Deleted by Commission action August 8,
5H. Ethics and Professionalism Credit
Dual credit will be granted to programs or
topics within programs to the extent that the subject matter is the Rules of
Professional Conduct or ethical considerations applicable to attorneys.
Dual credit will also be granted to programs
designed to sustain or increase the capacity
of attorneys to strive for and to achieve the highest, aspirational levels of
professionalism, including programs aimed at increasing attorney well-being,
optimism, resilience, relationship skills, and energy and engagement in their
designed to help lawyers re-connect with,
strengthen, and apply their values, strengths of character, and sense of
purpose toward achieving outstanding professionalism,
designed to protect lawyers or help them
recover from the deleterious effects on professionalism of stress, substance
abuse, and poor staff, financial, or time management, or
designed to support the development of
organizational cultures within firms, law departments, and legal agencies that
recognize, support, and encourage outstanding professionalism.
All programs accredited under this section
must be clearly and primarily designed and intended for attorneys, not a
Programs and topics focused on advertising
legal services will be denied all credit, except to the extent they deal with
the ethical restrictions concerning advertising.
In addition to the other requirements set
forth in this Regulation 5H, in order to qualify for credit, the topics must be
presented in a session separate and apart from the general credit topics, with
specific time allocated to only such topics.
5I. Law Firm Sponsored Courses
Courses otherwise appropriate for credit
which are sponsored by law firms will be accredited if they are open in some
significant manner to a broad spectrum of the bar either in a geographical area
or in the field of practice. However, programs strictly limited to in-house
counsel for clients will not be accredited.
5J. Credit for Individual Coaching
The Commission, after consideration as a body
and not through staff, will give dual credit for “Courses” consisting of
individual coaching sessions on topics described in 5H.2 above if:
The coaching sessions must be submitted in
advance as a complete offering involving a set number and length of sessions,
defined topics, content to be covered, readings or other material to be
assigned, the qualifications and experience of the coach, a general description
of actions expected of participating attorneys, and price.
Courses will be accredited under this section
only for the time included in the approved coaching sessions. Time invested by
the attorney outside such sessions to complete readings or assignments will not
The Coach agrees to report and pay for attendance for
the attorney upon completion of the sessions including adequate performance by
the attorney on assignments made by the Coach as part of the program.
Accreditation of a “Course” under this section will be
for one calendar year only (or the portion of a year remaining at the time of
approval). Courses must be re-submitted annually.
Section 8 Regulations
8A. Attendance Report and Evaluation
Summaries for Activities Held in Tennessee
Pursuant to Rule 21 § 8.04, the per-hour
charge for attendance reporting is $2.00.
The alphabetical list of attendees required
by Rule 8.02 shall include the following information:
a number list of attendees and speakers
alphabetized by last name,
Board of Professional Responsibility numbers
for attendees and speakers,
an indication of which persons on the list
hours of credit earned by each participant
(including additional hours awarded for teaching), and
total number of hours of credit.
In lieu of the printed list under subparagraph 1, a
provider may report attendees through the online attendance reporting system
available at www.cletn.com
at a discount of $1/hr of attendance reported.
For any course submitted for accreditation through
www.Form1.org, the Commission will accredit the provider's account
$1 for use against attendance reporting fees only.
8B. Reporting Fee Waiver
The per/hour fee assessed to sponsors on
in-state programs is hereby waived if:
The program is priced to attorneys at
$10/hr or less;
The gross proceeds from the program are
Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, or
an organization whose primary purpose is to provide legal services to those who
cannot afford them, such as:
Memphis Area Legal Services
West Tennessee Legal Services
Southeast Tennessee Legal Services
Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee
Legal Aid of East Tennessee; and
Attendance is reported electronically through the attendance reporting system
available at www.cletn.com.
Section 10 Regulations
10A. Disciplinary History Review
In reviewing the history of disciplinary
complaints against an applicant for certification, the Commission will consider
the following factors:
The nature and seriousness, or lack thereof,
of the acts or omissions alleged. In this regard, matters dismissed as
frivolous by the Board of Professional Responsibility (the “Board”) will
normally not be considered by the Commission at all, and matters
administratively dismissed will be considered only if they are part of a
pattern of alleged action or inaction by the applicant raising questions
concerning the competency of the attorney, or the adequacy of the applicant’s
communications with clients or law practice management systems. The underlying
facts of all other complaints including those receiving “administrative” or
“investigative” dismissals, or dismissed by the Board, may be reviewed by the
Commission in accordance with these regulations.
The nature of any discipline imposed.
The relation of the complaints to the specialty area.
The age and experience of the attorney at the time of
The subsequent passage of time and the lawyer’s
experience and reputation since the incident.
Any evidence of reform or rehabilitation.
The candor and integrity of the attorney in reporting
the complaint to the Commission.
The client references received on the attorney. The
Commission may request additional client references for this purpose.
Whether the conduct complained of is part of a pattern
of behavior which raises questions concerning the ethics, client communication
practices, or practice management systems of the attorney in the specialty area
Any other factors deemed relevant by the Commission.