Each attorney must complete a total of fifteen (15) hours of CLE, which must consist of no less than twelve (12) General hours and three (3) Ethics/Professionalism hours (or Dual hours) per year. A minimum of seven (7) live hours must be earned and of those seven (7) a minimum of five (5) must be earned in a classroom setting where you can shake the presenters hand at the end of the presentation. A maximum of eight (8) hour earned online in any compliance year can count toward you compliance for that year. Additional online hours earned in a compliance year, up to eight (8) hours, will carry forward to the next compliance year. See Rule 21 §3.01.
Tennessee’s compliance year for CLE runs from January 1 through December 31. See Rule 21 §3.01. Don’t confuse this with the Board of Professional Responsibility’s licensing year which is based on your birth date.
Your PIN is listed on the CLE Progress Report that you receive in September/October. It is also listed on the Annual Report Statement that you receive the first week of February. You can also click on “forgot PIN” on the attorney login screen, Your PIN will be sent to the email address listed with the Board of Professional Responsibility in the correspondence address section. If you have not received your PIN within 30 minutes, call the Commission’s office.
If you are a sponsor, call us at (615) 741-3096, extension 3 or send an e-mail to Teresa.Seibert@CLETN.COM to have us set you up as a sponsor in our system and to send you instructions concerning our on-line application process. See Rule 21 §5.
Use “Search Courses” on this web site to make sure the course is not already approved. If it is not, mail, email or fax us a copy of the program agenda (including breaks), information on the speakers and a very brief summary of the course content (what is the subject of the program). Attach the completed form found on CLETN.COM titled “Request for Out-of –State, On-Line and Other Unpaid Credits”. If we need additional information we will contact you. See Regulation §5D.1.
You will owe a $100 non-completion fee, and you will still be required to complete the required hours.
Hours must be completed by December 31 of the compliance year.
Under Rule 21, the final version of the Suspension Order will be sent to the Supreme Court on August 15. It will be entered at the Court's discretion. See Rule 21 §7.07.
All changes to your mailing address, email address or telephone number must be made through the attorney portal at the Board of Professional Responsibility’s website (TBPR.ORG).
We send mail and email messages to the correspondence addresses listed for you with the Board of Professional Responsibility. If your email address section is blank or has an incorrect email address, you will not receive email messages from the Commission. You must update your contact information with the Board within thirty (30) days of any change. See Rule 9 §20.05.
Sponsors of courses physically held in Tennessee must pay the per credit hour posting fee, but sponsors of courses held outside of Tennessee or on-line are not required to pay. In those cases the two dollar ($2.00) per credit hour posting fee must be paid by the attorney. See Rule 21 §§8.03 & 8.04. Also see Regulation 8A.1.
Providers have thirty (30) days to notify us of course completion. If the course still has not posted after forty-five (45) days contact the provider. See Rule 21, Section 8.02.
No, being inactive with the Board of Professional Responsibility does not have any effect on your CLE requirement to complete fifteen (15) hours of CLE annually. See Regulation 2B.2.
To become inactive with the CLE Commission your Tennessee law license must first be inactive with the Board of Professional Responsibility. Further, you cannot be practicing law in any U.S. jurisdiction. If you meet these criteria, you can complete the Request Inactive Status form on this website showing that you meet the qualifications and asking to be placed on inactive status. If you decide to return to the practice of law in any U.S. jurisdiction, you must notify the CLE Commission and make up the last five years of CLE you missed before you resume your practice or you will be subject to immediate suspension of your Tennessee law license.
You have a CLE obligation the year you pass the February Bar Exam but the Commission on CLE will award you the required fifteen (15) hours of CLE credit to fulfill that CLE obligation. If you were not sworn in prior to September 1, then you should contact the Commission on CLE.
See Rule 21 §2.05.
Because you did/will not receive your results until October, you do not have a CLE obligation the year you passed the July Tennessee Bar Exam. You will receive your fifteen (15) hours of CLE credit the year following your passage of the bar exam regardless of when you are sworn in. See Rule 21 §2.05.
-Non-residence (living and working outside of Tennesssee)
-Elected Legislative or Executive Official prohibited by law from practicing law
-Age ((you can request the exemption the year after you turn sixty-five (65) if you were born before 1950 and the year after you turn seventy (70) if you were born in 1950 or later))
-Active Duty with the Armed Forces of the United States
-Fulltime law school professors who are not practicing law
See Rule 21 § 2.04
No, however if you cannot attend CLE programs without great difficulty you may file a request with the Commission for a substitute program in place of attendance. You must submit a plan tailored to your specific interests and physical abilities for consideration by the Commission. Requests are approved or disapproved on an individual basis. See Rule 21 § 3.02.
If you were eligible for an exemption (other than on the basis of age) from January 1 through August 31, you may claim it for the entire year. If you lost your eligibility for an exemption on or after September 1, you may still claim it for the entire year. If you lost your exemption prior to September 1, you must meet the entire CLE requirement for that year. If unusual circumstances apply, you may ask the Commission for exceptional relief. A letter outlining the circumstances and the requested relief should be forwarded to the Commission as soon as the issue is discovered. See Regulation 2A.
Seminars held by private firms or corporations for their attorneys cannot receive credit. Governmental departments may offer in-house programs that are eligible for CLE credit if they are open to all department attorneys in the state and at least 50% of the approved hours are taught by speakers not otherwise associated with the department. See Regulation 5A.
Yes. These credits are considered distance learning or tech credits. No more than eight distance learning/tech hours can count towards compliance in single compliance year. A maximum of eight (8) hours can be carried forward to the next compliance year. See Regulation 5B.
The Commission will accredit these seminars on rare occasions if there is an on-site commentator and if the participants have an opportunity to directly ask questions of the speaker. See Regulation 5B. 1.
No, activity consisting solely of the viewing or hearing of pre-recorded material may not be awarded CLE credit. See Rule 21 § 5.01(g).
Yes, if they are open to outside attorneys on a broad basis (not just in-house counsel for clients). See Regulation 5I.
"Dual" credits are CLE credits that can be applied toward either the General or the Ethics & Professionalism CLE requirement. Hours will be reflected as Dual until the end of the compliance year when our system will first apply Dual credit hours toward the three hour Ethics requirement. Any remaining Dual credit hours will go toward the twelve (12) hours General requirement.
You do not need to do anything unless you are also claiming an exemption as well for that year.
See Rule 21 § 6.02.
YES! The green and yellow Annual Report Statements must be signed and returned to the Commission by March 1 with corrections or confirmations (missing courses or credits) and payment of any outstanding fees or you will be subject to non-compliance fees. See Rule 21 § 6.02.
Credits earned in a year in which you were exempt will only carry forward to the extent that they would have if you were not exempt. E.g. If you submitted sixteen (16) General credits and six (6) Ethics credits then four (4) of the General credits and three (3) of the Ethics credits would carry forward to the next non-exempt year. See Regulation 4A.
Yes, up to one full year's worth of both General (12 hours) and Ethics & Professionalism (3 hours) can be carried forward to the next compliance year. See Rule 21, Section 4.02.
Yes. To earn one hour of CLE credit, the attorney must complete sixty (60) minutes of instruction not counting breaks, etc. See Regulation 3A.
Yes, You earn credits equal to four (4) times the amount of time you teach if you prepare Five (5) or more pages of hand-out materials for the participants. If you prepare less than five (5) pages, you receive two (2) times the number of hours you teach. For second and subsequent presentations of the same materials, you get half the credit of the first presentation. It is your responsibility to make sure the course provider submits your hours accurately. These hours go toward your live in classroom requirement hours. See Rule 21 §4.03.
Yes, up to one half the annual CLE requirement of both General and Ethics/Professionalism credits (6 hours general and 1.5 hours E/P) for articles printed in approved books or journals whose primary intended readers are attorneys. This hours go toward you live hour requirment, but not your live in classroom requirement. See Rule 21, Section 4.07(b).
Yes. Tennessee pioneered credit for pro bono service. You will receive one (1) hour of Ethics/Professionalism (Not Dual) credit for each five (5) billable hours of approved pro-bono legal representation provided through court appointment, an organized bar association program or legal services organization. (Rule 21, Section 4.07c.) You can get up to the full annual requirement for published writing (4.07b), service as a bar examiner (4.05), service on the Board of Professional Responsibility (4.06), or by passing a bar examination or specialty certification examination (2.05). Service on a state or national governmental committee involved in formal sessions for review of proposed legislation, rules or regulations can earn up to one-half of the annual requirement. These hours go toward your annual seven (7) live hour requirement, but do not go toward your five (5) live in classroom requirement. See Rule 21 §4.07a).
An attorney can earn a maximum of eight (8) distance learning hours in a compliance year.
Yes, you can receive a maximum of three (3) hours of Ethics or Dual credit for indigent defense work beginning with the 2015 compliance year . Complete the “Request for Earned Indigent Defense Credits” form found on CLETN.COM. Attach the sheets you submitted to the AOC on the ICE system showing the number of hours worked and send everything to the Commission either by mail, fax or email. Please only send the documents once. These credits will go toward your seven (7) hours live CLE obligation, but not so toward the five (5) hour live in classroom requirement.
Absolutely, but you must first complete your CLE and pay any outstanding fees. We will need a notarized Affidavit of Completion listing the credits you have earned that will put you in compliance along with proof of payment of any outstanding fees. The Affidavit of Completion can be emailed, faxed, hand delivered or mailed. Please only send it to us once. If time is of the essence, don’t place it in the mailbox and hope it gets to us in time.
12/31 -- the deadline for earning hours without $100 late fee.
1/31 -- the Annual Report Statement ("ARS") is mailed to attorneys.
3/1 -- the ARS must be completed and mailed to Commission by attorneys reporting hours or claiming an exemption. (Attorneys whose ARS shows sufficient hours and no fee due do not have to return the ARS.)
3/31 -- Notices of Non-Completion and Affidavits of Completion are sent certified mail to non-compliant attorneys with.
5/31 -- deadline for mailing Affidavits of Completion and paying all fees to Commission to avoid $200 late fee.
6/1 -- $200 late fee assessed to non-compliant attorneys who have not filed Affidavit of Completion and paid all fees due.
7/1 -- Draft Suspension Order sent certified mail to non-compliant attorneys.
8/10 -- Deadline for filing Affidavit of Completion and paying all fees to avoid being included on draft Suspension Order submitted to Supreme Court.
8/15 – the Final Suspension Order is submitted to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Attorneys not in active status with BPR will be placed in suspended status and a $500 suspension fee is assessed. Upon entry of the Suspension Order by the Court, the $500 suspension fee will be assessed to noncompliant active status attorneys, those attorneys will be moved to suspended status, and a copy of the Suspension Order will be mailed to all Courts in Tennessee. See Rule 21 §7.
Yes. Please have your dean or other appropriate person send us a letter on the school’s letterhead confirming the course(s) you taught, the quarter/semester/period you taught and the credit hours those courses carried for students. You will receive credit for four (4) times the number of credit hours of the course. You will need to pay the two dollar ($2) per CLE hour reporting fee for those hours. See Rule 21 §4.03. These hours count toward your five (5) live in classroom hours.
No, you can only receive ethics or dual credit for teaching attorneys or law school students. You cannot earn ethics or dual credit teaching courses to a general audience. See Regulation 5H(3)
Yes. Ethics and Professionalism or Dual credit will be awarded for teaching Ethics and Professionalism courses in a law school. Any legal instruction may involve an ethics component. The Commission will not attempt to parse out what percentage of a course was eligible for Ethics credit and what percentage of a course was eligible for General credit. In order to qualify for Ethics 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. See Regulations 5H §§ 1, 2, and §5.
No. The AGE exemption is not automatic. It must be requested. You are not eligible to apply for the exemption until the year after you turn sixty-five (65) if you were born prior to 1950. If you were born after 1950 you cannot claim the AGE exemption until the year after you turn 70. Rule 21 § 2.04
Fees can be waived only when they were assessed erroneously and the attorney was in CLE compliance by December 31 (all hours were earned and all fees were paid). See Rule 21 § 7
No. You cannot receive credit for CLE earned prior to your becoming an attorney. You will receive one year of CLE credit though if you passed the Tennessee Bar Exam.
No. As a teacher at a college or university or law school you can only receive credit if you were the primary instructor for the entire semester/quarter/term.
You are eligible to claim the non-resident exemption on the back on the Annual Report Statement mailed to you the last day for January. If you do not annually claim the exemption for the compliance year, you will not receive the exemption and will be expected to complete your fifteen (15) hour requirement.
Attorneys born prior to 1950 are eligible to claim the AGE exemption. Attorneys born during or after 1950 cannot claim the AGE exemption until the year after they turn seventy (70). To receive the exemption the attorney must file a request with the Commission on CLE. See Rule 21 §2.04(c)
Yes, an attorney can receive up to one years CLE credit for completing a bar exam preparation course. The attorney will need to document their hours of attendance. Keep in mind an attorney cannot receive bar prep credit and bar passage credit in the same year. See Rule 21 Section 4.07(e).
If you were sworn in prior to September 1, you are required to complete the full fifteen (15) hour CLE obligation this year. You will not have a CLE obligation for the year you were sworn in if you were sworn in on or after September 1. Your fifteen (15) hours CLE obligation will begin next year.
If you were activated prior to September 1, you must complete the fifteen (15) hour CLE requirement. If you were activated on or after September 1, your fifteen (15) hour CLE requirement will begin the year after you were activated.
Most Tennessee attorneys already obtain their seven (7) live hours of CLE by attending live CLE programs and the five (5) hour in classroom requirement does not affect them. The attorneys affected by the five (5) hour requirement are those attorneys who have satisfied their live hour requirement by submitting indigent defense hours, pro bono hours, credit for published legal writing or public service credits. Those attorneys will need to make sure that they earn a minimum of five (5) CLE credit hours in a classroom setting.