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 presenter's 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 Tiffany.Drew@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.
Just because a course received credit in another state does not mean that it will receive credit in Tennessee. Complete the Request for Out of State, Online or Other Unpaid Credits form on our website under the FOR ATTORNEYS section. Attach to the form the following information:
- A Certificate of Completion for the course.
- A detailed agenda listing the topics and start/stop times. If the course was two or more hours in length, the agenda will need to include breaks.
- A list of the speakers and biographical information on the speakers showing they are qualified to teach the course (failure to include this required information will result in the denial of your course).
The information we require to accredit a CLE program can generally be found in a brochure or advertisement for that program.
There is a $2.00 posting fee for each attendance hour posted to your account.
You can mail us the information or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will owe a $100 non-completion fee, and you will still be required to complete the required hours. The hours you earn following the close of the compliance year will first go toward you shortage, then will count toward the new compliance year.
The CLE compliance year runs from January 1 to December 31. Compliance must be obtained by December 31 or you will be assessed a $100.00 penalty. You have until March 31 to claim an exemption though.
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 before the attendance will be counted toward compliance. 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 §2.03.
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 §2.03.
-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 solely for their attorneys and not open to attorneys outside of the firm or corporation 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.
No. These credits are considered distance learning or tech credits. No more than eight distance learning/tech hours can count towards compliance in a 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 group seminars as live in person on rare occasions if there is an on-site commentator and if the participants have an opportunity to directly ask questions of the cimmentator and/or the actual speaker. If you are viewing the presentation at the desk in your office or if there is not a qualified commentator in the room, then the course will be accredited as online. 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 or if the hours listed are incomplete or inaccurate. See Rule 21 § 6.02.
YES! The green and yellow Annual Report Statements must be signed and returned to the Commission by March 31 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 in a year you were exempt, 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. You can only carry forward one year's worth of credit. 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. You will only receive E/P credit if the ethics section is presented in a section separate from the primary topic and inot interspersed with the primary topic. 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) live hours of Ethics or Dual credit for indigent defense work beginning with the 2015 compliance year. Indigent defense, like pro bono and published legal writing earn live credit, but not live in-classroom credit. Complete the “Request for Earned Indigent Defense Credits” form found on CLETN.COM. Attach the sheets you submitted to the ACAP system showing the number of in-court and out of court 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 do not go 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.
2/28 -- the Annual Report Statement ("ARS") is mailed to attorneys.
3/31 -- 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.)
4/30 -- Notices of Non-Completion and Affidavits of Completion are sent certified mail to non-compliant attorneys with.
5/31 -- May 31 is the deadline for establishing compliance by filing the Affidavit of Completion or claiming a valid exemption. Compliance means the hours necessary for compliance have been earned or a valid exemption has been claimed and all fees have been paid to the CLE Commission. Documents hand delivered, faxed or e-mailed to the CLE Commission must be received by close of business May 31 (4:30 PM Central Time) unless this date falls on Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday and then it must be received by the close of business (4:30 PM Central Time) the following Monday. Failure to comply with this deadline will result in the imposition of the $200.00 delinquent compliance penalty.
6/1 -- $200 late fee assessed to non-compliant attorneys who have not filed Affidavit of Completion and paid all fees due.
6/29 -- Draft Suspension Order sent certified mail to non-compliant attorneys.
8/3 -- 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 legal ethics 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. Generally ethics credit is only awarded to instructors teaching a course on ethics or professionalism. See Regulations 5H §§ 1, 2, and §5.
No. The AGE exemption is not automatic. It must be requested. An attorney born in 1949 or earlier is eligible to claim the Age Exemption by filing a request with the CLE Commission.
An attorney born in 1950 or later is eligible to calim the age exemption the after the year in which the attorney turns 70 years of age. An attorney shall submit a written request for age exempt status to the Commission stating their date of birth and Board of professional REsponsibility number. 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.
No you cannot receive credit for teaching CLE by speaking to a general audience.
You are eligible to claim the non-resident exemption on the back on the Annual Report Statement mailed to you the last day of February. 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. By the way, the "M" is not part of your BPR number on our website.
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 not satisfied their five hour in-classroom requirement, but have earned their live hour requirement by submitting indigent defense hours and pro bono hours, serving as a bar examiner, obtaining CLE credit through published legal writing, serving on the Board of Professional Responsibility, or its hearing committees, or for participating as members of governmental commissions, committees, or other governmental bodies and involved in formal session for review of proposed legislation, rules or regulations. Those attorneys will need to make sure that they earn a minimum of five (5) CLE credit hours in a classroom setting.
NO. You cannot receive CLE credit for participation in a high school, college or law school moot court or mock court competition.
You can receive credit for being the primary instructor in a law school moot court course. Your credit is based on the number of credit hours a student receives for successfully completing the course. If the students did not receive credit, no CLE credit would be available.
No, your 15 hours of bar exam credit is linked to the year your passed the bar exam. If years have passed since passing the bar exam, you will probably need to complete your 15 hours of CLE during the year you were actually sworn in.
Yes. We have no way of knowing if your condition or situation has changed. When you receive exceptional relief, you relief is limited to one compliance year.
YES! Ignoring pending attendance can cost you money. CLE compliance means you have earned your hours or claimed an exemption, AND all fees have been paid. If you owe posting fees for Pending Attendance ($2.00 per credit hour) you are not in compliance and will be assessed fees if deadlines pass. You must do something! You have three choices: (1) You can pay the fees and receive all the hours, Keep in mind you can only carry forward one year’s worth of hours. (2) You can reduce the number of hours by logging on to your CLE account or by contacting the CLE Commission, and pay for the remaining hours (3) you can delete all the Pending Attendance hours and the money due will go away.
If you are receiving emails and letters from us saying you are not compliant, it is because our records indicate you are not compliant. You must contact us and clear up the discrepancy regarding your hours or payment of your fees or you could be assessed additional fees and possibly have your law license suspended.
If you are probably only INACTIVE with the Board of Professional Responsibility, you ARE NOT INACTIVE with the CLE Commission unless you have filed a request for inactive status with the Commission on CLE. If you have sent the CLE Commission an inactive request and received a confirmation that you are inactive with us, then you MUST call us if you are receiving notices that you are not compliant. If you are receiving notices then you are not coded as being inactive with us. This is corrected with a quick phone call. If you do nothing, you could be assessed fees and possibly have your law license suspended erroneously, and no one wants that to happen.
No you do not need to return to Tennessee to get your live CLE. Live is live. If you could physically shake the presenter's hand at the end of the presentation, then it was live no matter if it was in Alaska, Tennessee or Hong Kong.
Florida uses a fifty minute hour so a four hour Florida course lasts 200 minutes (plus breaks) In Tennessee you would only receive 3 1/3 hours for the same program.
No. Payments go toward a balance, not toward a specific course. Just sent one check or make one payment online for everything.
The posting fee is $2.00 per credit hour so multiply the number of hours times two. A course lasting 1.15 hours would have a $2.30 posting fee.
Yes, but you can only receive bar exam credit once in any compliance year. If you received credit for passing the Tennessee bar exam or any other state's bar exam this year, you will not be able to receive credit for the bar exam you passed in another state.
This would also apply to bar exam and bar review courses. You can only receive credit for one or the other in any compliance year.
No. You can only receive credit for one or the other in any compliance year.
The attorneys will only be able to receive CLE credit if the hours are earned while working for an “Approved Legal Assistance Program” as defined in Supreme Court Rule 21§4.07(c). If the church or agency is interested in applying to the Tennessee Supreme Court to become an Approved Legal Assistance Program they can request the application form from the CLE Commission.
You can use a maximum of three (3) pro bono/indigent defense CLE credits in any compliance year. Those hours count as live ethics credit but do not count toward live in-classroom hours as identified in Supreme Court Rule 21§3.01. You can carry over a maximum of three (3) credits to the next compliance year.
You should receive eight (8) hours for the two hours you taught (two times four) and two additional hours for your attendance at the remaining two hours for a total of ten (10) hours of CLE credit.
Your teaching hours were not reported to us, only the hours you attended. You will need to contact the provider and have them contact us.
No. Listening to a podcast or a downloaded audio file, even from a state bar association, is considered self study in Tennessee and not eligible for CLE credit. Tennessee requires tracking of the time spent listening to or watching an electronically delivered CLE presentation. If the provider is not tracking when you started and stopped listening, then the course is not eligible for CLE credit in Tennessee.
YES. You need to make sure that the hours you reported on the Affidavit get reported and appear on your account. Follow up with the provider if they are supposed to report your attendance or follow up the Commission if you self reported your attendance. It is the attorneys responsibility to make sure that their attendance is reported timely and accurately.
An Attorney born in 1950 or later is eligible to claim the Age Exemption the year after the year the attorney turns 70 years of age. To receive the Age Exemption, an attorney shall submit a written request for age exempt status to the Commission stating their date of birth and their Board of Professional Responsibility number
Under Rule 21, you can earn hour for hour credit for participating in an LLM or PhD program. If some of the hours of your participation were online, even if it was a live broadcast, Facetime or Skype, you would only be eligible for online credit for those hours. If you attended the class live (you could have shaken the presenter’s hand at the end of their talk) then you can receive live credit for those hours. You will need to submit the form on our website named Request for Out of State, Online or Other Unpaid Credits listing the number of hours you are requesting. You will need to submit one form for the live hours and a second form for the online hours as they will have different course numbers. Attach a copy of your grades/transcript. There is a $2.00 per credit hour attendance reporting fee that must also be paid. You can only carry forward twelve (12) general hours so you probably aren’t going to benefit from submitting more than 24 general hours. You can only carry forward eight (8) online hours so probably won’t benefit from reporting more than sixteen (16) online hours. I have not seen an LLM program with an ethics course included, so you will probably need to get your ethics credit elsewhere.
Under Supreme Court Rule 9, you must update your contact information with the Board of Professional Responsibility ("BPR") within thirty (30) days of any change in your contact information. For this reason, we receive weekly electronic system updates from the BPR's system. If your contact information is correct with them, then it should be correct with us with a possible one week delay. If you give us the change and don't update the BPR, their system will overwrite our changes when the weekly update occurs. If our system is incorrect and you updated the information on the BPR website a month ago, then there is a problem that needs to be followed up upon.
To initially register your legal specializaton, just sent the CLE Commission a copy of the letter you received from the certifying agency. You do not need to complete any other forms initially. You will need to renew you registration annually.
Please contact Bill Calhoun at 615-741-3096 X-5 with any specialization questions.
You can advertise your specialization so long as you remain current with the Certification Board and annually register your certification with the CLE Commission. You should not advertise that you are certified by the Tennessee Commission on CLE because we no longer certify attorneys in legal specialites. We leave that up the organizations approved by the ABA Board of Delegates.
Absolutely. You can earn your CLE credits anywhere in the world. Live CLE has the same requirements whether it is in Paris, France or Paris, Tennessee. If the course has not been accredited in Tennessee, you will need to get the course accredited if you want CLE credit.
To accredit a course we need:
1. an agenda listing breaks, topics and length of each session. If the course was under two hours we do not need an agenda.
2. Names of the speakers
3. Biographical information on the speakers showing they were qualified to teach the portion they taught.
Often times this information is on a brochure about the program.
To become INACTIVE with the CLE Commission, you cannot be practicing law in any US jurisdiction. Your law license must also be inactive with the BPR. Being inactive, does not obviate your CLE obligation. It merely puts your annual CLE obligation on hold. While on INACTIVE status you will not receive Progress Reports or Annual Report Statements. While on INACTIVE status you will not have any annual CLE reporting obligations. There is no length of time you can be INACTIVE with the CLE Commission.
If you are INACTIVE with the CLE Commission, before you can resume the practice of law in any US jurisdiction, you will be required to make up the CLE you missed while inactive, to a maximum of five (5) years. If you were inactive for three compliance years, you will need to make up three years of CLE. If you were inactive for twelve compliance years, you would need to make up the CLE you missed during the last five compliance years.
Any CLE credits reported to us will be posted to your account. If you have CLE reported to us that is not paid by the provider, you must make the payment or the course reporting fee or you could be penalized.
The NON-RESIDENT EXEMPTION must be claimed annually in March following the close of the compliance year. Failure to either annually report hours to the Commission or to annually claim an exemption could result in penalties being assessed and the suspension of your law license in Tennessee. To claim the Non-Resident Exemption, you needed to live outside of Tennessee during the compliance year and you did not practice Tennessee law during the compliance year. Your status with the BPR is irrelevant. You status with the BPR could be active, inactive or even suspended and you would still be able claim the Non-Resident Exemption if you qualified.
There is no restriction on practing law other than you cannot practice Tennessee law. We assume you are taking your CLE in your home state so you are not required to report CLE to Tennessee if claiming the Non-Resident Exemption. There is no limitation on the number of years you can claim the Non-Resident Exemption and you do not need to make up CLE when you no longer qualify for the exemption. You simply need to earn your CLE beginning with year you were no longer eligible to claim the Non-Resident Exemption.