Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Requirements
The Idaho Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Rules are Section IV, Rules 400-408 of the Idaho State Bar Commission Rules (ICBR). The rules were rescinded and replaced effective May 2, 2014.
Rule 402 states:
Active and House Counsel Members shall complete a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours of Accredited Activity in every three (3) year reporting period.
Beginning with reporting periods ending on December 31, 2017 and thereafter, attorneys must complete least three (3) MCLE credits on legal ethics or professional responsibility, as approved by the Board or its designee. Such courses may include discussion of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct, professionalism and civility, client trust account administration and legal malpractice prevention. [Attorneys whose current reporting period ends prior to December 31, 2017 must complete two (2) MCLE ethics credits during their reporting period.]
No more than fifteen (15) of the required thirty (30) credits may be self-study credits.
No more than six (6) of the required thirty (30) credits may be published legal writing credits.
Attorneys holding themselves out as specialists or certified specialists, as provided in Section X of the I.B.C.R., shall comply with the requirements of the applicable certifying organization for completion of CLE credits in the specialty area.
The MCLE Rules state the Idaho State Bar must review CLE activities and approve activities consistent with the following standards:
- The activity shall have significant intellectual or practical content, and the primary objective shall be to increase the attorney’s professional competence and ability to deliver quality legal services in an efficient, competent and ethical manner;
- The activity shall constitute an organized program of learning that addresses matters directly related to the practice of law, professional responsibility or ethical obligations of attorneys, provided:
Courses included in the curriculum of a college or university undergraduate degree program do not qualify for accreditation as a CLE activity; and
An attorney may receive credit for attendance at a non-legal educational program if the subject of that program relates specifically to the attorney’s area of practice. For example, credit may be given for attendance at a medical-related program if the attorney’s practice includes medical malpractice;
- The activity shall be conducted by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience in the covered subjects;
- The activity may include video, digital content or other presentation formats;
- Materials used in the activity shall be thorough and of high quality, and should be distributed to participants prior to or during the activity; and
- The activity may address law practice management to promote the efficient and competent delivery of legal services; however, no CLE credit shall be approved for marketing, client cultivation, general time management or stress reduction, computer training that is not specific to attorneys, general business topics, or vendor-sponsored activities designed solely to promote products or services.
An organization or attorney may apply for accreditation of a CLE activity. To apply for credit, submit the appropriate application with the application fee if required. The application fee is $40. Non-profit sponsors who apply for accreditation of live CLE activities that are two (2) hours or less in length and held in Idaho shall pay a reduced application fee of $20. No application fee is required for applications submitted by the Idaho Supreme Court, the Bar and its sections or district bar associations, the Idaho Law Foundation, Inc., or individual members of the Idaho State Bar. Application fees cannot be paid for by credit card. Allow 3-4 weeks for processing.
When a course has been approved, the number of hours of credit assigned to the course reflects the maximum that may be earned through attendance at the course. Credit awarded to individual attorneys may differ depending on the actual number of hours an attorney is in attendance at the course.
The applications for MCLE credit are available in PDF format:
Visit our MCLE Accreditation Information page for the answers to common questions about the accreditation process.
All active members (with some limited exceptions) must report their MCLE credits every three years. For most attorneys, their first reporting period began on the date of admission to the Bar and ended on December 31 of the third full year following admission. After the initial reporting period, the reporting periods continue in three (3) year cycles. If an attorney transfers from active status to inactive status and then returns to active status, his or her reporting period may change. You can check your reporting period by checking your MCLE attendance records. Your reporting period will be listed along with your attendance records. Questions about reporting periods should be directed to the MCLE Department at (208) 334-4500 or email Annette Strauser.
MCLE - Completing the Requirements (information on extensions, self-study credit and course approval.)
A written report of attendance at accredited MCLE courses must be provided to the Idaho State Bar at the end of each 3 year reporting period. The reporting form is the MCLE Certificate of Compliance. Certificate of Compliance will be provided to each reporting attorney at the end of their reporting period. All courses in the attorney's current MCLE reporting period will be preprinted on the certificate. Any additional courses added to the MCLE Certificate of Compliance must have prior accreditation by the Idaho State Bar. No credit shall be applicable to any reporting period other than that during which the credit was actually earned.
Only time spent in actual educational activities may be counted in the hours of credit received for participating in a program. One (1) credit hour is given for each hour actually spent in attendance at an accredited course. No credit shall be given for time spent on introductory remarks, coffee and food breaks, business meetings, or other activities that do not involve educational aspects of the CLE activity.
An attorney who teaches an accredited course shall receive three (3) credit hours for each hour of teaching. No credit will be given for preparation time; time spent in introductory remarks, coffee and food breaks, business meetings, or other activities that do not involve educational aspects of the CLE activity; presentations by attorneys that include the promotion of goods or services; or CLE activities for which the attorney is directly compensated other than as an honorarium or for expenses. An attorney who teaches an activity that meets the accreditation standards under Rule 403(a) that is directed primarily to nonlawyers shall receive only one (1) credit hour for each hour of teaching.
Attorneys can claim only fifteen (15) credits of self-study during each reporting period. A course will be deemed a self-study program unless (1) three or more participants attend the CLE activity; and (2) the participants have access to the presenter during the CLE activity or, in the case of a video, audio or other recording, a moderator who is qualified to answer attendees’ questions about the CLE topic is present during the CLE activity. All self-study credits must be applied for and approved before the credits can be counted toward meeting the MCLE requirement. An application must be submitted for all recorded courses - even if the original live presentation is accredited.
Published legal writing authored by attorneys may qualify for CLE credit if the writing contributes to the attorney’s legal education;
is intended for an attorney audience; and is an original writing that is published, in print or electronically, in a professional legal journal or publication. The published writing must be at least 1,000 words and one credit may be granted per 1,000 words. A maximum of 6 (six) writing credits can be used per reporting period.
Under Idaho Bar Commission Rule (IBCR) 402(f), all new active and house counsel members of the Idaho State Bar must complete a total of ten (10) New Admittee Credit (NAC) Approved Credits no later than one year following admission. The ten (10) NAC credits must include the four Idaho Substantive Law Courses and, if the attorney has not actively practiced law for at least three (3) years prior to admission, the New Attorney Program.
Idaho Substantive Law Courses. All new active and house counsel members shall complete specific courses addressing Idaho law on ethics, civil and criminal procedure, and community property as approved by the Idaho State Bar. The four required Substantive Law Courses are available online on-demand through the Idaho State Bar website.
New Attorney Program. Attorneys who have not actively practiced law for at least three (3) years prior to admission shall complete the New Attorney Program consisting of an introduction to practice, procedure and ethics. The New Attorney Program is held twice a year in Boise in the spring and the fall on the morning of each Admission Ceremony. It is not available online or as a recorded program.
Additional NAC Credits. After completing the four Idaho Substantive Law Courses and, if required, the New Attorney Program, the attorney must complete any additional NAC credits needed to reach a total of ten (10) credits. When choosing courses, please remember to look for ones that are NAC-Approved or have the “NAC” designation. These additional credits may be live or self-study.
Under IBCR 408, an attorney whose principal office for the practice of law is not in Idaho may comply with the Idaho MCLE requirement by filing a compliance report, on a form prescribed by the ISB, certifying: (1) the attorney is subject to the mandatory CLE credit requirements in the jurisdiction where his or her principal office for the practice of law is located; (2) the attorney complied with that jurisdiction’s mandatory CLE requirements within the past three (3) years by submission and approval of the required credits; and (3) the attorney is currently in compliance with the mandatory CLE credit requirements in that jurisdiction.
It is the responsibility of each attorney to maintain records of his or her attendance at approved MCLE activities for purposes of the three-year reporting period required by the Idaho State Bar. The Idaho State Bar does keep record of organizations and attorneys who have applied for credit for a MCLE activity along with the attendance verifications received from the course sponsors. The MCLE Attendance Records are available online and are updated weekly.
The Idaho State Bar does not have to receive any form of attendance verification for an attorney to count an approved course toward meeting the MCLE requirements. Courses must be approved for Idaho MCLE credit, but inclusion of on the attendance records is not required. Adding Approved Courses to the Attendance Records.
Attorneys who cannot get a certificate of attendance from a course sponsor can file an Attorney Self-Verification of Attendance Form. The MCLE Attendance FAQs page also answers many attendance questions.
If you have questions, please contact the MCLE Department at the Idaho State Bar, PO Box 895, Boise, ID 83701 (208) 334-4500.