The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that attorneys with a June 30, 2020 MCLE compliance deadline may opt for a three-month extension at no cost if they choose the option by July 31, 2020. Hundreds of free accredited courses are available, including the ISBA’s member-only 15 hours of free CLE per bar year (which ends June 30), sponsored by the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company.
The full press release is as follows:
The Illinois Supreme Court recognizes that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attorneys with last names beginning A-M in the 2018-2020 reporting period may be unable to complete their continuing education credits by the upcoming June 30, 2020 deadline. In consultation with the MCLE Board, the Court has decided to provide every attorney in this group the option to secure a no-cost, three-month extension to complete those credits. An attorney secures that extension by submitting an online report to the Board no later than July 31, 2020.
The Board’s online reporting system at www.mcleboard.org is available now for attorneys in the 2018-2020 reporting period. Attorneys who complete their credits by June 30, 2020 will report compliance at any time by July 31, 2020 at no cost.
For attorneys who do not complete their credits by June 30, 2020, they will report “Not Yet Complied” to the Board online at www.mcleboard.org by July 31, 2020 to secure the three-month extension at no cost. No reason for the extension is needed. Those attorneys then have until September 30, 2020 to complete their credits and report compliance to the Board.
Announcing these changes, Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said, “with more than 42,000 active status attorneys in this reporting group, the Court is mindful of the range of challenges in attorneys’ professional and personal lives caused by this pandemic. Allowing attorneys to claim a three-month extension at no cost permits those facing the June 30, 2020 compliance deadline the option to secure additional time to complete their continuing legal education requirements.”
Illinois attorneys may earn all of their MCLE credits through accredited distance learning options, such as live video or audio courses or recorded sessions. With more than 21,000 Illinois-accredited distance learning options available, an attorney can set the time, place, and pace of their learning without travel or exposure to large groups. You can search for courses using the Board’s online course search page, setting parameters such as your preferred date and location.
Further, hundreds of free accredited courses are available. Three Court entities offer free online courses: the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, the Commission on Professionalism, and the Lawyers’ Assistance Program. Many of their courses provide professional responsibility credits, including mental health/substance abuse and diversity/inclusion sessions. To search for other free courses, access the Board’s online course search page, then enter 0 in the “Cost No More Than” field along with any other parameters.
Any attorney encountering difficulties in completing their MCLE credits by either the June 30, 2020 or September 30, 2020 deadline is encouraged to contact the MCLE Board at 312-924-2420.
“The Board staff is highly skilled at working with individual attorneys who are facing health, financial, or other challenges. We offer this service in every reporting period, but we recognize that the need is even greater now,” said Michele M. Jochner, MCLE Board chair, a partner at Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck LLP.
Here are the details for an attorney to choose between the June 30, 2020 deadline and the September 30, 2020 deadline:
- Option 1: Keeping June 30, 2020 compliance deadlineFor an attorney who completes the required credits or has a valid out-of-state exemption by June 30, 2020, that attorney reports “Complied” or the exemption on the Board’s website, by July 31, 2020. No other report is needed, and no fee is due.
- Option 2: Selecting the September 30, 2020 deadlineTo choose this option, the attorney reports “Not Yet Complied” on the Board’s website, no later than July 31, 2020. With that report, the attorney obtains a new deadline of September 30, 2020, to complete the required credits and report compliance online to the Board. No fee is due this year for securing this new deadline.
Please note: If an attorney fails to submit a report choosing Option 1 or Option 2 no later than July 31, 2020, the attorney will incur a $250 late fee and need to complete their credits and report compliance to the Board no later than September 30, 2020.