How to Apply for Accreditation of a CLE Program
Information for Sponsors

  1. General Overview
  2. Who can be a Sponsor of CLE Programs in Ohio?
  3. What are the basic requirements of a CLE program?
  4. Which application form should I submit to seek accreditation in Ohio?
  5. How does a Sponsor apply for accreditation of a live (i.e., not self-study) CLE program?
  6. What if my program is approved for accreditation?
  7. What if my program is denied?
  8. Additional information for live (i.e., not self-study) programs taking place outside Ohio
  9. Sponsor Obligations
  10. Applying for accreditation of a New Lawyers Training Activity
  11. Applying for Accreditation of a Special, or "In-House," Program
  12. Applying for Accreditation of a Self-Study Activity
  13. Credit for "Professional Conduct" Instruction, including Ethics, Professionalism, and Substance Abuse
  14. Applying for Pro Bono Credit
  15. Established Sponsor Status

1. General Overview

Thank you for sponsoring continuing legal education programs. Your programs help Ohio attorneys meet their CLE obligations under Rule X of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio.

The information provided in this “FAQ” is a general overview of the requirements relating to approval of CLE programs.  For more detailed information, please see Rule X and its associated Regulations.

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2. Who can be a Sponsor of CLE Programs in Ohio?

Sponsors of Ohio CLE programs are not required to be designated as an “accredited” or “approved” provider to have their programs considered and approved.  The Ohio CLE Commission (Commission) approves individual activities, not Sponsors. This means that any sponsor may submit an application for accreditation and, if the activity meets our standards, the program will be approved.

Rule X and the Regulations contain specific requirements and obligations related to sponsoring a CLE Program. For example, there are restrictions as to the manner in which a Sponsor can advertise accreditation by the Commission and there are deadlines by which a Sponsor must submit attendance credits to the Commission.  For these reasons, we strongly suggest Sponsors familiarize themselves with Rule X and the Regulations before submitting an application.

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3. What are the basic requirements of a CLE program?

Course Content

The CLE Activity shall have significant intellectual or practical content, the primary objective of which is to improve the participant’s professional competence as an Attorney or Judge.

The CLE Activity shall be an organized program of learning dealing with matters directly related to the practice of law, professional conduct or ethical obligations, law office economics, or other subjects that will maintain and improve the quality of legal services in Ohio and that promotes the purposes of Gov. Bar R. X.

A CLE Activity for judges shall be an organized program of learning dealing with matters directly related to the law or judicial administration that promotes the purposes of Gov. Jud. R. IV.

Qualifications of Lecturers

The leaders or lecturers shall be qualified by education, or have the necessary practical skill to conduct the program effectively.

Course Materials

Before or at the time of the CLE Activity, the Sponsor shall provide each attendee course materials in the form of written, electronic, or other format that are of such quality and quantity to indicate that adequate time has been devoted to their preparation and that they will be of value to the attendees.  Although a Sponsor may provide materials only in electronic format, the Sponsor shall make materials available in written format prior to the activity upon request from an attendee.

Course materials in Power Point or other format shall be subject to the same criteria as other materials.

Physical Setting of Activity

The CLE Activity must be presented in a suitable setting, conducive to a good educational environment.

Course Evaluations

The Sponsor shall develop and implement methods to evaluate its course offerings to determine their effectiveness and the extent to which they meet the needs of attendees.  Upon a request from the Commission, Sponsors must provide course evaluations.

Minimum Hour Requirement; Calculation of Credit Hours

Attendance at the activity shall be open to all attorneys and judges, and shall consist of a minimum of one uninterrupted hour of instruction.  Sixty minutes of instruction equal one credit hour.  Only time of actual instruction counts toward a credit hour.  Partial hours over the minimum of sixty minutes are rounded to the nearest one-quarter of an hour.

Credit is not awarded for breaks or opening and closing remarks.

CLE credit is not awarded for meals or presentations concurrent with the consumption of a meal for activities held prior to January 1, 2014.  However, for activities held on or after January 1, 2014, CLE credit may be awarded for meals or presentations concurrent with the consumption of a meal as long as all other requirements for CLE accreditation are met.

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4. Which application form should I submit to seek accreditation in Ohio?

Your choice of application depends on several factors, including the delivery method of your activity (e.g., in-person or self-study), your audience, and your presenters.

Application forms are available on our website at www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/attysvcs/CLE/forms/default.asp.  A description of the various types of applications follows:

Form 6, “Application for Accreditation by a General Provider”

Use this form if the primary audience of your program is a general group of attorneys, and not your own employees, members, associates, or clients.  This form is appropriate for many types of sponsors, including for-profit entities as well as membership organizations, bar associations, Inns of Court, and trade associations.

Form 8, “Application for Accreditation by In-House Sponsor”

Use this form if you are a law firm, corporation, government agency, or similar entity and the activity is primarily for the education of your employees, members, associates, or clients.  For additional information, see below, “Applying for Accreditation of a Special, or ‘In-House,’ Program.”

Form 10, "Application for Accreditation of Self-Study Activity"

Use this form if you are seeking accreditation of a “self-study” program.  For additional information, see below, “Applying for Accreditation of a Self-Study Activity.”

Form 13, “Sponsor Supplementary Application – Interdisciplinary”

Use this form if your program is not primarily designed for attorneys, but you nevertheless wish to seek accreditation from the Commission for attorneys who may attend.  This is a supplemental form that must accompany either Form 6 or Form 8, whichever is appropriate.

Form 18, “Request for Announcement” (for use by Established Sponsors only)

Use this form only if you have been designated as an Established Sponsor.  For additional information, see below, “Established Sponsor Status.”

Form 20, “Application for Accreditation of New Lawyers Training”

Use this form to seek accreditation for New Lawyers Training activities.  For additional information, see below, “Applying for Accreditation of a New Lawyers Training Activity.”

Form 21, “Application to be Recognized as an Organization Providing Pro Bono Programs or Services in Ohio.”

Pro bono program providers should complete this form to be recognized by the Commission as an organization providing pro bono programs or services in Ohio pursuant to Gov. Bar R. X, Sec. 5(H)(5).

Form 22, “Application for Accreditation of Continuing Legal Education Activity: Pro Bono Credit”

Pro bono program providers should use this form to seek CLE Credit from the Commission for their pro bono programs that will be the basis for CLE credit for their volunteer pro bono attorneys.  This form may only be submitted by a pro bono program to the Commission.

Form 23, “Application for CLE Credit for Pro Bono Legal Services”

Attorneys should complete Part I of this form to request CLE credit for the pro bono legal services they provided through a recognized pro bono program provider.  Attorneys should submit this form directly to the pro bono program through which the pro bono legal services were assigned; these forms should not be submitted to the CLE Commission.  Pro bono program providers should complete Part II of the form to calculate the number of hours of CLE credit to which a volunteer attorney may be entitled.  Pro bono programs should maintain these forms for at least two years.

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5. How does a Sponsor apply for accreditation of a live (i.e., not self-study) CLE program?

Application and Supporting Documentation

A Sponsor should submit the appropriate application form (see above, “Which application form should I submit to seek accreditation in Ohio?”) along with all required documents as requested on the application.  Generally, you will need to submit information about the CLE program, such as, a brochure describing the program, the names and qualifications of the speakers, the method or manner of presentation of materials, and a detailed time agenda.  You should not send course materials unless requested to do so by the Commission.

Special Methods of Instruction

Sponsors may utilize videotape; motion picture; audiotape; simultaneous broadcast including videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and audio-conferencing; computer-based education; or other such systems or devices provided they meet all standards of CCLE Reg. 406 in addition to the following standards:

Deadline and Fees for Courses Held in Ohio

If your program will take place in Ohio, you must submit your application, including required attachments and fees, at least sixty days in advance of the program.  The application fee for timely submissions is $25.  An additional late fee of $100 is assessed if the application is submitted less than sixty days prior to the program.

If your program will take place outside of Ohio, please see below for information on fees and deadlines.

Review of Program

Once your application is received, it will be reviewed for completeness.  Incomplete applications will be returned with a request for additional information.  The typical turnaround time for reviewing an application is about 30-45 days. You can help insure timely review of your application by filling out the application completely and submitting all required attachments.

You may track the progress of your application by using the Sponsor Portal.  Learn more about the Sponsor Portal.

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6. What if my program is approved for accreditation?

Notification of Approval

If your program is approved for accreditation, you will receive an approval letter that includes an Ohio Activity Code as well as the total number and type of hours for which your program has been approved.  Please reference the Ohio Activity Code in all correspondence and communication with this office.

The approval letter will also provide specific language you may use in your advertising materials. Please note that, until your program has been approved for accreditation, you may not advertise that it has been approved by the CLE Commission.

Sponsors must submit attendance credits to the Commission no later than thirty days after the program.  Attendance credits must be submitted through the Sponsor Portal.  Sponsors are required to retain attendance records for two years following presentation of the CLE program.

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7. What if my program is denied?

If your application is denied, you will receive a denial letter. The letter will give the reasons for denial, citing the applicable sections from the Rule and Regulations. You may file a written appeal of the denial within thirty days.

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8. Additional information for live (i.e., not self-study) programs taking place outside Ohio

If your live (i.e., not self-study) program takes place outside Ohio, you are not required to seek approval before the program is held.  However, if you do seek post-program approval, your application should be submitted no later than sixty days after the program.

No sponsor application or late fee is required for programs that take place outside Ohio.

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9. Sponsor Obligations

By submitting an application for accreditation of a CLE program, Sponsors assume numerous obligations. A summary of some of these obligations follows:

Maintaining Activity Codes Confidentially

Sponsors should not include the Activity Code on any materials provided to the attorneys before or during the program.  However, Sponsors should provide attorneys with the Activity Code at the conclusion of the program to enable attorneys to maintain accurately their own CLE records.

Monitoring of Program and Attendees

Sponsors must monitor and track when attorneys arrive and leave their activity so that they can report accurate attendance hours to the Commission.  If an attorney wishes to leave the program early and has attended at least one 60-minute substantive hour, you may give the Activity Code to the attorney when he or she leaves.

Sponsors are required to monitor the attendees and deduct absences of more than 15 minutes from an attendee’s record.

The Commission also relies on Sponsors to take reasonable efforts to insure that attendees are actively engaged in the CLE Activity.  Such reasonable efforts include, but are not limited to, an announcement at the beginning of the program and after breaks asking attendees to turn off phones and electronic devices and to put away newspapers and other materials not related to the Activity.

Reporting Attorney Credits

The Commission relies on Sponsors to report accurately and promptly attorneys’ attendance and teaching credits.  This requirement applies equally to programs taking place in Ohio and outside the state.

Requests for credit for programs that took place in Ohio must be submitted within 30 days after the program.

If you requested pre-approval of a program that took place outside Ohio, requests for credit must be submitted within 30 days after the program.

If you requested post-program approval of a program that took place outside Ohio, requests for credit must be submitted within 30 days after you receive notice of approval of the program.

Electronic Reporting

Sponsors are required to submit attendance credit through the Commission’s Sponsor Portal. Sponsors using the portal for the first time will be provided with a user name and password by the Commission.  If you have forgotten your password, click on the “Forgot Password” link to have a new password emailed to you. After you have logged in, click on “Submit Credit Spreadsheet” and follow the prompts. To log in to the sponsor portal go to https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/attysvcs/cle/sponsorportal.

Teaching credit cannot be submitted through the Sponsor Portal, but should be submitted using Form 2.  It is recommended that speakers complete Form 2 at the seminar so that sponsors can mail the completed teaching forms together to the Commission.

Recordkeeping

Sponsors are required to maintain accurate and complete records of each CLE program for two years following the program.

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10. Applying for Accreditation of a New Lawyers Training Activity

If you are seeking approval for an activity that will be accredited as New Lawyers Training instruction, you should read CCLE Reg. 414 and familiarize yourself with the specific requirements associated with this type of program.  Use Form 20 to seek accreditation of a New Lawyers Training program.

Definition of “New Lawyers Training”

A New Lawyers Training activity is an educational course for lawyers newly admitted to the practice of law that satisfies the requirements of Gov. Bar R. X, Sec. 14, and the requirements of CCLE Reg. 414, and is approved by the Commission pursuant to CCLE Reg. 414.

Eligibility for Accreditation

To be eligible for accreditation, a New Lawyers Training activity must meet the following requirements:

Submitting Attendance Credit for New Lawyers Training programs

Attendance and teaching credit should be submitted within thirty days of the program.  See, above, “Sponsor Obligations -- Electronic Reporting” for additional information regarding submission of attendance and teaching credits.

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11. Applying for Accreditation of a Special, or "In-House," Program

If you are seeking accreditation for a Special Program, you should read CCLE Reg. 407 and familiarize yourself with the specific requirements associated with these types of programs.  Use Form 8 to seek accreditation of a Special Program.

Definition of “Special Program”

A special program is defined as a CLE Activity sponsored by a law firm, corporation, governmental agency, a group of attorneys in public service, or a similar entity primarily for the education of its employees, members, associates, or clients.

Eligibility for Accreditation

To be eligible for accreditation, a Special Program must meet the standards of CCLE Regulation 407, including, but not limited to, the following requirements:

The Commission may grant a variance from the provisions of CCLE Reg. 407 upon written application to the Commission.  The variance request should accompany the completed Form 8.

Submitting Attendance Credit for Special Programs

An attendee who is associated with your organization should receive in-house credit. Please check the appropriate “in-house” box on the sponsor spreadsheet to designate those attorneys who should receive in-house credit.

An attendee who is not associated with your organization should receive regular, i.e., not in-house, CLE credit.

Teaching credit for Special Programs is reported using Form 2.

Caps on Special Program Credit Hours

Not more than twelve hours of CLE Credit for any biennial compliance period may be earned by an attorney or judge for attendance at a Special Program sponsored by an entity with which the attorney or judge is associated.

Exceptions

Effective January 1, 2014, the following exceptions shall apply:

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12. Applying for Accreditation of a Self-Study Activity

If you are seeking accreditation for a Self-Study Activity, you should read CCLE Reg. 409 and familiarize yourself with the specific requirements associated with these types of programs.  Use Form 10 to seek accreditation of a Self-Study Program.

Definition of “Self-Study Activity”

A Self-Study Activity is a CLE Activity of individualized learning engaged in by an attorney or judge outside the standard classroom or seminar setting, including but not limited to live interactive educational methods such as real-time video conference or teleconference.  Special methods of instruction pursuant to CCLE Reg. 408 using electronic methodology such as on-demand courses, DVDs, CDs, or MP3s, may be accredited as Self-Study Activities pursuant to CCLE Reg. 409.

Eligibility for Accreditation

To be eligible for accreditation, a Self-Study Activity must meet the standards of CCLE Regulation 409, including, but not limited to, the following requirements:

The Sponsor shall certify that the attorney or judge who engaged in the Self-Study Activity obtained the minimum competency and actively participated in the Activity for an amount of time equivalent to the number of CLE Credit hours requested.  Participation may be confirmed via polling, verification codes, completion of test questions demonstrating understanding of the material presented, or other methods acceptable to the Commission.

Submitting Credit for Self-Study Programs

Sponsors should report attorney credits for self-study programs to the Commission monthly.  Credits must be submitted electronically through the Sponsor Portal.

Caps on Self-Study Credit Hours

An attorney or judge may not earn more than six hours of Self-Study credit in a biennial compliance period.

Effective January 1, 2014: The cap on Self-Study hours increases to twelve hours per biennial compliance period.

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13. Credit for "Professional Conduct" Instruction, including Ethics, Professionalism, and Substance Abuse

Attorneys are required to complete two and one-half hours of CLE credit in “professional conduct” instruction, which includes one hour of ethics, one hour of professionalism, and one-half hour substance abuse instruction.  Sponsors who wish to seek accreditation in one or more of these categories should note the following definitions:

Effective January 1, 2014, attorneys still will be required to complete two and one-half hours of CLE credit in “professional conduct” instruction.  However, attorneys will no longer be required to earn one hour of ethics, one hour of professionalism, and one-half hour of substance abuse instruction.  Rather, attorneys will be allowed to choose from a variety of professional conduct topics in order to meet their two and one-half hour professional conduct requirement.

Attorneys may earn the professional conduct credits through a combination of professional conduct topics.  The instruction related to the professional conduct requirement may be obtained in a single program or in separate programs that include one or more of the subjects set forth below:

Activities held on or after January 1, 2014, that have been approved for “ethics,” “professionalism,” or “substance abuse” instruction under the former rule, will be deemed to have met the requirement for “professional conduct” instruction under the amended rule.

When submitting an application that includes a request for professional conduct credit, be sure to clearly mark on the agenda those sessions you wish to have considered for such credit.  It is also recommended that you submit a few pages of the course materials for these sessions so that the Commission can determine whether they meet the requirements for accreditation as professional conduct instruction.

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14. Applying for Pro Bono Credit

Effective January 1, 2014, attorneys may be eligible to receive CLE credit for providing certain types of pro bono legal services.  Pro bono programs that wish to seek pro bono credit for their volunteer attorneys should read Gov. Bar R. X, Sec. 5(H) and CCLE Reg. 415.

Definition of “Pro Bono” CLE Credit

The provision of legal services by a volunteer attorney to either a person of limited means or a charitable organization in which the legal service is assigned, verified, and reported to the Commission by any of the following:

  1. An organization receiving funding for pro bono programs or services from the Legal Services Corporation or the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation.
  2. A metropolitan or county bar association.
  3. The Ohio State Bar Association.
  4. The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation.
  5. Any other organization recognized by the Commission as providing pro bono programs or services in Ohio.

Eligibility for Accreditation

Volunteer attorneys may not seek CLE credit for their pro bono legal services on their own.  They must seek such credit through application with the pro bono sponsor, which is responsible for submitting CLE credits to the Commission.

For purposes of CLE accreditation, pro bono sponsors are deemed to be “sponsors” as defined in Gov. Bar R. X and the CLE Regulations and, to the extent applicable, are required to comply with all sponsor obligations as set forth in the rule and regulations, such as maintaining records of pro bono work engaged in by their volunteer attorneys, verifying attorney pro bono hours, and submitting attorney pro bono hours for CLE credit to the Commission.

Process for Seeking CLE Credit for Volunteer Attorneys

If the pro bono program needs to be recognized by the Commission as providing pro bono programs or services in Ohio (see, Gov. Bar R. X, Sec. 5(H)(5)), the program must first complete a Form 21.  If, after review of the Form 21, the program is recognized by the Commission, the program then should submit a Form 22 for accreditation of its specific pro bono program.

Pro bono programs that wish to seek CLE credit for their volunteer attorneys must complete a Form 22 for submission to the Commission.  If the application is approved, the pro bono program will be provided with an Activity Code that the program will use to submit attorney attendance credits to the Commission.  The program approval will be for one calendar year.  Pro bono programs must resubmit a Form 22 for each year in which it seeks CLE credit for its attorneys.

Reporting Pro Bono CLE Credit to the Commission

Attorneys who wish to receive CLE Credit for their pro bono legal services should complete Part I of Form 23 for submission to the pro bono program.  The pro bono program should review the information provided by the attorney for completeness and accuracy.  After the sponsor has verified the information submitted by the attorney in Part I of Form 23, the sponsor should complete Part II of Form 23 to calculate the number of CLE Credit hours to which the attorney is entitled.  The pro bono program is responsible for submitting these credit hours to the CLE Commission through the Sponsor Portal. Sponsors should retain the originals of Form 23 for two years.

Calculation of CLE Credit

Attorneys are eligible to receive one CLE credit hour for every six hours of pro bono legal services performed.  Pro bono programs are responsible for verifying the number of pro bono hours their volunteer attorneys have worked and dividing the total number of hours by six before submitting the CLE credit hours to the Commission.  An attorney must provide a minimum of six hours of pro bono legal services to be eligible to receive one hour of CLE credit.  After the minimum one-hour threshold has been met, additional pro bono hours will be rounded to the nearest quarter hour.  For example, if an attorney provides six hours of pro bono legal services, the attorney would receive one hour of CLE credit; if the attorney provides nine hours of pro bono legal services, the attorney would receive 1.5 hours of CLE credit; if the attorney provides ten hours of pro bono legal services, the attorney would receive 1.75 hours of CLE credit.

Pro bono programs should submit CLE credit for their volunteer attorneys no later than thirty days following the end of the calendar year in which the pro bono services were performed.

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15. Established Sponsor Status

The Commission may, upon submission of an application in a manner authorized by the Commission, designate Established Sponsors of CLE Activities.

Established Sponsors of Live Programs

The Commission may grant to a sponsor of CLE Activities the designation as an Established Sponsor if (1) the Sponsor is not primarily a provider of Special Programs and (2) the Sponsor demonstrates to the Commission, by clear and convincing evidence, that its CLE Activities have consistently met the standards set forth in CCLE Reg. 406.

Established Sponsors of Self-Study Programs

Effective January 1, 2014, the Commission may grant to a Sponsor of Self-Study Activities the designation as an Established Self-Study Sponsor if the Sponsor demonstrates to the Commission, by clear and convincing evidence, that its Self-Study Activities have consistently met the standards set forth in CCLE Reg. 409.

General Requirements for Established Sponsors and Established Self-Study Sponsors

Designation as an Established Sponsor or Established Self-Study Sponsor shall be for one year, subject to annual renewal if the sponsor continues to meet the Established Sponsor criteria.  Established Sponsor designation may be revoked if the Commission determines that the quality of the sponsors’ activities do not meet the standards set forth in the CLE Regulations; the annual fee has not been paid; or the Commission finds violations of any other applicable CLE Regulations.

Except for New Lawyers Training courses, CLE Activities held by an Established Sponsor and Self-Study Activities held by an Established Self-Study Sponsor shall be deemed to be approved and shall not be subject to the approval process set forth in the CLE Regulations.  However, individual activities presented by an Established Sponsor and Established Self-Study Sponsor may be reviewed and subject to denial if they do not meet the requirements of Gov. Bar R. X or the CLE Regulations.

Established Sponsors and Established Self-Study Sponsors shall pay the annual $400 fee on or before March 1 of each year.

An Established Sponsor shall announce each CLE Activity in a manner required by the Commission at least thirty days prior to the presentation of the Activity.

An Established Self-Study Sponsor shall announce each Self-Study Activity in a manner required by the Commission at least thirty days prior to the initial availability of the Self-Study Activity.

Law Schools accredited by the American Bar Association

An ABA-accredited law school acting as a sponsor of CLE activities shall be considered an Established Sponsor.

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More Information

For additional information, please contact the Office of Attorney Services at ccle@sc.ohio.gov or at 614.387.9320, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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