M.R. 3140

IN THE

SUPREME COURT

OF

THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Order entered September 29, 2005.

(Deleted material is struck through and new material is underscored, except in Article VII, Part C (Minimum Continuing Legal Education) and Part D (Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism), which are entirely new.)

Effective immediately, Supreme Court Rules 751, 756 and 759 are amended, and Parts C and D of Article VII are adopted, as follows:

 

Amended Rule 751

Rule 751. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission

(a) Authority of the Commission. The registration of, and disciplinary proceedings affecting, members of the Illinois bar shall be under the administrative supervision of an Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

(b) Membership and Terms. The Commission shall consist of four members of the Illinois bar and three nonlawyers appointed by the Supreme Court. One member shall be designated by the court as chairperson. Unless the court specifies a shorter term, all members shall be appointed for three-year terms and shall serve until their successors are appointed. Any member of the Commission may be removed by the court at any time, without cause.

(c) Compensation. None of the members of the Commission shall receive compensation for serving as such, but all members shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses.

(d) Quorum. Four members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The concurrence of four members shall be required for all action taken by the Commission.

(e) Duties. The Commission shall have the following duties:

(1) to appoint, with the approval of the Supreme Court, an administrator to serve as the principal executive officer of the registration and disciplinary system. The Administrator shall receive such compensation as the Commission authorizes from time to time;

(2) to make rules for disciplinary proceedings not inconsistent with the rules of this court;

(3) to supervise the activities of the Administrator; supervision of the Administrator shall include review, after the fact, of representative samples of investigative matters concluded by the Administrator without reference to the Inquiry Board;

(4) to authorize the Administrator to hire attorneys, investigators and clerical personnel and to set the salaries of such persons;

(5) to appoint from time to time, as it may deem appropriate, members of the bar to serve as commissioners in addition to those provided for in Rule 753;

(6) to collect and administer the disciplinary fund provided for in Rule 756, to collect and remit to the Lawyers’ Assistance Program Fund the fee described in Rule 756(a)(1) and the Lawyers’ Assistance Program Act (30 ILCS 105/5.570), to collect and remit to the Lawyers Trust Fund the fee described in Rule 756(a)(1), to collect and remit to the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism the fee described in Rule 756(a)(1) and, on or before April 30 of each year, file with the court an accounting of the monies received and expended for disciplinary activities and fees remitted to the Lawyers’ Assistance Program Fund, and the Lawyers Trust Fund, and the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, and a report of such activities for the previous calendar year, which shall be published by the court, and there shall be an independent annual audit of the disciplinary fund as directed by the court, the expenses of which shall be paid out of the fund;

(7) to submit an annual report to the court evaluating the effectiveness of the registration and disciplinary system and recommending any changes it deems desirable; and

(8) to develop a comprehensive orientation program for new members of the Inquiry Board and implement that program.

Adopted January 25, 1973, effective February 1, 1973; amended effective May 17, 1973, April 1, 1974, and May 21, 1975; amended August 9, 1983, effective October 1, 1983; amended April 10, 1987, effective August 1, 1987; amended June 4, 1987, effective immediately; amended March 17, 1988, effective immediately; amended October 13, 1989, effective immediately; amended October 4, 2002, effective immediately; amended September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Amended Rule 756

Rule 756. Registration and Fees

(a) Annual Registration Required. Except as hereinafter provided, every attorney admitted to practice law in this State shall register and pay an annual registration fee to the Commission on or before the first day of January. Until further order of the court, the following schedule shall apply:

(1) No registration fee is required of an attorney admitted to the bar less than one year before the first day of January for which the registration fee is due; an attorney admitted to the bar for more than one year but less than three years before the first day of January for which the registration fee is due shall pay an annual registration fee of $90; an attorney admitted to the bar for more than three years before the first day of January for which the registration fee is due shall pay an annual registration fee of $229 $239, out of which $7 shall be remitted to the Lawyers’ Assistance Program Fund, and out of which $42 shall be remitted to the Lawyers Trust Fund, and $10 shall be remitted to the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. For purposes of this rule, the time shall be computed from the date of an attorney's initial admission to practice in any jurisdiction in the United States.

(2) An attorney in the Armed Forces of the United States shall be exempt from paying a registration fee until the first day of January following discharge.

(3) An attorney who has reached the age of 75 years shall be excused from the further payment of registration fees.

(4) No registration fee is required of any attorney during the period he or she may be serving in the office of justice, judge, associate judge or magistrate of a court of the United States of America or the State of Illinois or the office of judicial law clerk, administrative assistant, secretary or assistant secretary to such a justice, judge, associate judge or magistrate, or during any period in which he or she is receiving a retirement annuity pursuant to Title 28, Chapter 17 of the United States Code or Chapter 40, Act 5, Article 18 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

(5) An attorney may advise the Administrator in writing that he or she desires to assume inactive status and, thereafter, register as an inactive status attorney. The annual registration fee for an inactive status attorney shall be $90. Upon such registration, the attorney shall be placed upon inactive status and shall no longer be eligible to practice law or hold himself or herself out as being authorized to practice law in this State. An attorney who is on the master roll as an inactive status attorney may advise the Administrator in writing that he or she desires to resume the practice of law, and thereafter register as active upon payment of the registration fee required under this rule and submission of verification from the Director of MCLE that he or she has complied with MCLE requirements as set forth in Rule 790 et seq. If the attorney returns from inactive status after having paid the inactive status fee for the year, the attorney shall pay the difference between the inactive status registration fee and the registration fee required under paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(4) of this rule. Inactive status under this rule does not include inactive disability status as described in Rules 757 and 758. Any lawyer on inactive disability status is not required to pay an annual fee.

(6) An attorney may advise the Administrator in writing that he or she desires to assume retirement status and, thereafter, register as a retired attorney. Upon such registration, the attorney shall be placed upon retirement status and shall no longer be eligible to practice law or hold himself or herself out as being authorized to practice law in this state. The retired attorney is relieved thereafter from the annual obligation to register and pay the registration fee. A retired attorney may advise the Administrator in writing that he or she desires to register as an active or inactive status lawyer and, thereafter so register upon payment of the fee required for the current year for that registration status, plus the annual registration fee that the attorney would have been required to pay if registered as active for each of the years during which the attorney was on retirement status. If the lawyer seeks to register as active, he or she must also submit, as part of registering, verification from the Director of MCLE of the lawyer’s compliance with MCLE requirements as set forth in Rule 790 et seq.

(7) An attorney who is on voluntary inactive status pursuant to former Rule 770 who wishes to register for any year after 1999 shall file a petition for restoration under Rule 759. If the petition is granted, the attorney shall advise the Administrator in writing whether he or she wishes to register as active, inactive or retired, and shall pay the fee required for that status for the year in which the restoration order is entered. Any such attorney who petitions for restoration after December 31, 2000, shall pay a sum equal to the annual registration fees that the attorney would have been required to pay for each full year after 1999 during which the attorney remained on Rule 770 inactive status without payment of a fee.

(8) Upon written application and for good cause shown, the Administrator may excuse the payment of any registration fee in any case in which payment thereof will cause undue hardship to the attorney.

(b) The Master Roll. The Administrator shall prepare a master roll of attorneys consisting of the names of attorneys who have registered and have paid or are exempt from paying the registration fee. The Administrator shall maintain the master roll in a current status. At all times a copy of the master roll shall be on file in the office of the clerk of the court. An attorney who is not listed on the master roll is not entitled to practice law or to hold himself or herself out as authorized to practice law in this State. An attorney listed on the master roll as on inactive or retirement status shall not be entitled to practice law or to hold himself or herself out as authorized to practice law in Illinois.

(c) Notice of Registration. On or before the first day of November of each year the Administrator shall mail to each attorney on the master roll a notice that annual registration is required on or before the first day of January of the following year. It is the responsibility of each attorney on the master roll to notify the Administrator of any change of address within 30 days of the change. Failure to receive the notice from the Administrator shall not constitute an excuse for failure to register.

(d) Disclosure of Trust Accounts. As part of registering under this rule, each lawyer shall identify any and all accounts maintained by the lawyer during the preceding 12 months to hold property of clients or third persons in the lawyer's possession in connection with a representation, as required under Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, by providing the account name, account number and financial institution for each account. For each account, the lawyer shall also indicate whether each account is an IOLTA account, as defined in Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. If a lawyer does not maintain a trust account, the lawyer shall state the reason why no such account is required.

(e) Disclosure of Malpractice Insurance. As part of registering under this rule, each lawyer shall disclose whether the lawyer has malpractice insurance on the date of the registration, and if so, shall disclose the dates of coverage for the policy. The Administrator may conduct random audits to assure the accuracy of information reported. Each lawyer shall maintain, for a period of seven years from the date the coverage is reported, documentation showing the name of the insurer, the policy number, the amount of coverage and the term of the policy, and shall produce such documentation upon the Administrator's request. The requirements of this subsection shall not apply to attorneys serving in the office of justice, judge, associate judge or magistrate as defined in subparagraph (a)(4) of this rule on the date of registration.

(f) Removal from the Master Roll. On February 1 of each year the Administrator shall remove from the master roll the name of any person who has not registered for that year. A lawyer will be deemed not registered for the year if the lawyer has failed to provide trust account information required by paragraph (d) of this rule or if the lawyer has failed to provide information concerning malpractice coverage required by paragraph (e) of this rule. Any person whose name is not on the master roll and who practices law or who holds himself or herself out as being authorized to practice law in this State is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and may also be held in contempt of the court.

(g) Reinstatement to the Master Roll. An attorney whose name has been removed from the master roll solely for failure to register and pay the registration fee may be reinstated as a matter of course upon registering and paying the registration fee prescribed for the period of his suspension, plus the sum of $10 per month for each month that such registration fee is delinquent.

(h) No Effect on Disciplinary Proceedings. The provisions of this rule pertaining to registration status shall not bar, limit or stay any disciplinary investigations or proceedings against an attorney.

Adopted January 25, 1973, effective February 1, 1973; amended effective May 17, 1973, April 1, 1974, and February 17, 1977; amended August 9, 1983, effective October 1, 1983; amended April 27, 1984, and June 1, 1984, effective July 1, 1984; amended July 1, 1985, effective August 1, 1985; amended effective November 1, 1986; amended December 1, 1988, effective December 1, 1988; amended November 20, 1991, effective immediately; amended June 29, 1999, effective November 1, 1999; amended July 6, 2000, effective November 1, 2000; amended July 26, 2001, effective immediately; amended October 4, 2002, effective immediately; amended June 15, 2004, effective October 1, 2004; amended May 23, 2005, effective immediately; amended September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Amended Rule 759

Rule 759. Restoration to Active Status

(a) Petition. An attorney transferred to disability inactive status under the provisions of Rules 757, 758 or, prior to November 1, 1999, pursuant to Rule 770 may file a petition with the court for restoration to active status. The petition must be accompanied by verification from the Director of MCLE that the attorney has complied with MCLE requirements as set forth in Rule 790 et seq. A copy of the petition shall be served on the Administrator, who shall have 21 days to answer the petition. If the Administrator consents or fails to file exceptions in the answer to the petition, the court may order that the petitioner be restored to active status without a hearing. If the Administrator excepts to the petition in the answer, the petition and answer shall be referred to the Hearing Board, which shall hear the matter.

(b) Hearing and Review Procedure. The hearing and review procedure shall be the same as provided in Rule 753 for disciplinary cases.

(c) Disposition. The court may impose reasonable conditions upon an attorney’s restoration to active status as may be warranted by the circumstances. A restoration ordered under this rule shall be effective seven days after entry of the court’s order allowing the petition provided that the petitioner produces to the Administrator within the seven days verification from the Director of MCLE that the attorney has complied with MCLE requirements as set forth in Rule 790 et seq.

(d) Resumption of Disciplinary Proceedings. If an attorney is restored to active status, disciplinary proceedings pending against the attorney may be resumed.

Adopted March 30, 1973, effective April 1, 1973; amended September 8, 1975, effective October 1, 1975; amended June 1, 1984, effective July 1, 1984; amended October 16, 1990, effective November 1, 1990; amended June 29, 1999, effective November 1, 1999; amended September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

 

PART C. MINIMUM CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION

Preamble

The public contemplates that attorneys will maintain certain standards of professional competence throughout their careers in the practice of law. The following rules regarding Minimum Continuing Legal Education are intended to assure that those attorneys licensed to practice law in Illinois remain current regarding the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the professional responsibilities and obligations of their respective practices and thereby improve the standards of the profession in general.

 

Rule 790. Title and Purpose

These rules shall be known as the Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rules ("Rules"). The purpose of the Rules is to establish a program for Minimum Continuing Legal Education ("MCLE"), which shall operate as an arm of the Supreme Court of Illinois.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 791. Persons Subject to MCLE Requirements

(a) Scope and Exemptions

These Rules shall apply to every attorney admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois, except for the following persons, who shall be exempt from the Rules’ requirements:

(1) All attorneys on inactive or retirement status pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 756(a)(5) or (a)(6), respectively;

(2) All attorneys on disability inactive status pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 757 or 758;

(3) All attorneys serving in the office of justice, judge, associate judge, or magistrate of any federal or state court;

(4) All attorneys licensed to practice law in Illinois who are on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, until their release from active military service and their return to the active practice of law;

(5) An attorney otherwise subject to this rule who is also a member of the bar of another state which has a minimum continuing education requirement, who is regularly engaged in the practice of law in that state, and who has appropriate proof that he or she is in full compliance with the continuing legal education requirements established by court rule or legislation in that state; and

(6) In rare cases, upon a clear showing of good cause, the Board may grant a temporary exemption to an attorney from the Minimum Continuing Legal Education ("MCLE") requirements, or an extension of time in which to satisfy them. Good cause for an exemption or extension may exist in the event of illness, financial hardship, or other extraordinary or extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the attorney.

(b) Full Exemptions

An attorney shall be exempt from these Rules for an entire reporting period applicable to that attorney, if:

(1) The attorney is exempt from these Rules pursuant to paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4) or (a)(5), on the last day of that reporting period; or

(2) The attorney is exempt from these Rules pursuant to paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4) or (a)(5), for at least 365 days of that reporting period; or

(3) The attorney receives a temporary exemption from the Board pursuant to paragraph (a)(6), for that reporting period.

(c) Partial Exemptions

An attorney who is exempt from these Rules for more than 60, but less than 365, days of a two-year reporting period, and who is not exempt for the entire reporting period pursuant to paragraph (b), shall be required to earn one-half of the CLE activity hours that would otherwise be required pursuant to Rule 794(a) and (d).

(d) Nonexemptions

An attorney who is exempt from these Rules for less than 61 days during a two-year reporting period, and who is not exempt for the entire reporting period pursuant to paragraph (b), shall be required to earn all of the CLE activity hours required pursuant to Rules 794(a) and (d).

(e) Resuming Active Status

An attorney who was exempt from these Rules, pursuant to paragraphs (b)(1) or (b)(2), above, for the attorney’s last completed reporting period because the attorney was on inactive, retirement or disability inactive status pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 756(a)(5) or (a)(6), 757 or 758, shall upon return to active status, have 24 months to complete the deferred CLE requirements, not to exceed two times the requirement for the current two-year reporting period, in addition to the CLE credit required for the current two-year reporting period.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 792. The MCLE Board

(a) Administration

The administration of the program for MCLE shall be under the supervision of the Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board ("Board").

(b) Selection of Members; Qualifications; Terms

(1) The Board shall consist of nine members, appointed by the Supreme Court ("Court"). At least one member shall be a nonattorney; at least one member shall be a circuit court judge. The Executive Director of the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism shall serve as an ex-officio member in addition to the nine members appointed by the Court but shall have no vote.

(2) The Court’s appointments may be made from among those candidates who have submitted resumes and other supporting documents.

(3) To be eligible for service on the Board, an attorney candidate must have actively practiced law in Illinois for a minimum of 10 years.

(4) Three members, including the chairperson, shall initially be appointed to a three-year term. Three members shall be appointed to an initial two-year term, and three members shall be appointed to an initial one-year term. Thereafter, all members shall be appointed or re-appointed to three-year terms.

(5) Board members shall be limited to serving two consecutive terms.

(6) No individual may be appointed to the Board who stands to gain financially, directly or indirectly, from accreditation or other decisions made by the Board.

(7) Any member of the Board may be removed by the Court at any time, without cause.

(8) Should a vacancy occur, the Court shall appoint a replacement to serve for the unexpired term of the member.

(9) Board members shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in performing their official duties, including reasonable travel costs to and from Board meetings.

(10) The chairperson shall be appointed by the Court. Other officers shall be elected by the members of the Board at the first meeting of each year.

(c) Powers and Duties

The Board shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) To recommend to the Court rules and regulations for MCLE not inconsistent with the rules of the Court and these Rules, including fees sufficient to ensure that the MCLE program is financially self-supporting; to implement MCLE rules and regulations adopted by the Court; and to adopt forms necessary to insure attorneys’ compliance with the rules and regulations.

(2) To meet at least twice a year, or more frequently as needed, either in person, by conference telephone communications, or by electronic means. Five members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. A majority of the quorum present shall be required for any official action taken by the Board.

(3) To accredit commercial and noncommercial continuing legal education ("CLE") courses and activities, and to determine the number of hours to be awarded for attending such courses or participating in such activities.

(4) To review applications for accreditation of those courses, activities or portions of either that are offered to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement in Rule 794(d)(1) for conformity with the accreditation standards and hours enumerated in Rule 795, exclusive of review as to substantive content. Those courses and activities determined to be in conformance shall be referred to the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for substantive review and approval as provided in Rules 799(c)(5) and (d)(6)(i). Professional responsibility courses or activities approved by both the Commission on Professionalism and the MCLE Board as specified in this subsection shall be eligible for accreditation by the MCLE Board.

(5) To submit an annual report to the Court evaluating the effectiveness of the MCLE Rules and the quality of the CLE courses, and presenting the Board’s recommendations, if any, for changes in the Rules or their implementation, a financial report for the previous fiscal year, and its recommendations for the new fiscal year. There shall be an independent annual audit of the MCLE fund as directed by the Court, the expenses of which shall be paid out of the fund. The audit shall be submitted as part of the annual report to the Court.

(6) To coordinate its administrative responsibilities with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ("ARDC"), and to reimburse expenses incurred by the ARDC attributable to enforcement of MCLE requirements.

(7) To take all action reasonably necessary to implement, administer and enforce these rules and the decisions of the MCLE Director, staff and Board.

(8) To establish policies and procedures for notification and reimbursement of course fees, if appropriate, in those instances where course accreditation is withheld or withdrawn.

(d) Administration

The Board shall appoint, with the approval of the Supreme Court, a Director of MCLE ("Director") to serve as the principal executive officer of the MCLE program. The Director, with the Board’s authorization, will hire sufficient staff to administer the program. The Board will delegate to the Director and staff authority to conduct the business of the Board within the scope of this Rule, subject to review by the Board. The Director and staff shall be authorized to acquire or rent physical space, computer hardware and software systems and other items and services necessary to the administration of the MCLE program.

(e) Funding

The MCLE program shall initially be funded in a manner to be determined by the Court. Thereafter, funding shall be derived solely from the fees charged to CLE providers and from late fees and reinstatement fees assessed to individual attorneys. This schedule of CLE provider fees, late fees, and reinstatement fees must be approved by the Court, and any reference in these Rules to a fee assessed or set by the Board means a fee based on the Court-approved fee schedule.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 793. Basic Skills Course Requirement

(a) Scope

Except as specified in paragraph (f), every Illinois attorney admitted to practice after December 31, 2005, must complete a Basic Skills Course, totaling at least 15 actual hours of instruction.

(b) Completion Deadline

The course must be completed within one year of the newly admitted attorney’s admission to practice in Illinois.

(c) Topics

The course shall cover such topics as the jurisdiction of local courts, local court rules, filing requirements for various government agencies, how to draft pleadings and other documents, practice techniques and procedures under the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, client communications, use of trust accounts, required record keeping and other rudimentary elements of practice.

(d) Exemption From Other Requirements

During this period, the newly admitted lawyer shall be exempt from the other MCLE requirements.

(e) Initial Reporting Period

The newly admitted attorney’s initial two-year reporting period for complying with the MCLE requirements contained in Rule 794 shall commence, following the deadline for the attorney to complete the Basic Skills Course, on the next July 1 of an even-numbered year for lawyers whose last names begin with a letter A through M, and on the next July 1 of an odd-numbered year for lawyers whose last names begin with a letter N through Z.

(f) Prior Practice

The Basic Skills Course requirement does not apply to attorneys who are admitted in Illinois after practicing law in other states for a period of one year or more.

(g) Approval

The Basic Skills Course shall be offered by CLE providers, including "in-house" program providers, authorized by the Board after its approval of the provider’s planned curriculum. Courses shall be offered throughout the state and at reasonable cost.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 794. Continuing Legal Education Requirement.

(a) Hours Required

Except as provided by Rules 791 or 793, every Illinois attorney subject to these Rules shall be required to complete 20 hours of CLE activity during the initial two-year reporting period (as determined on the basis of the lawyer’s last name pursuant to paragraph (b), below) ending on June 30 of either 2008 or 2009, 24 hours of CLE activity during the two-year reporting period ending on June 30 of either 2010 or 2011, and 30 hours of CLE activity during all subsequent two-year reporting periods.

(b) Reporting Period

The applicable two-year reporting period shall begin on July 1 of even-numbered years for lawyers whose last names begin with the letters A through M, and on July 1 of odd-numbered years for lawyers whose last names begin with the letters N through Z.

(c) Carryover of Hours

(1) All CLE activity hours may be earned in one year or split in any manner between the two-year reporting period. If an attorney earns more than the required CLE hours in a two-year reporting period, the attorney may carry over a maximum of 10 hours earned during that period to the next reporting period, except for professional responsibility credits referred to in paragraph (d).

(2) A newly admitted attorney may carry over to his or her first two-year reporting period a maximum of 10 CLE activity hours (except for professional responsibility credits referred to in paragraph (d)) earned after completing the Basic Skills Course requirement pursuant to Rule 793.

(3) An attorney, other than a newly admitted attorney, may carry over to his or her first two-year reporting period a maximum of 10 CLE activity hours (except for professional responsibility credits referred to in paragraph (d)) earned between January 1, 2006, and the beginning of that period.

(d) Professional Responsibility Requirement

(1) A minimum of four of the total hours required for any two-year period must be in the area of professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics.

(2) Such credit may be obtained either by:

(i) Taking a separate CLE course or courses, or participating in other eligible CLE activity under these Rules, specifically devoted to professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics; or

(ii) Taking a CLE course or courses, or participating in other eligible CLE activity under these Rules, a portion of which is specifically devoted to professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics credit. Only that portion of a course or activity specifically devoted to professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics shall receive CLE credit for the professional responsibility requirement of this paragraph.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 795. Accreditation Standards and Hours

(a) Standards

Eligible CLE courses and activities shall satisfy the following standards:

(1) The course or activity must have significant intellectual, educational or practical content, and its primary objective must be to increase each participant’s professional competence as an attorney.

(2) The course or activity must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law.

(3) The course or activity must be offered by a provider having substantial, recent experience in offering CLE or demonstrated ability to organize and effectively present CLE. Demonstrated ability arises partly from the extent to which individuals with legal training or educational experience are involved in the planning, instruction and supervision of the activity.

(4) The course or activity itself must be conducted by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience. The course or activity, including the named advertised participants, must be conducted substantially as planned, subject to emergency withdrawals and alterations.

(5) Thorough, high quality, readable and carefully prepared written materials should be made available to all participants at or before the time the course is presented, unless the absence of such materials is recognized as reasonable and approved by the Board.

(6) Traditional CLE courses or activities shall be conducted in a physical setting conducive to learning. The course or activity may be presented by remote or satellite television transmission, telephone or videophone conference call, videotape, film, audio tape or over a computer network, so long as the Board approves the content and the provider, and finds that the method in question has interactivity as a key component. Such interactivity may be shown, for example, by the opportunity for the viewers or listeners to ask questions of the course faculty, in person, via telephone, or on-line; or through the availability of a qualified commentator to answer questions directly, electronically, or in writing; or through computer links to relevant cases, statutes, law review articles, or other sources.

(7) The course or activity must consist of not less than one-half hour of actual instruction, unless the Board determines that a specific program of less than one-half hour warrants accreditation.

(8) A list of the names of all participants for each course or activity shall be maintained by the provider for a period of at least three years. The provider shall issue a certificate, in written or electronic form, to each participant evincing his or her attendance. Such lists and certificates shall state the number of CLE hours, including professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics CLE hours, earned at that course or activity.

(b) Accredited CLE Provider

The Board may extend presumptive approval to a provider for all of the CLE courses or activities presented by that provider each year that conform to paragraph (a)’s Standards (1) through (8), upon written application to be an "Accredited Continuing Legal Education Provider." Such accreditation shall constitute prior approval of all CLE courses offered by such providers. However, the Board may withhold accreditation or limit hours for any course found not to meet the standards, and may revoke accreditation for any organization which is found not to comply with standards. The Board shall assess an annual fee, over and above the fees assessed to the provider for each course, for the privilege of being an "Accredited Continuing Legal Education Provider."

(c) Accreditation of Individual Courses or Activities

(1) Any provider not included in paragraph (b) desiring advance accreditation of an individual course or other activity shall apply to the Board by submitting a required application form, the course advance accreditation fee set by the Board, and supporting documentation no less than 45 days prior to the date for which the course or activity is scheduled. Documentation shall include a statement of the provider’s intention to comply with the accreditation standards of this Rule, the written materials distributed to participants at the two most recently produced courses or activities, if available, or an outline of the proposed courses or activities and list of instructors, and such further information as the Board shall request. The Board staff will advise the applicant in writing by mail within 30 days of the receipt of the completed application of its approval or disapproval.

(2) Providers denied prior approval of a course or activity or individual attorneys who have attended such course or activity may request reconsideration of the Board’s initial decision by filing a form approved by the Board. The Board shall consider the request within 30 days of its receipt, and promptly notify the provider and/or the individual attorney.

(3) Providers who do not seek prior approval of their course or activity may apply for approval for the course or activity after its presentation by submitting an application provided by MCLE staff, the supporting documentation described above, and the accreditation fee set by the Board.

(4) A list of the names of participants shall be maintained by the provider for a period of three years. The provider shall issue a certificate, in written or electronic form, to each participant evincing his or her attendance. Such lists and certificates shall state the number of CLE hours, including professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics CLE hours, earned at that course or activity.

(d) Nontraditional Courses or Activities

In addition to traditional CLE courses, the following courses or activities will receive CLE credit:

(1) "In-House" Programs. Attendance at "in-house" seminars, courses, lectures or other CLE activity presented by law firms, corporate legal departments, governmental agencies or similar entities, either individually or in cooperation with other such entities, subject to the following conditions:

(i) The CLE course or activity must meet the rules and regulations for any other CLE provider, as applicable.

(ii) Specifically, the course or activity must have significant intellectual, educational or practical content, its primary objective must be to increase the participant’s professional competence as an attorney, and it must deal primarily with matter related to the practice of law, professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility or ethical obligations of attorneys. No credit will be afforded for discussions relating to the handling of specific cases, or issues relating to the management of a specific law firm, corporate law department, governmental agency or similar entity.

(iii) The course or activity shall be submitted for approval on an individual course or activity basis rather than on a Presumptively Accredited Continuing Legal Education Provider basis.

(iv) The application, including all written materials or an abstract thereof, should be filed with the Board at least 30 days prior to the date on which the course or activity is to be held in order for a prior determination of acceptability to be made. However, prior approval by the Board shall not be required.

(v) Only courses or activities that have at least five attorney participants shall qualify for CLE credit. The attorneys need not be associated with the same firm, corporation or governmental agency.

(vi) Experienced attorneys must contribute to the teaching, and efforts should be made to achieve a balance of in-house and outside instructors.

(vii) The activity must be open to observation, without charge, by members of the Board or their designates.

(viii) The activity must be scheduled at a time and location so as to be free of interruptions from telephone calls and other office matters.

(ix) A list of the names of participants shall be maintained by the provider for a period of three years. The provider shall issue a certificate, in written or electronic form, to each participant evincing his or her attendance.  Such lists and certificates shall state the number of CLE hours, including professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics CLE hours, earned at that activity.

(x) The Board may impose a fee, similar to the fees assessed on traditional CLE providers, on the provider of an in-house program for programs involving payments to the provider.

(2) Law School Courses. Attendance at J.D. or graduate level law courses offered by American Bar Association ("ABA") accredited law schools, subject to the following conditions:

(i) Credit ordinarily is given only for courses taken after admission to practice in Illinois, but the Board may approve giving credit for courses taken prior to admission to practice in Illinois if giving credit will advance CLE objectives.

(ii) Credit towards MCLE requirements shall be for the actual number of class hours attended, but the maximum number of credits that may be earned during any two-year reporting period by attending courses offered by ABA accredited law schools shall be the maximum CLE hours required by Rule 794(a) and (d).

(iii) The attorney must comply with registration procedures of the law school, including the payment of tuition.

(iv) The course need not be taken for law school credit towards a degree; auditing a course is permitted. However, the attorney must comply with all law school rules for attendance, participation and examination, if any, to receive CLE credit.

(v) The law school shall give each attorney a written certification evincing that the attorney has complied with requirements for the course and attended sufficient classes to justify the awarding of course credit if the attorney were taking the course for credit.

(3) Bar Association Meetings. Attendance at bar association or professional association meetings at which substantive law, matters of practice, professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics are discussed, subject to the requirements for CLE credit defined in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(2) above. The bar or professional association shall maintain a list of the names of all attendees at each meeting for a period of three years and shall issue a certificate, in written or electronic form, to each participant evincing his or her attendance.  Such lists and certificates shall state the number of CLE hours, including professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics CLE hours, earned at that meeting.

(4) Cross-Disciplinary Programs. Attendance at courses or activities that cross academic lines, such as accounting-tax seminars or medical-legal seminars, may be considered by the Board for full or partial credit. Purely nonlegal subjects, such as personal financial planning, shall not be counted towards CLE credit. Any mixed-audience courses or activities may receive credit only for sessions deemed appropriate for CLE purposes.

(5) Teaching Continuing Legal Education Courses. Teaching at CLE courses or activities during the two-year reporting term, subject to the following:

(i) Credit may be earned for teaching in an approved CLE course or activity. Presentations shall be counted at the full hour or fraction thereof for the initial presentation; a repeat presentation of the same material shall be counted at one-half; no further hours may be earned for additional presentations of the same material.

(ii) Time spent in preparation for a presentation at an approved CLE activity shall be counted at six times the actual presentation time.

(iii) Authorship or coauthorship of written materials for approved CLE activities shall qualify for CLE credit on the basis of actual preparation time, but subject to receiving no more than 10 hours of credit in any two-year reporting period.

(6) Part-Time Teaching of Law Courses. Teaching at an ABA-accredited law school, or teaching a law course at a university, college, or community college, subject to the following:

(i) Teaching credit may be earned for teaching law courses offered for credit toward a degree at a law school accredited by the ABA, but only by lawyers who are not employed full-time by a law school. Full-time law teachers who choose to maintain their licenses to practice law are fully subject to the MCLE requirements established herein, and may not earn any credits by their ordinary teaching assignments. Presentations shall be counted at the full hour or fraction thereof for the initial presentation; a repeat presentation of the same material shall be counted at one-half; no further hours may be earned for additional presentations of the same material. Teaching credit may be earned by appearing as a guest instructor, moderator, or participant in a law school class for a presentation which meets the overall guidelines for CLE courses or activities, as well as for serving as a judge at a law school moot court argument. Time spent in preparation for an eligible law school activity shall be counted at three times the actual presentation time. Appearing as a guest speaker before a law school assembly or group shall not count toward CLE credit.

(ii) Teaching credit may be earned for teaching law courses at a university, college, or community college by lawyers who are not full-time teachers if the teaching involves significant intellectual, educational or practical content, such as a civil procedure course taught to paralegal students or a commercial law course taught to business students. Presentations shall be counted at the full hour or fraction thereof for the initial presentation; a repeat presentation of the same material shall be counted at one-half; no further hours may be earned for additional presentations of the same material.

(7) Legal Scholarship. Writing law books and law review articles, subject to the following:

(i) An attorney may earn credit for legal textbooks, casebooks, treatises and other scholarly legal books written by the attorney that are published during the two-year reporting period.

(ii) An attorney may earn credit for writing law-related articles in responsible legal journals or other legal sources, published during the two-year reporting period, that deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law, professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or ethical obligations of attorneys. Republication of any article shall receive no additional CLE credits unless the author made substantial revisions or additions.

(iii) An attorney may earn credit towards MCLE requirements for the actual number of hours spent researching and writing, but the maximum number of credits that may be earned during any two-year reporting period on a single publication shall be half the maximum CLE hours required by Rule 794(a) and (d). Credit is accrued when the eligible book or article is published, regardless whether the work in question was performed in the then-current two-year reporting period. To receive CLE credit, the attorney shall maintain contemporaneous records evincing the number of hours spent on a publication.

(8) Pro Bono Training. Attendance at courses or activities designed to train lawyers who have agreed to provide pro bono services shall earn CLE credit to the same extent as other courses and seminars.

(9) Capital Litigation Trial Bar Training. Attendance at courses or activities pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 714(b) designed to train attorneys for certification for membership in the Capital Litigation Trial Bar shall earn CLE credit to the same extent as other courses and seminars.

(10) Bar Review Courses. Attendance at bar review courses before admission to the Illinois Bar shall not be used for CLE credit.

(11) Reading Legal Materials. No credit shall be earned by reading advance sheets, newspapers, law reviews, books, cases, statutes, newsletters or other such sources.

(e) Credit Hour Guidelines

Hours of CLE credit will be determined under the following guidelines:

(1) Sixty minutes shall equal one hour of credit. Partial credit shall be earned for qualified activities of less than 60 minutes duration.

(2) The following are not counted for credit: (i) coffee breaks; (ii) introductory and closing remarks; (iii) keynote speeches; (iv) lunches and dinners; (v) other breaks; and (vi) business meetings.

(3) Question and answer periods are counted toward credit.

(4) Lectures or panel discussions occurring during breakfast, luncheon, or dinner sessions of bar association committees may be awarded credit.

(5) Credits are determined by the following formula: Total minutes of approved activity minus minutes for breaks (as described in paragraph (e)(2)) divided by 60 equals maximum CLE credit allowed.

(6) Credits merely reflect the maximum that may be earned. Only actual attendance or participation earns credit.

(f) Financial Hardship Policy

The provider shall have available a financial hardship policy for attorneys who wish to attend its courses, but for whom the cost of such courses would be a financial hardship. Such policy may be in the form of scholarships, waivers of course fees, reduced course fees, or discounts. Upon request by the Board, the provider must produce the detailed financial hardship policy. The Board may require, on good cause shown, a provider to set aside without cost, or at reduced cost, a reasonable number of places in the course for those attorneys determined by the Board to have good cause to attend the course for reduced or no cost.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 796. Enforcement of MCLE Requirements

(a) Reporting Compliance

(1) On or before the first day of the month preceding the end of an attorney’s Basic Skills Course requirement reporting period or two-year reporting period, the Director shall mail the attorney, at the most recent address the attorney has provided to the ARDC pursuant to Rule 756(c), a certification, to be completed by the attorney, stating whether, with respect to that reporting period, the attorney either has complied with these Rules, has not complied with these Rules, or is exempt from these Rules. A certification need not be sent to an attorney known by the Director to be exempt from these Rules.

(2) Every Illinois attorney who is either subject to these Rules or who receives an MCLE certification shall complete, sign and submit the certification to the Board within 31 days after the end of the attorney’s reporting period, i.e., no later than July 31. It is the responsibility of each attorney on the master roll to notify the ARDC of any change of address. Failure to receive an MCLE certification shall not constitute an excuse for failure to file the certification.

(b) Failure to Report Compliance

Attorneys who fail to submit an MCLE certification within 45 days of their reporting date, or who file a certification stating that they have not complied with these Rules during the reporting period, shall be notified by the Director of their noncompliance and given until September 30 of that year to achieve compliance and file a certification stating that they have complied with these Rules or are exempt. The Director shall not send a notice of noncompliance to attorneys whom the Director knows are exempt from these Rules.

(c) Grace Period

Attorneys given additional time pursuant to paragraph (b) to comply with the requirements of these Rules may use that "grace period" to attain the adequate number of hours for compliance. Credit hours earned during a grace period may be counted toward compliance with the previous reporting period requirement, and hours in excess of the requirement may be used to meet the current reporting period’s requirement. No attorney may receive more than one grace period with respect to the same reporting period, and the grace period shall not be extended if the Director fails to send, or the attorney fails to receive, a notice pursuant to paragraph (b).

(d) Late Fees

(1) Nonexempt attorneys who, for whatever reason, fail to complete, sign and submit to the Board an MCLE certification within 31 days after the end of their reporting period, and who receive a notice of noncompliance from the Director pursuant to paragraph (b), shall pay a late fee, in an amount to be set by the Board.

(2) Attorneys who submit an MCLE certification to the Board who were not sent a notice of noncompliance from the Director pursuant to paragraph (b), but who certify that they failed to comply with these Rules during the applicable reporting period, shall pay a late fee, in an amount to be set by the Board that is less than the late fee imposed pursuant to paragraph (d)(1).

(e) Failure to Comply or Failure to Report

The Director shall refer to the ARDC the names of nonexempt attorneys who, by the end of their grace periods, failed either to comply or to report compliance with the requirements of these Rules. The ARDC shall then send notice to any such attorneys that they will be removed from the master roll on the date specified in the notice, which shall be no sooner than 21 days from the date of the notice, because of their failure to comply or report compliance. The ARDC shall remove such attorneys from the master roll of attorneys on the date specified in the notice unless the Director certifies before that date that an attorney has complied. Such removal is not a disciplinary sanction.

(f) Recordkeeping and Audits

(1) Each attorney subject to these Rules shall maintain, for three years after the end of the relevant reporting period, certificates of attendance received pursuant to Rules 795(a)(8), (c)(4), (d)(1)(ix), (d)(2)(v), (d)(3), as well as sufficient documentation necessary to corroborate CLE activity hours earned pursuant to Rules 795(d)(4) through (d)(9).

(2) The Board may conduct a reasonable number of audits, under a plan approved by the Court. At least some of these audits shall be randomly selected, to determine the accuracy of attorneys’ certifications of compliance or exemption. With respect to audits that are not randomly selected, in choosing subjects for those audits the Board shall give increased consideration to attorneys who assumed inactive or retirement status under Supreme Court Rules 756(a)(5) or (a)(6), and were thereby fully or partially exempt from these Rules pursuant to Rule 791(b) or (c), and who subsequently resumed active status.

(3) The ARDC may investigate an attorney’s compliance with these Rules only upon referral from the Director; the ARDC will not investigate an attorney’s compliance with these Rules as part of its other investigations. When the Director refers a matter to the ARDC, the investigation, and any resulting prosecution, shall be conducted in accordance with the rules pertaining to ARDC proceedings.

(g) Audits That Reveal an Inaccurate Certification

(1) If an audit conducted pursuant to paragraph (f)(2) reveals that the attorney was not in compliance with or exempt from these Rules for any reporting period for which the attorney had filed a certification of compliance or exemption, the Director shall provide the attorney with written notice containing: (i) the results of the audit, specifying each aspect of the Rules with which the attorney did not comply or the reason why the attorney is not exempt; (ii) a summary of the basis of that determination; and (iii) a deadline, which shall be at least 30 days from the date of the notice, for the attorney to file a written response if the attorney objects to any of the contents of the notice.

(2) After considering any response from the attorney, if the Board determines that the attorney filed an inaccurate certification, the attorney shall be given 60 days in which to file an amended certification, together with all documentation specified in paragraph (f)(1), demonstrating full compliance with the applicable MCLE requirements. The attorney also shall pay a late fee in an amount to be set by the Board. The assessment of a late fee is not a disciplinary sanction.

(3) If the results of the audit suggest that the attorney willfully filed a false certification, the Board through its Director shall provide that information to the ARDC.

(h) Reinstatement

An attorney who has been removed from the master roll due to noncompliance with these Rules may be reinstated by the ARDC, upon recommendation of the Board. Such recommendation may be made only after the removed attorney files a certification which the Board determines shows full compliance with the applicable MCLE requirements. To be reinstated, the attorney shall pay a fee with the request, in an amount to be set by the Board, and meet any further conditions and pay any additional fees as may be required by Rule 756. The removed attorney may attain the necessary credit hours during the period of removal to meet the requirements for the years of noncompliance. Excess hours earned during the period of removal, however, may not be counted towards meeting the current or future reporting periods’ requirements.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 797. Confidentiality

All files, records and proceedings of the Board must be kept confidential, and may not be disclosed except (a) in furtherance of the duties of the Board, (b) upon written request and consent of the persons affected, (c) pursuant to a proper subpoena duces tecum, or (d) as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.

 

Rule 798. Reserved

 

 

PART D. COMMISSION ON PROFESSIONALISM

 

Rule 799. Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

(a) Purpose

The Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is hereby established in order to promote among the lawyers and judges of Illinois principles of integrity, professionalism and civility; to foster commitment to the elimination of bias and divisiveness within the legal and judicial systems; and to ensure that those systems provide equitable, effective and efficient resolution of problems and disputes for the people of Illinois.

(b) Membership and Terms

(1) The Court shall appoint a Chair and 13 additional members to the Commission. These members shall include three individuals who are full-time faculty members at accredited Illinois law schools, two judges engaged in active service in the trial courts of Illinois, one judge engaged in active service in the appellate courts of Illinois, six practicing lawyers who are active members in good standing of the Illinois bar; and two nonlawyers who are active in public affairs in Illinois. The Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission shall serve as an ex-officio member in addition to the Chair and the 13 members appointed by the Court but shall have no vote.

(2) In addition to the members described above, the Chief Justice may invite to serve on the Commission a judge of the United States District Courts located in Illinois.

(3) The appointed members of the Commission shall be selected with regard to their reputations for professionalism, and for their past contributions to the bar and to their communities, to the extent feasible, the appointees should reflect a diversity of geography, practice areas, race, ethnicity, and gender.

(4) Members of the Commission shall be appointed for terms of three years, except that in making initial appointments to the Commission, the Court may limit appointments to ensure that the terms of the Commission’s members are staggered, so that no more than one third of the members’ terms expire in any given year.

(5) None of the members of the Commission shall receive compensation for their service, but all members shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses.

(c) Duties

The Commission’s duties shall include:

(1) Creating and promoting an awareness of professionalism by all members of the Illinois bar and bench;

(2) Gathering and maintaining information to serve as a resource on professionalism for lawyers, judges, court personnel, and members of the public;

(3) Developing public statements on principles of ethical and professional responsibility for distribution to the bench and bar for purposes of encouraging, guiding and assisting individual lawyers, law firms and bar associations on the ethical and professional tenets of the profession;

(4) Assisting CLE providers with the development of courses and activities offered to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement for minimum continuing legal education under Rule 794(d)(1);

(5) Determining and publishing criteria for, monitoring, coordinating, and approving, courses and activities offered to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement for minimum continuing legal education under Rule 794(d)(1);

(6) Reviewing and approving the content of courses and activities offered to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement for minimum continuing legal education under Rule 794(d)(1) and forwarding the Commission’s determination to the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Board;

(7) Monitoring activities related to professionalism outside the State of Illinois;

(8) Collaborating with law schools in the development and presentation of professionalism programs for law student orientation and other events as coordinated with law school faculty;

(9) Facilitating cooperation among practitioners, bar associations, law schools, courts, civic and lay organizations and others in addressing matters of professionalism, ethics, and public understanding of the legal profession; and

(10) Recommending to the Court other methods and means of improving the profession and accomplishing the purposes of this Commission.

The Commission shall have no authority to impose discipline upon any member of the Illinois bar or bench, or to exercise any duties or responsibilities belonging to either the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, the Board of Admissions to the Bar, or the MCLE Board.

(d) Administration

(1) The Commission shall have the authority to appoint, with the approval of the Supreme Court, an Executive Director, who shall be an attorney who is an active member in good standing of the Illinois bar. The Executive Director shall have the authority to hire such additional staff as necessary to perform the Commission’s responsibilities.

(2) The Commission shall meet at least twice a year and at other times at the call of the Chair. A majority of its members shall constitute a quorum for any action. Meetings may be held at any place within the state and may also be held by means of telecommunication that permits reasonably accurate and contemporaneous participation by the members attending by such means.

(3) The Chair may appoint committees of members and assign them to such responsibilities, consistent with the purposes, powers and duties of the Commission, as the Chair may deem appropriate.

(4) The Commission shall file annually with the Court an accounting of the monies received and expended for its activities, and there shall be an annual independent audit of the funds as directed by the court, the expenses of which shall be paid out of the fund.

(5) The Commission shall submit an annual report to the Court describing and evaluating the effectiveness of its activities.

(6) Approving CLE Programs.

(i) The Commission shall receive from the MCLE Board applications for accreditation of those courses and activities offered to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement for minimum continuing legal education under Rule 794(d)(1). The Commission shall establish procedures for approval of such courses or activities consistent with the criteria published under paragraph (c)(5) of this rule. Professional responsibility courses and activities, the content of which is approved by the Commission, shall be forwarded to the MCLE Board for accreditation. Absent Commission approval, such courses and activities are not eligible for CLE accreditation. The Commission shall complete its review as expeditiously as possible and with regard to the applicable time lines contained in Rule 795.

(ii) Providers that have been designated "Accredited Continuing Legal Education Providers" under Rule 795(b) must, in addition to that accreditation, obtain Commission approval of any course or activity offered to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement of Rule 794(d)(1), but will not be required to pay an accreditation fee in addition to the fee the provider has paid to the Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board.

(e) Funding

The Commission shall be funded by an annual assessment as provided in Rule 756.

Adopted September 29, 2005, effective immediately.