How much CLE do I need to join the Division?

Paralegals are not required to obtain CLE prior to joining the Paralegal Division.  However, there is a requirement of 6 hours of CLE on an annual basis (June 1 – May 31) to maintain both Active and Associate membership in the Paralegal Division.  View membership criteria via the menu above: MEMBERSHIP > Types and Criteria.  In addition, you may review the CLE requirements via the menu above: MEMBERSHIP > CLE Requirements.

I am a CLE sponsor. Does the CLE I offer meet the Division’s requirements?

The Division has adopted a Standing Rule governing the CLE that meets the Division’s requirements. CLE sponsors may refer to this rule for guidance in developing continuing legal education events:

a. The Division will accept substantive law CLE presented or approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, the National Association of Legal Assistants, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, and/or presented by the Paralegal Division, local bar associations, paralegal associations, or law firms for credit towards the Division mandatory CLE requirement.

b. If the CLE course is not accredited by any of the above-referenced groups, the Division will accept a seminar, if it is a substantive law course offered by a qualified presenter, that would qualify for approval if submitted to one of the above organizations. Substantive Law Course means an organized program of legal education dealing with:

i. substantive or procedural subjects of law

ii. legal skills and techniques

iii. legal ethics and/or legal professional responsibility or

iv. alternative dispute resolution. Additionally, law office management programs accredited by the State Bar of Texas will be accepted. A Qualified Presenter means an attorney, judge, or legal assistant/paralegal who is familiar with the topic presented, or an expert in the particular subject matter comprising the course.

c. Speaking and writing credit will be considered for approval under the same criteria as (a) and (b) above.

I am a member of a law firm Professional Development Committee and we are in the process of developing in-house firm-wide training programs for our paralegals. We would like to inquire as to the possibility of having any/all of these training sessions qualified for CLE credits to meet the requirements for a member of the Paralegal Division as well as the Texas Board of Legal Specialization certification of paralegals.

1. To learn how to submit the CLE program for approval for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, please access the TBLS website at: www.tbls.org

2. In regard to CLE programs accepted by the Paralegal Division for membership renewal, below is an excerpt from the Division’s Standing Rule regarding this matter.

Below please find the qualifications of a CLE Program that will be acceptable for members of the Paralegal Division to renew their membership. Please note the Paralegal Division does not actually approve CLE program. The Division relies on the entities that tests paralegals for certification to approve the programs.

Standing Rules
[Excerpt]

I. MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL; DELINQUENCY.
Amended April 1986, April 1993, February 2000, February 2004, October 2004, June 2005

4. Renewing Active and Associate members must complete six (6) hours of substantive continuing legal education by May 31 of the membership year. Substantive continuing legal education completed during any membership year in excess of the minimum six (6) hour requirement for such period may be applied to the following membership year’s requirement. The carryover provision applies to one (1) year only. Members are allowed no more than two (2) hours of self-study during each membership year. Members must report their CLE on a form approved by the Division. The Division will use the following criteria for approval of continuing education courses for credit towards mandatory CLE requirements for membership:

a. The Division will accept substantive law CLE presented by the Division, approved by the State Bar of Texas, approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, approved by the National Association of Legal Assistants, approved by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, and presented at local bar or paralegal associations for credit towards the Division mandatory CLE requirement.

b. If the CLE course is not accredited by any of the above-referenced groups, the Division will accept a seminar, if it is a substantive law course offered by a qualified presenter, that would qualify for approval if submitted to one of the above organizations. “Substantive Law Course” means an organized program of legal education dealing with:

i. substantive or procedural subjects of law;

ii. legal skills and techniques;

iii. legal ethics and/or legal professional responsibility; or

iv. alternative dispute resolution.

Additionally, law office management programs accredited by the State Bar of Texas will be accepted.

If the requested CLE hours are in connection with auditing or attending a substantive law class, the CLE hours allowed shall be limited to the number of semester hours (usually a three-hour course) rather than the number of clock hours attended.

A “Qualified Presenter” means an attorney, judge, or paralegal who is familiar with the topic presented, or an expert in the particular subject matter comprising the course.

c. Speaking and writing credit will be considered for approval under the same criteria as (a) and (b) above.

Our company is interested in sponsoring a CLE class for paralegals. Can you provide me with information regarding approval of CLE for paralegals?

CLE is always welcome for paralegals. Some of the paralegals in Texas are certified by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the National Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals, or the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. For those certified paralegals, the CLE seminars must be approved by the appropriate organization. Each organization has its own certification process. To learn how to submit the CLE program for approval, please go to each organization’s website. You can find contact information for each on their websites. They may have the procedure listed on their websites.

National Federation of Paralegal Associations www.paralegals.org
National Association of Legal Assistants www.nala.org
Texas Board of Legal Specialization www.tbls.org

Paralegals who are Active or Associate members of the Division must obtain CLE that is legal substantive in nature. If the program is substantive, the Division allows the paralegals to claim the CLE during the membership renewal process. The Division will accept all CLE that has been approved by one of the organizations above. The Division does not review CLE programs for approval.