The Division Board of Directors passed a motion in December 2002, requiring 6 hours of continuing legal education per year for Active and Associate members of the Division. The changes took effect May 2004. Each year during the renewal process, Active and Associate members must report CLE earned between June 1 and May 31 for each succeeding year. In June 2017 the Division Board of Directors passed a motion requiring 1 hour of the 6 hours of required continuing legal education be legal ethics. In summary, renewing Active and Associate members must complete 6 hours of substantive continuing legal education, at least 1 hour of which must be legal ethics, by May 31 of the membership year. Members are allowed to substitute up to 2 hours of self-study or pro bono service in order to satisfy the 6 hour requirement, but members must still show proof of 1 hour of legal ethics.
There are many ways to earn continuing legal education. Many local paralegal associations and bar associations offer free or low cost, lunch time CLE. The Division website lists many of these CLE offerings. In addition, the State Bar of Texas offers online CLE through its website, http://www.texasbarcle.com . Many seminars are offered on weekends or after hours, at affordable rates. Finally, the Division offers affordable online CLE through our website http://txpd.inreachce.com/. Most are available to Division members at $40 per credit hour. The CLE may be taken in the convenience of your home or office, with up to three months to complete a course. The Board of Directors is sensitive to those paralegals whose firm does not support or pay for CLE for its paralegals. However, the Board came to the decision to mandate CLE for members after a thorough review of continuing education requirements for national, state, and local paralegal associations. We believe that this is a move that maintains the Division’s position as a leader in professional paralegal organizations nationwide. By establishing this standard for continuing education, our members will be better prepared to assist both the attorneys, for whom we work, and the public, for whom we provide valuable services.
If the CLE is approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar, you may purchase the audio CLE and listen for whatever credit is offered. If a member of the Paralegal Division takes a course that is accredited by the MCLE Department of the State Bar and records their membership number, their attendance will be reported electronically to MCLE the following Monday. All courses found at www.texasbarcle.com with 9-digit MCLE course numbers, regardless of format, are approved.
In addition, many of the Paralegal Division’s Online CLE at txpd.inreachce.com are recorded to be downloaded as audio podcast and the Paralegal Division allows one hour CLE credit for each topic. If you register for an audio CLE and receive a Certificate of Attendance, you may claim as CLE. If you listen to a substantive legal CLE audio tape and have not registered for the CLE, you may claim as self-study. To determine if a CLE is accepted as credit to renew membership in the Paralegal Division, view HERE.
The Paralegal Division is aware that attorneys can view their CLE hours online at www.texasbar.com. However, the benefit of viewing and printing the CLE hours from MyBarPage on the SBOT website has not been extended to other divisions of the State Bar. The MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas keeps track CLE hours for paralegals who are members of the Division and who have attended a seminar that is approved for MCLE credit. In order for a seminar to be approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas, the seminar must be targeted primarily to attorneys. Paralegal seminars [targeted primarily to paralegals] do not meet the criteria for MCLE approval and will not be approved by the MCLE Department and, therefore, they [MCLE Department] will not keep track of those CLE hours for paralegals.
With the assistance of the State Bar of Texas, MCLE records can be viewed and CLE records can be viewed or managed by the members of the Paralegal Division via the My Account page.
See CLE Attendance Recording for more details.
Non-participatory CLE (self-study) will be accepted for up to two of the six required hours. The Division will accept teaching or speaking credit on the same basis as participatory credit (i.e., teaching or speaking credit will be granted for those substantive law courses accredited or presented by one of the above-listed organizations).
It is the member’s responsibility to track MCLE-Approved and document Non MCLE-Approved activities. See the CLE Attendance Recording page for the details of the process.
As a reminder, do NOT discard your certificates of attendance. You should maintain a personal CLE file with copies of the seminar brochures and certificates of attendance in case any clarification is needed as random audits are performed by the Division’s CLE Committee.