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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs — CLE - Mandatory

What are the CLE requirements? When do they take effect?

How can Division members access the attendance records to CLE seminar (s) that have been approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas? Can Division members access these attendance records through the Texas Bar website?

How do I properly report my CLE hours to the Paralegal Division?

How do I locate my CLE attendance?

What type of CLE seminars will count toward the requirement? How do I find out if a course I would like to take will count before I take it and/or after?

What if I take a course online? What about by audio?

As a paralegal, I have an opportunity to obtain CLE through listening to a CD with audio presentations. Attorneys from the company I work can receive CLE credit after listening to a CD with the audio presentations. Is this an option for paralegals who are members of the Paralegal Division to obtain as CLE credit to renew their membership in the Paralegal Division?

Does self-study count? What about teaching or speaking credit?

What qualifies as "self study CLE" for paralegals?

Can I carryover hours of CLE credit from one reporting period to the next?

My firm does in-house seminars and training. Will this count toward the Division requirement?

My firm does not allow me to take CLE outside the firm. My firm does not pay for CLE outside the firm. How can I comply with the new requirements?

It's getting close to the reporting time, and I don't have enough CLE to meet the requirement. What happens if I fall short?

I am a student. Do the requirements apply to me?

I am an associate member. Do the requirements apply to me?

I would like to continue as an active Division member, but I cannot fulfill the CLE requirements. What can I do to stay involved?

FAQs — CLE - Online

FAQs — CLE - General

What are the CLE requirements? When do they take effect?

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.

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How can Division members access the attendance records to CLE seminar (s) that have been approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas? Can Division members access these attendance records through the Texas Bar website?

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, members of the Paralegal Division are now able to view and print (directly from the Division's website) MCLE credit hours from attendance to seminars that have been approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas.  In addition, you are able to input any other CLE that you have attended in order to maintain an attendance record at CLE events that have not been approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas.  To view your MCLE records and add any other CLE Events, please go to www.txpd.org, choose Members-Only tab, choose Directory, and choose View My CLE Records, and sign in.

If you have attended any MCLE approved seminars, you will note a listing of those CLE seminars on your personal record.  The listing of the MCLE approved CLE seminars includes those seminars you have attended during the past six years. You can print out the listing for your personal CLE file at no charge! If there are any discrepancies on your MCLE attendance record, please contact Debbie Stehling at the MCLE Department directly at 1-800-204-2222, ext. 1880 or 512-427-1880 to discuss such discrepancy and to receive instructions on how to have it corrected. All corrections will be shown on the Division’s website within two weeks following the week after the correction has been made by the MCLE Department.

If you have attended other CLE seminars that have NOT been approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas, you can enter the information about those seminars in your profile on the Division website.  This allows you to maintain a record of your attendance at CLE seminars which are not approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas. (See note below).

NOTE: The Paralegal Division does NOT maintain CLE records for our members.  This repository is a new benefit provided to you as a member of the Paralegal Division and it provides a place for you to personally manage your CLE records.  There are "MCLE FAQs" on the Division's website at www.txpd.org, under the "FAQ Tab" if you have any questions.

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How do I properly report my CLE hours to the Paralegal Division?

There are a couple of ways to report your Non MCLE-Approved CLE hours to the Paralegal Division.

  1. Go to www.txpd.org; click the Members-Only tab.  Log on using your member number and the first five letters of your last name (all lower case letters), choose “Directory”, choose “View My CLE Hours”, click on “Add a CLE Item to Your History”, fill out the form and submit.  Prior to recording CLE into your PD CLE History read this article  on the types of CLE you should manually add to your CLE history versus when the hours should be reported to the State Bar of Texas MCLE Department. 

    If you take a course that has been approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas, and you turn in the reporting form, as a member of the Paralegal Division the State Bar will scan in these hours for you and they will be uploaded directly into your PD CLE Repository.  Updates are done on a weekly basis.  Also see our FAQ “How do I locate my CLE attendance?”

    DO NOT discard your certificates of attendance, but 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.

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How do I locate my CLE attendance?

HOW TO LOCATE CLE ATTENDANCE RECORDS

State Bar of Texas MCLE-Approved CLE Programs Attendance:

As a member of the Paralegal Division (PD) and as a member benefit, you are able to track and print (directly from the PD's website under the Members-Only Area) your attendance to CLE seminars that are sponsored by the State Bar of Texas and/or CLE seminar(s) that have been approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar of Texas.

Any time you attend a seminar that is approved by the MCLE Department of the State Bar, you, as a PD member, should complete the attendance form on-site or submit your name and membership number to the sponsor [on-site].  The form and/or list is turned in to the State Bar MCLE Department and scanned into your attendance record.  The Paralegal Division downloads (on a weekly basis) the MCLE attendance records of PD members through a website connection to add to each PD member’s CLE attendance records under the members-only area of the PD website (Directory).  If there is a “course number” & the area is colored in “gray” on your CLE record, this indicates it is a seminar that has been approved by the State Bar of Texas MCLE Department.

Go to www.txpd.org; click the Members-Only menu item on the right hand side.  Log on using your member number and the first five letters of your last name (all lower case letters).  Once you are logged into the Members-Only area, choose “Directory” and then choose “View My CLE Records” from the fly-out menu.  You can print the list of MCLE-approved CLE attendance directly from this area of the PD website.

If you are not viewing [on your PD members-only CLE record] attendance credit for a State Bar MCLE approved seminar (those seminars that have a course number), please call the State Bar at 1-800-204-2222 ext. 1806 and request a Credit Input Form. This is the individual form that can be used to update the MCLE record. 

  • Recording CLE attendance not approved by the State Bar of Texas MCLE Department on your member record.
    You may use this area in the PD Members-Only area to enter in non-State Bar of Texas MCLE approved CLE attendance for tracking purposes only.

Texas Advanced Paralegal Seminar (TAPS) Attendance:
If you have attended a TAPS seminar, just open the Speaker Material CD (or flash drive) that is provided to each registered TAPS attendee.  The Certificate of Attendance is located on the Speaker Materials CD (or flash drive).  Beginning in 2014, because of the development of a Conference App that replaces the CD, you will be provided a Certificate of Attendance following the event; keep all certificates of attendance in a personal CLE file.

Paralegal Division District Sponsored and Local Association Sponsored CLE Attendance:
If you have attended a PD District or local association CLE, please contact the PD District sponsor or local association to obtain a certificate of attendance form if one was not distributed at the CLE event.

National Association Sponsored CLE Attendance: 
If you have attended a national association CLE, please contact the national association to obtain a certificate of attendance form if one was not distributed at the CLE event.

 

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What type of CLE seminars will count toward the requirement? How do I find out if a course I would like to take will count before I take it and/or after?

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 Paralegal Division mandatory membership renewal CLE requirement. If the CLE course is not accredited by any of the above-referenced groups, the Paralegal 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: 1. substantive or procedural subjects of law, 2. legal skills and techniques, 3. legal ethics and/or legal professional responsibility, or 4. 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 that is familiar with the topic presented, or an expert in the particular subject matter comprising the course. Speaking and writing credit will be considered for approval under the same criteria as (a) and (b) above.

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What if I take a course online? What about by audio?

Online and/or audio (podcasts) are accredited CLE and will count toward the minimum CLE requirement.

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As a paralegal, I have an opportunity to obtain CLE through listening to a CD with audio presentations. Attorneys from the company I work can receive CLE credit after listening to a CD with the audio presentations. Is this an option for paralegals who are members of the Paralegal Division to obtain as CLE credit to renew their membership in the Paralegal Division?

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 http://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.

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Does self-study count? What about teaching or speaking credit?

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).

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What qualifies as "self study CLE" for paralegals?

Self study is defined (by the State Bar of Texas as acceptable for self-study for attorneys) as:

[R]eading materials specifically prepared for an accredited CLE activity, reading legal articles, digests, advance sheets, cases, treatises, statutes and regulations. You will also be able to claim self-study credit for attending non-accredited legal education activities and non-legal professional education activities that are relevant to specific areas of law or to the legal practice. How these activities are attended (via a live program or by listening to or watching a prerecorded presentation) will be up to each individual [attorney]. Source  of definition:  HERE 

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Can I carryover hours of CLE credit from one reporting period to the next?

Yes. 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.

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My firm does in-house seminars and training. Will this count toward the Division requirement?

It depends. If the in-house seminar or training is accredited by one of the above-listed organizations, it will count toward the Division requirement. If it is not accredited, but meets the criteria for acceptance (generally, a substantive law course offered by a qualified presenter, that would qualify for accreditation), in-house seminars and training will count toward the Division requirement. (See: What type of CLE seminars will count toward the requirement? question above).

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My firm does not allow me to take CLE outside the firm. My firm does not pay for CLE outside the firm. How can I comply with the new requirements?

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 now offers affordable online CLE through our website. Some courses are available at no charge. Most are available to Division members at $25 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.

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It's getting close to the reporting time, and I don't have enough CLE to meet the requirement. What happens if I fall short?

If an Active or Associate member does not comply with the requirement to obtain the 6 hours of CLE by May 31of the renewal period, that person must reapply for membership using the current membership application to continue membership in the Division. Current membership applications can be found on the website.

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I am a student. Do the requirements apply to me?

Student members are not required to obtain six hours of CLE each year.

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I am an associate member. Do the requirements apply to me?

Yes.

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I would like to continue as an active Division member, but I cannot fulfill the CLE requirements. What can I do to stay involved?

If the 6 hours of CLE credit is not obtained by the Active or Associate member by May 31 of the year in which membership expires, a member must reapply using a current membership application in order to continue as a member of the Division.

Note:  Members with extenuating circumstances who are not able to meet all the requirements for renewal of their membership may apply for a waiver of the requirements.  Such extenuating circumstances may include a pro-longed medical disability, military deployment to a remote location, or some other serious hardship which would make it impossible to meet the requirements.  A request for waiver of the renewal requirements should be directed to the President, the President-Elect, and the PD Coordinator, and include a detailed explanation of the member’s circumstances with appropriate evidence to support the request.  For example, evidence for members with medical circumstances may include a letter from a doctor, and military members should include a copy of their deployment orders. Each request will be reviewed by the Board of Directors and decided on its own merit.  The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final.

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What is online CLE?

The Division presents a comprehensive Online CLE program through our website at www.txpd.org.  Topics include Bankruptcy and Collections to Civil Litigation, Family Law, Estate Planning & Probate, Real Estate Law, Criminal Law, and Legal Technology and more.  Courses generally cost $25 per credit hour for Division members and $35 for non-members.

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Does Online CLE meet Division requirements? What about TBLS or NALA?

Online CLE may be taken to fulfill the Division's six hour mandatory CLE requirement. Both TBLS (www.tbls.org) and NALA (www.nala.org) accept CLE taken online toward each organization's CLE requirement. Check with the appropriate organization to make sure a particular course is acceptable towards your specialization or certification requirement.

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How can I access Online CLE?

Choose the "CLE Online Button" on the home page at www.txpd.org [left hand side].

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I am not a member of the Division. Can I take online CLE?

Yes, online CLE is accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

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My employer won't pay for CLE. My employer won't give time off to take CLE. I don't see any courses in my specialty area. How can I ask for a course to be added?

The Division welcomes suggestions for additions to online CLE. Please send an e-mail to cec@txpd.org with your suggestions

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I don't see any courses in my specialty area. How can I ask for a course to be added?

The Division welcomes suggestions for additions to online CLE. Please send an e-mail to cec@txpd.org with your suggestions.

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I would like to submit an application for membership to the Paralegal Division, and I am in the process of going through the appropriate amount of CLE. Can I take the full 6 hours of CLE online?

Yes, all CLE required by the Paralegal Division can be obtained by taking online CLE courses.  The Paralegal Division hosts Online CLE for paralegals.  This Online CLE can be accessed through the website under the tab, CLE/Events.

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How can I find out about CLE offerings in my area?

The Division posts a comprehensive calendar of continuing legal education events on its website at www.txpd.org. You may search by topic, area of law, or location to find continuing legal education events of interest to you.

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I am a CLE provider. How can I submit listings to the Division for posting online?

To submit CLE event listing to the Paralegal Division, complete the website form, Submit a CLE Event, in order to include the event information on the Division's website CLE calendar.  Please complete the form at http://txpd.org/cle_source.asp.

 

 

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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.

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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 HERE.  In addition, you may review the CLE requirements HERE.

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I would like to help the Division offer more CLE in my area. How can I get involved?

The Division welcomes volunteers!! Contact the Division through your district director, the Coordinator, or the Continuing Education Committee Chair for more information.  All contact information is located on the Paralegal Division website under the CONTACTS tab.

Or you may submit a request through the Volunteer form located under the Members Only tab on the Paralegal Division website.

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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 website below or contact TBLS directly.      Texas Board of Legal Specialization 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.

        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.

A “Qualified Presenter” means an attorney, judge, or Paralegal/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.
 

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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.

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