South Carolina’s CLE Deadline is Quickly Approaching

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By: The NBI Team

Friday, February 5, 2021

South Carolina’s CLE Deadline is Quickly Approaching

Many states have CLE requirements that attorneys licensed in that jurisdiction must fulfill and it’s critical to stay informed about your CLE compliance. Attorneys licensed in South Carolina should note these Continuing Legal Education requirements.

When is the South Carolina Deadline?

South Carolina’s CLE reporting year ends on February 28, 2021, with the subsequent reporting year beginning on March 1, 2021.

When and How do South Carolina Attorneys Need to Report Their CLE Credit Hours?

Compliance must be reported to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization no later than March 1, using the form provided by the Commission. Attorneys must also pay an annual filing fee at the time.

What are the Required CLE Credit Hours in South Carolina?

All attorneys licensed in South Carolina are required to complete 14 hours of CLE courses annually. Out of the 14 hours, at least two must be in legal ethics/professional responsibility (LEPR). Attorneys must complete one CLE credit hour every two years in a course approved for substance abuse, mental health issues, or stress management in the legal profession.

Certain attorneys are exempt from complying with the CLE requirements, including inactive and retired members of the South Carolina Bar, members of the judiciary, and military members. Additionally, attorneys over 60 who have been practicing for 30 years or more may apply for an exemption.

Certified specialists who must comply with the CLE requirements for their specialty are exempt from the general requirements but must still satisfy the LEPR requirement each year and take one credit in mental health every two years.

Which Courses Qualify for CLE Credit in South Carolina?

Attorneys in South Carolina can earn their CLE credits by attending seminars in-person, online, or by telephone. Acceptable formats include Live Credits (In-Person Seminars) and Alternatively Delivered Credits (Live Online Seminars, Webinars, OnDemand Courses) as long as they are interactive, and a faculty member is available to answer questions – Whether by email or phone.

Generally, South Carolina attorneys may earn only eight CLE credit hours each year through Alternative Formats. However, the Supreme Court of South Carolina waived the six-credit, Live (in-person) requirement for the 2020-2021 reporting year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Attorneys may also obtain CLE credit for authorship of articles or books upon application to the Commission.

Do CLE Credits From Previous Years Carry Over?

Yes, 14 Live (in-person) CLE credits from the previous year can carry over with no more than two LEPR credits. Alternative Delivery or substance abuse and mental health credit hours cannot carry over.

What are the CLE Requirements for Newly Admitted Attorneys in South Carolina?

Newly admitted attorneys are exempt from complying with the CLE requirements during the reporting year in which they were admitted to the bar. During the first year of admission, new attorneys must complete an Essential Series course administered by the South Carolina Bar, CLE Division.

What are the Penalties for Failing to Comply or Report on Time?

An attorney who fails to comply with the CLE requirements or submit their reported hours and filing fee may be subject to a penalty fee specified by the Commission. In limited circumstances, such as those involving hardship, the Commission may waive or modify the requirements. In such cases, the Commission may also increase the amount of CLE hours required for the attorney in the following year. Attorneys who do not comply with the CLE requirements may face suspension.

Contact Information and Additional Resources

The South Carolina Judicial branch website provides attorneys with information about South Carolina’s CLE requirements, exemptions, and accreditation standards.

NBI offers thousands of CLEs in every practice area to ensure attorneys can comply with their requirements and meet their CLE deadlines. Be sure to check out our course catalog for a full listing of accredited CLE courses for South Carolina.

Contact our Customer Service department at (800) 930-6182 to be connected to an expert who can help you find the CLE you need.

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This blog post is for general informative purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on this information. While we attempted to ensure accuracy, completeness and timeliness, we assume no responsibility for this post’s accuracy, completeness or timeliness.

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