IN RE RULES FOR MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION

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IN RE RULES FOR MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
2014 OK 26
Case Number: SCBD-3319
Decided: 04/07/2014
THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA

NOTICE: THIS OPINION HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION. UNTIL RELEASED, IT IS SUBJECT TO REVISION OR WITHDRAWAL.

IN RE: Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal

ORDER GRANTING AMENDMENT TO RULES FOR
MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION

This matter comes on before this Court upon an Application of the Oklahoma Bar Association House of Delegates to amend Rules 2 (a) and (d), and by the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors to amend Rules 2 (c), 5, and 7 (Regs. 3.2, 4.1.3, 4.1.5, 4.1.6, 4.1.8, 4.1.9, and 5) of the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, 5 O.S. Supp. 2012, ch. 1, app 1-B. This Court finds that it has jurisdiction over this matter.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED by the Court that Rules 2 (a), (c) and (d), 5 and 7 (Regs. 3.2, 4.1.3, 4.1.5, 4.1.6, 4.1.8, 4.1.9, and 5) of the Rules of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, 5 O.S. Supp. 2012, ch. 1, app 1-B, is hereby amended as set out in its entirety on Exhibit "A" attached hereto. DONE BY ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT IN CONFERENCE this 7th day of April, 2014.

/S/CHIEF JUSTICE

CONCUR: Colbert, C.J.; Reif, V.C.J.; Kauger, Watt, Winchester, Edmondson, Taylor,

Gurich, JJ.

NOT PARTICIPATING: Combs, J.

"RULE 2. SCOPE AND EXEMPTIONS.

(a) Effective January 1, 2015, except as provided herein, these rules shall apply to every active and senior member of the Oklahoma Bar Association as defined by Article II of the Rules Creating and Controlling the Oklahoma Bar Association.

(b) An attorney is exempt from the educational requirements of these rules for the calendar year during which he or she was first admitted to practice.

(c) All Judges who, during the entire reporting period, are by Constitution, law or regulation prohibited from the private practice of law, members of the United States Congress, members of the Oklahoma Legislature, the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma, and members of the armed forces on full time active duty, and members of the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association, members of the Professional Responsibility Commission and members of the Professional Responsibility Tribunal, during their year(s) of service, shall be exempt from the educational requirements of these rules.

(d) An attorney who attains the age of sixty-five (65) years of age before or during the calendar year which is being reported is exempt from all requirements of these rules except as provided in Rule 5. An attorney having been granted an exemption based on attaining age 65 prior to January 1, 2015, shall be granted a continuing exemption.

(e) An attorney who, during the entire reporting period, is a nonresident of the State of Oklahoma and did not practice law in the State of Oklahoma is exempt from the educational requirements of these rules.

(f) An attorney who files an affidavit with the Commission on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education of the Oklahoma Bar Association stating that the attorney did not practice law during the reporting period is exempt from the educational requirements of these rules.

(g) Any person claiming an exemption hereunder is required to file an annual report in compliance with these rules and regulations.

Rule 5. ANNUAL REPORT

On or before February 15th of each year, every active and senior member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, who did not attain age 65 before or during the preceding calendar year, shall report in such a form as the MCLEC shall prescribe concerning his or her completion of accredited legal education during the preceding calendar for the current year or exemption from the requirements of these rules. An attorney reporting attainment of age sixty-five (65) need only make one (1) such annual report.

Rule 7. REGULATIONS

Regulation 3

3.2 Other requests for substituted compliance, partial waivers, or other exemptions for hardship or extenuating circumstances may be granted by the Commission upon written application of the attorney and may likewise be reviewed by the Board of Governors and of the Oklahoma Bar Association. Other substitute forms of compliance may be granted for members with permanent or temporary physical disabilities (based upon a written confirmation from his or her treating physician) which makes attendance at regular approved CLE programs difficult or impossible.

Regulation 4

4.1.1 The following standards will govern the approval of continuing legal education programs by the Commission.

4.1.2 The program must have significant intellectual or practical content and its primary objective must be to increase the participant's professional competence as an attorney.

4.1.3 The program must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law, professional responsibility or ethical obligations of attorneys. Programs that cross academic lines may be considered for approval.

4.1.4 The program must be offered by a sponsor having substantial, recent, experience in offering continuing legal education or demonstrated ability to organize and present effectively continuing legal education. 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 program.

4.1.5 The program itself must be conducted by an individual or group qualified by practical or academic experience. The program,_ including the named advertised participants, must be conducted substantially as planned, subject to emergency withdrawals and alterations.

4.1.6 Thorough, high quality, readable, and carefully prepared written materials must 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 Commission MCLE Administrator. A mere outline without citations or explanatory notations will not be sufficient.

4.1.7 The program must be conducted in a comfortable physical setting, conducive to learning and equipped with suitable writing surfaces.

4.1.8 Approval may be given for programs where audiovisual recorded or reproduced material is used. Television Video programs and motion picture programs with sound shall qualify for CLE credit in the same manner as a live CLE program provided:

a. the original CLE program was approved for CLE credit as provided in these regulations or the visual recorded video program has been approved by the Commission under these rules, and

b. each person attending the visual presentation video program is provided written material as provided required in Regulation 4.1.6 and

c. each program is conducted in a location as required in Regulation 4.1.7 and

d. there are a minimum of five (5) persons enrolled and in attendance at the presentation of the visually recorded video program unless viewed at the Oklahoma Bar Center or sponsored by a county bar association in Oklahoma.

4.1.9 Programs that cross academic lines may be considered for approval. Approval for credit may also be granted for the following types of electronic-based CLE programs:

a. Live interactive webcast seminars, webcast replay seminars, live teleconferences and teleconference replays. If approved, an attorney may earn credit for seminars provided by these various delivery methods without an annual limit.

b. Online, on-demand seminars and downloadable podcasts. If approved, an attorney may receive up to six approved credits per year for these types of electronic-based programs.

Such programs must also meet the criteria established in the Rules of the Oklahoma Supreme Court for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, Rule7, Regulation 4, subject to standard course approval procedures and appropriate verification from the course sponsor.

1. The target audience must be attorneys.

2. The course shall provide high quality written instructional materials. These materials may be available to be downloaded or otherwise furnished so that the attorney will have the ability to refer to such materials during and subsequent to the seminars.

3. The provider must have procedures in place to independently verify an attorney's completion of a program. Verification procedures may vary by format and by provider. An attorney affidavit attesting to the completion of a program is not by itself sufficient.

4. If an online, on demand seminar is approved, it is approved only for twelve (12) months after the approval is granted. The sponsor may submit an application to have the course considered for approval in subsequent years.

Regulation 5.

On or before February 15th of each year, every active member, under sixty-five (65) years of age, or of the Oklahoma Bar Association shall submit a report in a form as the Commission shall provide concerning such attorney's completion of, exemption from or approved substitute for the minimum hours of instruction, including reference to hours earned during the preceding year and hours to be carried forward to the next year. An attorney reporting attainment of age sixty-five (65), need only make one (1) such annual report.

SUBSTITUTED COMPLIANCE POLICIES

The following regulations apply to technology-based CLE or distance learning CLE. The following Policies have been adopted by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission which interpret and supplement the Rules and Regulations concerning substituted compliance with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements:

1. Approval for credit may be granted, on a course-by-course basis, for live interactive, audio-only teleconference courses such as those sponsored and provided by the American Bar Association. , live webcasts, live webinars, live webcast replays or live webinar replays which otherwise meet the criteria established in the Rules of the Oklahoma Supreme Court for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, Rule 7, Regulation 4, subject to standard course approval procedures and appropriate certification of course completion. There is no limit to the number of credits that may be earned by an attorney per year from these delivery methods.

2. Approval for credit may be granted, for no more than six MCLE credits per year, for computer-based or other technology-based prerecorded legal education programs which otherwise meet the criteria established in the Rules of the Oklahoma Supreme Court for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, Rule 7, Regulation 4., subject to standard course approval procedure and appropriate certification by the sponsor of course completion.. Approval of such courses will be good for one year from the live recorded date, subject to approval by the MCLE Administrator.

3. Other substitute forms of compliance may be granted for members with a permanent or temporary physical disabilities (based upon a doctor's certification) which makes attendance at regular approved CLE programs difficult or impossible, as set forth in the Rule 7, Regulation 3.

4. If the CLE course provider has not secured course approval or rejection for MCLE credit in Oklahoma, the attorney attendee, in order to receive MCLE credit, must submit a request for MCLE credit and course approval on forms which will be supplied by the MCLE office, which application must be submitted with a $15 per course application fee."