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Mandatory Continuing Legal Education

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education

It is of primary importance to the members of the State Bar of Montana and to the public that attorneys continue their legal education throughout their active practice of law. To better serve the public, the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) program functions in the interest of consumer protection, assisting Montana attorneys to keep abreast of changes in both the law and the practice of law to better serve the public. Because the profession’s obligation to the public is paramount, all active attorneys must comply with MCLE, subject to the need to accommodate special circumstances.

The primary purpose of MCLE in Montana is to improve the competence of attorneys. The MCLE program should be a means of inculcating principles of ethics and professional conduct, as well as providing knowledge and training in substantive areas of the law.

Regulatory authority for MCLE rests with the Montana Supreme Court. In light of the authority of the Court provided in Article VII, Section 2, of the Montana Constitution permitting the Court to make rules governing admission to the bar and the conduct of its members, the Court oversees the continuing legal education system.



CLE Credit Requirements

  • 15.0 total CLE credit hours per reporting year, of which at least 2.0 CLE credit hours must be in approved Professional Fitness and Integrity (PFI – formerly called ethics) courses, as defined in Rule 5B.
  • Of those 15.0 total CLE credit hours, 10.0 CLE credit hours must be earned through attending live interactive courses, as defined in Rule 9A1.
  • A maximum of 5.0 CLE credit hours may be earned by any one or a combination of the following methods: using audio- or video-produced material, participating in asynchronous online activities that do not provide interaction with instructors and other participants, writing an article which appears in any Law Review published by an ABA-accredited law school, teaching and preparing written materials for an approved CLE course (repetition of such teaching activity does not qualify for credit), or attending approved in-house activities offered by law firms or similar entities primarily for the education of their employees or members.

Important Dates to Remember

March 31st

  • Reporting year ends. Attorneys should have all their CLE credits earned and reported by March 31st.

April 1st

  • New reporting year begins.

May 15th

  • End of the grace period for reporting the prior reporting year’s CLE credits. The $50.00 CLE late filing fee is assessed to any attorney who fails to earn and report their required yearly CLE credits by May 15th.

July 1st

  • As directed by Rule 13 of the Rules for Continuing Legal Education and the Bylaws of the State Bar of Montana, any attorney who fails to earn and report their required yearly CLE credits and pay the CLE late filing fee by July 1st is transferred to inactive status for non-compliance with CLE and is reported to the Supreme Court and courts of record. Once transferred to inactive status for non-compliance with CLE, an attorney must fulfill their yearly CLE requirements, pay all assessed late fees, and pay the $200.00 CLE reinstatement fee before they will be issued a letter of compliance that must be included in their petition to the Supreme Court for reinstatement to active status. Attorneys on inactive status may not practice law in the state of Montana.