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Attorney FAQs

The reporting year runs from April 1 to March 31 every year. In addition, there is a 6-week grace period during which you may earn and report CLE credits without penalty.

This means you may attend and report CLE programs up until May 15 to meet the requirement for the year ending March 31 without being assessed a late fee.

New attorneys are not required to complete any CLE for the duration the reporting year (not the calendar year) during which they are admitted to the State Bar of Montana. The reporting year begins on April 1 and ends on March 31 each year. Your admission date is the date on which you were sworn-in to the Bar (not the date on which you passed the bar exam.)

For example: An attorney admitted to the Bar in October 2022, does not have a requirement for the year that ends on March 31, 2023. The first full reporting year for which that attorney has a CLE requirement will begin April 1, 2023 and end March 31, 2024.

Yes. You can claim CLE credit for any approved CLE program that you attend after your date of admission to the State Bar of Montana. Your date of admission is the date on which you were sworn-in, not the date on which you passed the bar exam.

You may report your CLE attendance on your Member Dashboard on the State Bar of Montana’s website any time after you have been sworn-in. These credits will be applied to the first year for which you have a CLE requirement.

No. Please report your CLE credits through your Member Dashboard as you earn your credits throughout the year.

All active attorneys must complete at least 15 credits of continuing legal education every reporting year. Of these 15, a minimum of 2 credits must be earned from programs on professional fitness and integrity, which include professional responsibilities and ethics, fitness to practice, and activities on acknowledging and advancing the elimination of bias and encouraging diversity and inclusion of all persons in the legal system.

Montana is 60-minute state. This means that in Montana one CLE credit is earned for every 60 minutes of instruction time. Introductory remarks, breaks, and luncheon speeches do not qualify for CLE credit.

Yes. You must attend at least 30 minutes of the instruction time to receive partial credit. Credit is calculated by rounding attendance time up or down to the nearest quarter hour beyond the 30-minute mark.

No. You must earn a minimum of 10.0 credits per year from participating in "live" or "interactive" seminars. A maximum of 5.0 "other" credits may be earned by self-study programs or methods.

"Other" credit usually refers to some type of self-study program or in-house program. These include: audio recordings; DVD recordings; on-line programs that are available "on-demand"; preparing to teach at approved CLE programs; writing an article that appears in any law review published by an ABA-accredited law school; or courses put on by law firms that are not open and advertised to any attorneys to attend.

In-person seminars, telephone conferences, and live webinar courses that allow attendees to interact with the presenter and other attendees during the course qualify as live credit.

Online programs qualify for "live, interactive" credit if the participants are required to log-on at a specific time and date and have the ability to communicate with the presenter and other attendees during the course. The programs must be broadcast in real time. These activities are sometimes referred to as "live webcasts" or "live webinars".

Online programs are considered as "other" credit if they have no way for attendees to interact in real time during the course with the presenter and other attendees. These are often programs that have been recorded and are accessible "on-demand." This means that an attorney can view the program at his or her convenience. Credits earned by this method are limited to 5.0 per year.

It is a strongly held precept of the Montana Supreme Court Commission of Continuing Legal Education that interaction with presenters and fellow attorneys significantly contributes to the learning process. For this reason, the majority of CLE credits required each year must be earned through attendance at live seminars or by methods that allow for interaction by telephone or electronic means.

Yes. A maximum of 30 credits earned from "live" or "interactive" programs may be carried over to the next two reporting years. "Other" credits may not be carried over.

You may carry over PFI (ethics) credits from "live" or "interactive" programs to the next two reporting years once you meet the 15-credit yearly requirement. A total of 4 "live" PFI (ethics) credits may be carried over.

PFI (ethics) credits earned through non-interactive, other methods may not be carried over to subsequent years.

Yes, if the course meets Montana's accreditation standards. Keep in mind that courses may be accredited differently from how they were accredited in other states due to different accreditation standards.

If you would like to attend an in-person course in another state and request CLE credit for your attendance, you will need to apply for course accreditation in Montana by completing an application through your Member Dashboard, attaching the timed agenda, a detailed description of what will be covered during the course, and faculty bios. We do not require attorneys licensed in Montana to pay the application fee if you are just applying for credit for yourself.

After the course is accredited in Montana, you may claim credit for your attendance by reporting your earned CLE credits with certificate of attendance through your Member Dashboard.

No. With the move to our new software system, we will no longer provide annual paper printouts of your transcript. You can access your transcript at any time through your Member Dashboard.

Please log in to your Member Dashboard.

Most providers report program attendance, but not all. Although we request that program providers submit list of attorneys who attend their programs, we do not always receive the attendance information nor in a timely manner. Per our rules, Montana is a self-reporting state and the burden is on the individual attorney to submit and satisfy your yearly CLE credit requirements.

The Montana CLE rules allow attorneys to claim a maximum of 5.0 "other" credits per year for preparing to teach at an approved CLE program. Teaching in scheduled activities of any educational institution by an attorney who has an employment relationship with the institution, either as an employee or as a contractor, or by an attorney who is a guest speaker on a regular basis is not an approved CLE activity. Presentations given to the general public do not qualify for CLE credit, therefore the preparation for these events may not be claimed for teaching credit.

Please note the number hours you are requesting for time spent preparing to teach at the approved CLE program when you report your CLE credits through your Member Dashboard.

Montana attorneys have a 6-week grace period during which CLE credits may be earned and reported. If you have not completed and reported the minimum number of CLE credits (15.0 total credits, including 2.0 ethics) by May 15th, a $50.00 penalty fee will be assessed.

Attorneys who have not complied with CLE requirements and paid the $50.00 late fee by July 1 will be immediately suspended for non-compliance as required by the Montana Supreme Court.

The names of these attorneys will be furnished to all Montana District Courts, the Montana Supreme Court, the Federal District Court of the District of Montana, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Suspended attorneys may not engage in the practice of law.

  1. You must first come into compliance with the CLE requirement for the previous year by reporting a minimum of 15.0 total credits, including 2.0 ethics credits. The Montana Commission of CLE will confirm that the hours you have reported have been accepted and applied to your record. You must also pay the $50.00 late fee and the $200.00 reinstatement fee before the Montana Commission of CLE will supply you with a letter of compliance.
  2. You may then petition the Montana Supreme Court to return you to active status, attaching the written confirmation of your compliance with CLE.
  3. Once the Court accepts your petition, an order will be issued reinstating you to active status upon payment of any remaining fees.

Exemptions or extensions of time in which to complete CLE requirements may be issued in special circumstances that include severe illness or injury. They may not be granted in successive years for the same hardship. Email the MCLE Administrator at to get the required form.

Neither exemptions nor extensions will be granted for heavy caseloads or upcoming court dates.