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Comity-Plus

We are excited to announce the start of the Comity-Plus program for out-of-state attorneys who reside and have an active license to practice law in a mandatory continuing legal education jurisdiction. The Montana Supreme Court adopted the rule change to implement this program, starting in the 2023-2024 reporting year, which ends March 31, 2024.

To take advantage of this program, you must already be in compliance for the 2022-2023 reporting year with no outstanding fees and meet all of the criteria outlined in the Rule below. Please note that credits used in Montana for prior years' compliance may not be used again toward current year Comity-Plus credit totals. The link to the below-mentioned required Certificate of Good Standing in MCLE Compliance can be found HERE. Without this specific form, your application will be denied. The Comity-Plus processing fee is $25.00. All required documentation must be submitted through the Comity-Plus form found on your Member Dashboard. Due to the software delay in launching the program, the deadline for the 2023-2024 Comity-Plus application has been extended to March 31, 2024.

Note: If your resident jurisdiction's reporting period is longer than yearly, divide the total number of general and ethics credits required by the number of years in your reporting period. For example: your jurisdiction requires 45.0 total credits, including 6.0 ethics credits, every three years. That would be 15.0 total credits, including 2.0 ethics per year. If the totals come out to less than Montana's required 15.0 credits, including 2.0 PFI (ethics) per reporting year, you are required to report additional credits with proper documentation, as outlined in the rules below. Also, please highlight which courses you are applying toward Comity-Plus Compliance. They cannot be credits that have already been used for a prior year's compliance.


Rule 5 – Education Requirements for MCLE Compliance

D. “Comity-Plus” Compliance for Members in Other States and Jurisdictions.

A member who has an active license to practice law in another state or jurisdiction where the member resides (“Resident Jurisdiction”) may transfer the number of credits required to meet MCLE requirements of that state or jurisdiction. In order to meet its obligations to the public and the legal profession, the Commission requires the member to complete additional activities, if needed, to satisfy Montana’s standards for the total number of credits, and/or the total number of Professional Fitness and Integrity credits, required for CLE compliance.

  1. To seek comity-plus compliance, the member must meet all of these criteria:
    1. the member has an active license issued by the member’s Resident Jurisdiction that has mandatory CLE requirements;
    2. the member’s address on file with the State Bar of Montana is in that Resident Jurisdiction and has been for a minimum of 45 days prior to the end of the member’s compliance period in Montana;
    3. the member’s Resident Jurisdiction requires the completion of CLE credits to be in compliance with the CLE requirements established by court rule or legislation in the Resident Jurisdiction;
    4. the member provides a certificate of good standing verifying CLE compliance (specific form found HERE) in the Resident Jurisdiction and a copy of the member’s CLE transcript of activities undertaken to complete the CLE requirements of the Resident Jurisdiction;
    5. the member documents completion of the additional number and types of activities, if any, required to meet Montana’s standards for CLE compliance; and
    6. the member submits all proper documentation and the comity-plus compliance processing fee by December 31 of the reporting year.
  2. The Commission will not consider any comity-plus requests submitted after December 31 of the reporting year. If a member does not submit a comity-plus request by December 31 of the reporting year, the member must comply with Montana’s CLE requirements as set forth in Rule 9.
  3. Only complete compliance with a Resident Jurisdiction’s CLE requirements will be eligible for comity-plus compliance in Montana. Individual credits or activities will require individual review under the guidelines established by these Rules.
  4. Only the number of credits required for compliance in the member’s Resident Jurisdiction will be credited towards comity-plus compliance in Montana. Carry-over credits will not be recognized or carried over in Montana.
  5. If additional activities are required for the member to reach Montana’s standards for total number of credits, and/or total number of Professional Fitness and Integrity credits, such activities must meet all other Montana CLE Rules for eligible activities and must be interactive in format, as defined in Rule 9.

 


Further Explanation of Comity-Plus

1. Comity: For lawyers whose address on file with the State Bar is outside Montana, Montana will accept, sight unseen, the number of credits, including the number of professional fitness and integrity credits, required for a certificate of compliance from any and all other mandatory CLE states. Full compliance in the residence jurisdiction must be met before Montana will consider comity-plus compliance. The CLE administrator from the attorney’s residence jurisdiction must provide a verification of compliance and a list of the courses taken to demonstrate compliance.

2. Plus: Montana will require the attorney to make up the difference, if any, between the number of total credits and the number of professional fitness and integrity credits required for compliance in the residence jurisdiction and the number of total credits, including the number of professional fitness and integrity credits, required in Montana.

3. Montana will require an early submission date for comity-plus applications and place the burden on the attorney to have provided the appropriate documentation not only for certification in the residence jurisdiction, but for any additional courses taken to come into full compliance with Montana’s standards

4. Montana will not dispute other jurisdictions’ definitions of “hour” or types of accredited activities for the credits used in the comity portion. Montana will, however, insist that all courses taken to make up the difference between another jurisdiction’s requirements and Montana’s for the plus portion meet Montana’s requirements for eligibility and all must be interactive in nature.