A Report on Mandatory CLE in Maryland

Open Meeting

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, the Supreme Court of Maryland held an online meeting where it discussed the next steps in the consideration of whether there should be mandatory CLE for Maryland attorneys. At the meeting the Court voted to continue consideration of how CLE would be implemented if adopted. The recording of that meeting is available on the Special Events Archive page.

Reviewing the Written Comments About the Report and Recommendations

In September 2023, the Supreme Court solicited written comments on the report and recommendations of the Workgroup to Study Mandatory Continuing Legal Education in Maryland. Anyone wishing to review the written comments may do so by coming to the Clerk’s Office at the Supreme Court during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). While not required, it would be helpful if you make a reservation to review the written materials. You may do so by emailing the Clerk at [email protected] or by calling 410-260-1500.

About the Report and Recommendations:

In November 2022, the Supreme Court of Maryland commissioned a work group to study whether to implement mandatory CLE in Maryland and, if so, how mandatory CLE should be implemented. The attached report is the result of that study.

The work group, chaired by the Honorable Stuart R. Berger of the Appellate Court of Maryland, consisted of 27 attorneys, legal academics, and judges from diverse backgrounds and from around the State. Here are the recommendations of the work group:

  • Recommendation 1: The Supreme Court of Maryland should adopt a requirement that attorneys complete a minimum number of CLE hours to remain in good standing.
  • Recommendation 2: If the Supreme Court of Maryland adopts mandatory CLE, such a mandate should include the following provisions:
  • Recommendation 2(a): A mandate should require a minimum of 12 hours of CLE each year;
  • Recommendation 2(b): Attorneys should report their CLE completion each year, with a reporting period that runs from January 1 to December 31, or that otherwise aligns with the other reporting requirements imposed upon Maryland attorneys;
  • Recommendation 2(c): The “1-1-1 plan” – within the 12-hour requirement, attorneys should complete at least one-hour each of CLE concerning (1) ethics and professional responsibility; (2) diversity, equity, and inclusion; and (3) mental health and substance abuse;
  • Recommendation 2(d): Attorneys can carry-over up to 100 percent, or 12 hours, of CLE in excess of the 12-hour minimum, from one reporting period to the next; this includes carrying over the “1-1-1 plan” requirements, so long as each of the required subjects are reflected within the carried over hours;
  • Recommendation 2(e): Only attorneys registered as “inactive” with the Maryland bar should be exempt from compliance with a CLE mandate in Maryland; newly admitted attorneys should be exempt from compliance during the reporting period in which they earn admission to the Maryland bar;
  • Recommendation 3: Maryland should embrace the following approach to developing and applying a CLE mandate:
  • Recommendation 3(a): Any mandatory CLE rule should take an inclusive and flexible approach to providing credit for CLE activities in an effort to ease the burden of compliance;
  • Recommendation 3(b): Any mandatory CLE rule for Maryland should seek to align itself as closely as possible with those rules of neighboring jurisdictions such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, or New York, in an effort to ease compliance for Maryland attorneys who must adhere to multiple CLE rules.

Final Report and Recommendations of the Workgroup to Study Mandatory CLE in Maryland
Appendices to the Final Report