Understanding the New Jersey CLE Requirement
Total CLE Requirement:
24 credit hours every two years
*12 hours must be taken live
*12 may be completed online
*COVID-19 Temporary Change: The Supreme Court of New Jersey has ordered that effective immediately and until further order of the Court, the live classroom instruction requirement is relaxed. Until further notice, all twenty-four credit hours for the compliance period may be fulfilled through approved courses offered in alternative verifiable learning formats.
20 General hours
*5 Ethics/Professionalism hours
*Effective January 1, 2021:
5 Ethics/Professionalism hours including 2 hours of Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias.
Effective January 1, 2021, the total credit hours required for professionalism and ethics has increased from four to five credits (of the overall total requirement of 24 credits per two-year reporting cycle) and require that at least two credit hours of those five credit hours in professionalism and ethics include the completion of qualifying coursework on diversity, inclusion, and elimination of bias.
*Please Note: The amendments are effective January 1, 2021. Attorneys in the current two-year CLE reporting cycle that ends December 31, 2020, thus are not required to report compliance with the revised requirements. The requirements (five professionalism and ethics credits rather than four, with two of those five hours on diversity, inclusion, and elimination of bias) apply to attorneys in the next two-year CLE reporting cycle that ends on December 31, 2021, and to attorneys in all subsequent two-year reporting cycles.
COMPLIANCE PERIOD RULE:
Compliance Group 1: Attorneys born in January through June report in even-numbered years.
Compliance Group 2: Attorneys born in July through December report in odd-numbered years.
New Jersey attorneys certify compliance on the Annual Attorney Registration and Billing Statement. They must maintain possession of their Certificates of Attendance for at least 3 years as they will be asked to produce those records in the event of an audit.
New Jersey is a self-reporting state; therefore, attorneys must maintain all necessary records and documentation to demonstrate compliance in accordance with the Board’s Regulations. Random audits of individual attorneys will be performed to ensure the overall compliance of attorneys. If randomly audited, an attorney will be required to submit all
certificates of course attendance obtained during a compliance period as proof of compliance with the CLE requirement.
For reporting compliance, an attorney whose birthday is between January 1 and June 30 is in Compliance Group 1. An attorney whose birthday is between July 1 and December 31 is in Compliance Group 2. Those in Group 1 will report the completion of the required credits taken during the compliance period in the annual attorney registration and billing process in even-numbered years; for example, an attorney born in February would report compliance in 2014, 2016, 2018, etc. Those in Compliance Group 2 will report compliance in odd-numbered years in the annual attorney registration and billing process; for example, an attorney born in July would report compliance in 2015, 2017, 2019, etc. Attorneys are encouraged to register and report CLE compliance on line, rather than through the paper billing process.
Newly Admitted Requirement:
Within the general 24 credit CLE requirement, a newly admitted lawyer with a plenary license in New Jersey must obtain 15 credit hours in at least 5 of the following 9 subject areas during the newly admitted lawyer’s first full two-year compliance period:
New Jersey basic estate administration; New Jersey basic estate planning; New Jersey civil or criminal trial preparation; New Jersey family law practice; New Jersey real estate closing procedures; New Jersey trust and business accounting; New Jersey landlord/tenant practice; New Jersey municipal court practice; and New Jersey law office management.
State Contact Information:
Supreme Court of New Jersey
Board on Continuing Legal Education
P.O. Box 965
Trenton, NJ 08625-0965
- (T) (609) 633-9733
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