Sign In
  • WisBar News
    December 20, 2021

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Adopts New CLE Requirements for Reactivated Lawyers

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court has issued an order, effective Jan. 1, 2022, establishing new continuing legal education (CLE) attendance and reporting requirements for lawyers who reactivate their State Bar of Wisconsin membership or who are readmitted or reinstated to the State Bar.

    Jeff M. Brown

    Drunk Driving 

    Dec. 17, 2021 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has issued an order, effective Jan. 1, 2022, establishing new continuing legal education (CLE) attendance and reporting requirements for lawyers who reactivate their State Bar of Wisconsin membership or who are readmitted or reinstated to the State Bar.

    The State Bar filed the petition in 2021, seeking CLE rule changes to create a “comity rule” for “inactive” members who practice primarily in another state. Specifically, the order provides that inactive attorneys in mandatory CLE states may use compliance with their home state’s CLE to meet the requirements for transfer to “active” status.

    It also removes the requirement that the attorney be admitted to practice in their home state the entire time they are inactive in Wisconsin.

    “These proposed changes clarify and are consistent with existing Supreme Court rules governing CLE requirements, comity recognition, and admission to the Wisconsin Bar based upon practice experience in another jurisdiction,” a supporting memo states.

    The memo supporting the State Bar’s proposal noted that there are many reasons attorneys may choose to become “inactive,” including family reasons, or the economics of maintaining two active licenses in two states.

    The State Bar’s request, which the supreme court has now adopted as a new version of SCR 31.06, makes it easier for attorneys to transfer back to “active” or “senior active” status. Senior active status applies to attorneys who attain the age of 75 and are still practicing law.

    Under current rules, the Board of Bar Examiners has broad authority to determine the CLE requirements when transferring from “inactive” to “active” status.

    Three Categories of Lawyers

    The rule sets out three categories of reactivated, readmitted, or reinstated lawyers:

    • Lawyers who have not qualified for “senior active” status and who were either in inactive status or had voluntarily resigned from the State Bar (junior inactives);
    • Lawyers who have qualified for “senior active” status and who were either in inactive status or had voluntarily resigned from the State Bar (senior inactives); and
    • Inactive lawyers whose practice is principally in another jurisdiction that has mandatory CLE requirements (foreign inactives).

    Wisconsin Inactives: One Period Missed

    Junior inactives who have missed completing CLE requirements for the most recent CLE reporting period must complete 30 hours of CLE, including three hours of ethics CLE.

    Jeff M. Brown ​Jeff M. Brown is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by email or by phone at (608) 250-6126.

    Sen​ior inactives who have missed completing CLE requirements for the most recent CLE reporting period must complete 15 hours of CLE, including three hours of ethics.

    Only CLE activities that were completed during or after the most recent CLE reporting period count toward the 30- or 15-hour requirement.

    Wisconsin Inactives: Two Periods Missed

    Junior inactives who have missed completing CLE requirements for the two most recent CLE reporting periods must complete 60 hours of CLE, including three hours of ethics CLE.

    Senior inactives who have missed completing CLE requirements for the two most recent CLE reporting periods must complete 30 hours of CLE, including three hours of ethics.

    Only CLE activities that were completed during or after the two most recent CLE reporting periods count toward the 60- or 30-hour requirement.

    The new rule makes no changes to the former requirements for junior inactives. Rather, the new rule moves those requirements from administrative rules promulgated by the Board of Bar Examiners to the supreme court rules.

    ​Foreign Inactives

    An out-of-state “inactive” attorney can satisfy the new CLE attendance and reporting requirements by providing a certificate of good standing or other proof of eligibility to practice law in his or her principal jurisdiction.

    Additional Provisions

    Upon resuming active status, lawyers must also meet the requirements of SCR 31.02 for the reporting period during which they are reactivated, readmitted, or reinstated.

    The CLE requirements imposed by the rules are not to be greater than they would have been had the lawyer not elected for “inactive” status or resigned from the bar.




    The Challenge is $25,000–You Can Help Meet that Goal!
    If you’ve never donated to the Wisconsin Law Foundation, or if your support has waned in the past few years, now is the time to get involved or reconnect because your donation will be DOUBLED.

    Through a generous matching pledge, EVERY donation this year from individuals who have not contributed to the Foundation since 7/1/2018 will be matched, dollar for dollar, to a total of up to $25,000!

    Donate Today

    Wisconsin Law Foundation



Join the conversation! Log in to leave a comment.

News & Pubs Search

-
Format: MM/DD/YYYY