Common Questions About CLER

1. What is CLER?

  • CLER, or Continuing Legal Education Requirement, was adopted by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1988 and requires all members of The Florida Bar to continue their legal education.

2. What is the requirement?

  • Over a 3 year period, each member must complete 30 hours, 5 of which are in the area of ethics, professionalism, substance abuse, or mental illness awareness.

3. Where may I find information on CLER?

  • Rule 6-10 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar sets out the requirement. All the rules may be found in the directory issue of The Florida Bar Journal.

4. Who administers the CLER program?

  • Day-to-day administration is the responsibility of the Legal Specialization and Education Department of The Florida Bar. The program is directly supervised by the Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE) and all policy decisions must ultimately be approved by the Board of Governors.

5. How often and by when do I need to report compliance?

  • Members are required to report CLE hours earned every three years. Each member is assigned a three year reporting cycle. You may find your reporting date on the mailing label of The Florida Bar News.

6. Will I receive notice advising me that my reporting period is upcoming?

  • Three months prior to the end of your reporting cycle, you will receive either:

1) CLER Reporting Affidavit, if you still lack hours; or,

2) CLER Notice of Compliance, if you have completed your hours.

7. What do I do with the Affidavit?

  • You are to update and correct the form, complete any hours you lack, and sign and return the affidavit by your reporting date. Complete instructions appear on the reverse side of the form.

8. What do I do with the Notice of Compliance?

  • If the information is correct, you need not respond. This document is your confirmation that you have completed the requirement for your current reporting cycle.

9. What happens if I am late returning my Affidavit or do not complete the required hours?

  • You run the risk of being deemed a delinquent member which prohibits you from engaging in the practice of Florida law.

10. Will I receive any other information about my reporting cycle?

  • Approximately 60 days prior to the end of your reporting cycle, if you have not yet completed your hours, you will receive a courtesy reminder and an audio/video tape listing and order information.

11. Are there any exemptions from CLER?

  • Rule 6-10.3(c) lists all valid exemptions. They are:

1) Active military service

2) Undue hardship (upon approval by the BLSE)

3) Nonresident membership (see rule for details)

4) Full-time federal judiciary

5) Justices of the Supreme Court of Florida and judges of district, circuit and county courts

6) Inactive members of The Florida Bar

12. Other than attending approved CLE courses, how may I earn credit hours?

  • Credit may be earned by:

1) Lecturing at an approved CLE program

2) Serving as a workshop leader or panel member

3) Writing and publishing in a professional publication or journal

4) Teaching (graduate law or law school courses)

5) University attendance (graduate law or law school courses)

13. How do I submit various activities for credit evaluation?

  • Applications for credit may be found in the directory issue of The Florida Bar Journal following the listing of Board Certified Lawyers.

14. How are attendance hours posted on my CLER record?

  • If the program is sponsored by The Florida Bar, credit will be automatically posted to your record upon completion of the course. If sponsored by another organization, you will be given a scantron computer card to complete. You may either return this card to the sponsor or mail it directly to The Florida Bar.

15. How long does it take for hours to be posted to my CLER record?

  • Computer card processing takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks. You should refer to the mailing label of your Florida Bar News to check your current hours. Please note, however, that the labels are printed one month in advance of the issue on which they appear and therefore, credit hours may not appear for 8 to 12 weeks.

16. How may I find information on programs sponsored by The Florida Bar?

  • You should refer to The Florida Bar News and the CLE section of the Bar's web site for more information on bar sponsored programs. You may also call CLE Registrations at 850/561-5831.

17. If I accumulate more than 30 hours, may I use the excess for my next reporting cycle?

  • Excess hours may not be carried forward. The standing policies of the BLSE, as approved by the Supreme Court of Florida specifically state in 6.03(b):

  • ... CLER credit may not be counted for more than one reporting period and may not be carried forward to subsequent reporting periods.

18. Will out-of-state CLE hours count toward CLER?

  • Courses approved by other state bars are generally acceptable for use toward satisfying CLER.

19. If I have questions, whom do I call?

  • You may call the Legal Specialization and Education Department of The Florida Bar at 850/561-5842.