It is important to members of the bar of the Supreme Court of Vermont as well as the public that attorneys continue their legal education while they are practicing law. The Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education lay out the guidelines for this education, which is supervised by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board.
Attorneys on active and pro bono emeritus status are subject to mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements. Attorneys on judicial and inactive status are not subject to MCLE requirements.
If you are an attorney on active status, you must complete at least 20 hours of accredited continuing legal education during each two-year reporting period. At least 2 of those hours must be in legal ethics. Up to 10 hours may be self-study, such as online and video presentations. You may earn a maximum of 10 hours through activities other than direct education.
If you are an attorney on pro bono emeritus status, you must complete at least 8 hours of accredited continuing legal education, including at least 1 hour in legal ethics, during each two-year reporting period.
Note that credits from a prior reporting period earned in excess of the required hours cannot be rolled over for use in a following reporting period.
You must certify compliance with the MCLE requirements on the licensing statement that you must file at the end of each reporting period when you renew your license. For more information on reporting periods and license renewal, please visit the Attorney Licensing and Pro Hac Vice Licensure page.
If you do not complete the required number of MCLE hours within your reporting period, you may file a makeup plan with the MCLE Board:
The makeup plan must state in detail how and by when you will obtain the required credits. You must complete the makeup plan within 120 days of the filing of the plan and file a certificate of completion not later than 15 days following the 120-day period:
A $50 fee is due when you file the makeup plan.
If you do not file or timely complete your makeup plan or do not timely file a certificate of completion, you will be subject to suspension by the Supreme Court.
The MCLE Board is authorized to accredit courses and to assign MCLE credit to approved courses. Courses must be of significant intellectual and practical content and led by a person or persons qualified to do so by education or practical knowledge. Courses must be held in a classroom environment and include detailed written materials.
Groups, including law firms, corporations, and government offices, may apply for MCLE accreditation for in-house courses presented to at least three learners. Groups must obtain approval by the MCLE Board prior to the presentation.
Individuals may apply for MCLE credit for specific activities. These activities must meet the standards for educational content outlined above. Individuals must apply for accreditation within 30 days after the activity. A $50 fee is imposed on applications for accreditation received after that time.
Some activities, including sitting as an acting judge, judging at moot court programs, unpaid authoring and publishing legal articles, and volunteering on certain committees, are automatically accredited.
To apply for accreditation of a course, fill out the Application for Accreditation of Continuing Legal Education Activity:
and return it with an agenda, a table of contents or equivalent, and faculty names and credentials (if those are not included in an accompanying brochure or description), and the relevancy to the law. The MCLE Board will determine how many hours will be approved and notify you of their decision. There is no fee as long as the request is made within 30 days of the activity. Please allow three weeks for processing.
Some groups have been preapproved to offer CLE courses. A list of accredited sponsors can be viewed here:
To become an accredited sponsor, you must apply to the MCLE Board, stating your legal education history for the preceding two calendar years. Include dates, subjects offered, total hours of instruction presented, and the names and qualifications of speakers. Applications should be mailed to:
Board of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
Office of Attorney Licensing
32 Cherry Street, Ste. 213
Burlington, VT 05401
In addition to MCLE requirements that all attorneys are subject to, newly admitted attorneys must complete 15 hours of specially approved continuing legal education courses on Vermont practice and procedure within one year of admission. At least 6 of the 15 hours must be earned by attendance at live courses. Continuing legal education courses taken to satisfy the first-year requirements will count toward the MCLE requirement during your first reporting period.
A list of approved courses for newly admitted attorneys can be found here:
The Vermont Bar Association (VBA) has also been approved to provide courses to satisfy the first-year continuing legal education requirements. The VBA’s list of courses can be found here.
Newly admitted attorneys must certify completion of the first-year continuing legal education requirement by submitting a Certification of Compliance with First-Year CLE Requirement:
Failure to file a Certification of Compliance within one year of admission will result in administrative suspension of your license to practice law.
Note that if you are admitted by examination or transferred UBE score, you must also complete a six-month mentorship within your first year of admission. For more information on the mentorship requirement, visit the Admission to the Vermont Bar page.