The purpose of the Texas Bar College is: (1) to recognize and encourage lawyers who maintain and enhance their professional skills and the quality of their service to the public by significant voluntary participation in legal education; (2) to promote among members of the State Bar and the general public the educational and public purposes of the College and its members; (3) to recognize and encourage outstanding service to the legal profession and the public; and (4) to sponsor or otherwise assist in educational activities of significant merit and widespread relevance and applicability to the legal profession.
- The Board of Directors of the College shall supervise the operations of the College and shall accredit sponsors and programs.
- The Chair shall be the principal executive office of the College and shall supervise and control all of the business and affairs of the Board of Directors.
- The Executive Director of the State Bar College shall be responsible for the administration of the College.
III. ELIGIBILITY AND RELATIONSHIP TO MCLE
- Upon satisfying the membership requirements, all members of the State Bar of Texas in good standing shall be eligible to become members of the College.
- To maintain a good standing in the State Bar of Texas, all attorneys must satisfy the educational and reporting requirements of the State Bar's Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) program.
IV. MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
- Initial Membership
- A lawyer may become an Initial Member of the college by either: (1) completing 80 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) over a period of three or fewer calendar years; or (2) completing 45 hours of CLE in the prior or current calendar year.
- At least three of the CLE hours required for initial membership must be attained in the field of professional responsibility/legal ethics.
- As many as 16 hours of the 80-hour requirement or six hours of the 45-hour requirement may be completed through self-study, as defined under the Texas MCLE Regulations. Generally, this includes reading substantive legal materials, viewing or listening to recorded CLE presentations by accredited sponsors, attending non-accredited professional activities, and serving as a judge or evaluator in any type of mock trial, moot court or client counseling competition, class or program.
- A lawyer who has accumulated the minimum CLE credits needed for initial membership as specified above may join the College as an Initial Member by submitting a completed application along with the membership fee to the State Bar College office.
- Maintaining Membership
- In calendar years following the year of initial membership, a lawyer may maintain membership in the College by completing a minimum of 30 hours of CLE credit during each calendar year.
- As many as five hours of the 30-hour minimum requirement may be completed through self-study, as defined under the Texas MCLE Regulations.
- At least three hours of the 30-hour minimum requirement must be in the area of professional responsibility/legal ethics. Two hours of this minimum three-hour requirement must be completed in the form of participatory credit. One hour of this minimum three-hour requirement may be completed through self-study, as defined under the Texas MCLE Regulations.
- Termination and Reinstatement of Membership
- A lawyer shall be terminated as a member of the State Bar College upon the occurrence of any of the following events:
- the annual fee is not timely paid; or
- (b) the minimum CLE requirements for maintaining membership are not attained; or
- (c) the lawyer fails to maintain good standing in the State Bar of Texas.
- A lawyer whose membership in the College has been terminated in accordance with the previous provision, may reinstate his/her membership in the year immediately following that of termination by completing a minimum of 45 hours of CLE credit, including at least three hours of ethics credit, and by paying the annual fee. Up to five of the 45 hours may be accrued through self-study, as defined under the Texas MCLE Regulations. A member who fails to reinstate during the year immediately following that of termination must reapply as an initial member subject to all initial membership requirements in effect at that time.
- No attorney shall publish or permit others to publish a representation of membership in the College unless the attorney is a member in good standing under these regulations.
- Carry Forward of CLE Credit Hours
Members may carry forward a maximum of 15 hours of CLE credit earned in excess of the minimum requirements for any year, including up to three hours of ethics credit, and may apply those credit hours toward the next year’s minimum requirements, if all requirements for membership have been met.
Attorneys who have met the Initial Membership requirements may join the College by submitting an application and paying an initial fee of $60. For all calendar years following the Initial Membership year, members shall pay an annual fee of $60. The membership fee must be received in the College office by December 31.
VI. ACCREDITED CLE CREDIT HOURS
CLE credit hours may be in the form of either Regular, Teaching, or Legal Writing credit hours.
- Regular Credit Hours
- Regular CLE credit hours can be attained through attendance at accredited CLE activities offered by qualified CLE sponsors.
- CLE activities that are accredited for MCLE credit in Texas shall automatically be accredited for State Bar College credit.
- Upon the request of an applicant or a maintaining member, the College may, in its sole discretion, grant credit for CLE activities that are not accredited by the State Bar MCLE department.
- Regular CLE credit hours may also be attained through attendance at a law school course. Credit-hour computation shall be based on the number of credit hours awarded by the law school for such a course.
- Computation of Regular credit hours shall be based on the actual number of minutes of instruction rounded to the nearest one-quarter hour, reported in decimals. The actual minutes of instruction may include time for lectures, panel discussions, question-and-answer periods and video or film instruction in an organized presentation that is live, on tape, or transmitted through the Internet. Actual minutes of instruction shall not include time for introductory remarks, breaks or meals.
- Teaching Credit Hours
- Teaching credit may be earned for teaching or lecturing at an approved CLE activity.
- Computation of credit hours for teaching credit may include preparation time, presentation time, and the time of repeated presentations.
- Legal Writing Credit Hours
- Legal writing credit may be earned for research-based writing activities approved by the State Bar MCLE department. The writing activity: (1) must have produced material published or to be published in the form of an article, chapter or book written, in whole or in part, by the applicant; (2) must have contributed substantially to the continuing legal education of the applicant and of other attorneys; and (3) must not have been done in the ordinary course of the practice of law or the performance of regular employment.
- The MCLE Committee will consider the following factors in awarding credit: (1) the content, level and length of he materials, (2) the originality of the materials, (3) the nature of the publication in which they appear, if any.
VII. REPORTING OF CLE CREDIT HOURS
- To report Regular CLE credit hours for accredited CLE activities, members shall complete a State Bar CLE Course Attendance form while in attendance at such CLE activities, or they may update their CLE record through the State Bar website www.texasbar.com.
- To report other Regular, Teaching, Legal Writing or Self-study CLE credit hours, members shall complete and timely submit the appropriate reporting forms to the State Bar MCLE department or they may update their CLE record through the State Bar website www.texasbar.com.
- To request credit for CLE activities not accredited by the State Bar MCLE department, applicant shall submit a statement to the Executive Director of the Texas Bar College describing the activity, including a brochure if available, and giving reasons why the activity should be approved for CLE credit.
VIII. ANNUAL VALIDATION OF MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
- Each year, the Executive Director of the Texas Bar College will furnish a status report to each member of the College. Each member shall verify the reported CLE information and shall report any changes or additions to the College office. Any changes or additions to a member's Bar College CLE record should be mailed to the Texas Bar College, P.O. Box 12487, Austin, Texas 78711-2487.
- Any changes or additions to a member's Bar College CLE record should be mailed to the Texas Bar College, P.O. Box 12487, Austin, Texas 78711-2487.
IX. CERTIFICATE OF MEMBERSHIP
Certificates of membership in the Texas Bar College will be awarded to Initial and, upon request, to Maintaining Members.