Attention All Lawyers Admitted in New Jersey:
New Jersey Now Has a Mandatory
Effective January 1, 2010, any lawyer holding a license to practice law in New Jersey (whether possessing a plenary or limited license) is required to complete 24 hours of continuing legal education every two years, including at least four hours on topics related to ethics and professionalism, pursuant to Rule 1:42, adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court on December 18, 2009.
PBI Courses Qualify for NJ Credit
Credits taken with the Pennsylvania Bar Institute will satisfy the NJ requirements based upon reciprocity. Credits taken with PBI earn the same number of credit hours in New Jersey (see Rule 201:4) (but see narrow definition of live courses, below).
Under Regulation 401 (see link to regulations under "More Info" heading below), attorneys have been assigned to one of two compliance periods, based upon their BIRTH MONTH, as follows:
- If your birthday falls in January through June, you have been assigned to Compliance Group 1. Your first deadline is to accrue the required 24 credits by December 31, 2011.
- If your birthday falls in July through December, you have been assigned to Compliance Group 2. By December 31, 2010, that group is required to earn one-half of the mandatory CLE credits (i.e. 12 of your 24). Thereafter, you will be required to earn 24 credits every two years.
For the first compliance period only, attorneys are able to count credits back to qualified CLE courses attended from January 1, 2009 forward to their deadline.
New Jersey is a “self-reporting” jurisdiction. You are responsible for certifying your completion of the required credits on a form that will be supplied to you by the NJ Board on Continuing Legal Education. In the event that you are audited, the NJ CLE Board advises that it will accept your Pennsylvania CLE Board report as documentation of programs attended and credits earned (you can get a copy of this report at www.pacle.org). Programs taken with PBI will count 1-for-1 on credits. Although you are welcome to sign PBI’s “Out-of-State” form (located at the front desk), we will not be providing any written documentation of attendance unless you are later audited and request such confirmation of attendance from PBI. Unless you are audited, the NJ CLE Board does NOT want you to provide documentation of CLE programs you have attended. Remember, if you are audited, your Pennsylvania Annual CLE Report obtained from the Pennsylvania CLE Board will provide the documentation you need of courses attended and credits earned.
Your compliance reporting period does not begin to run until January 1 of the year following admission to the NJ Bar. During your first compliance period, you must satisfy 15 of your 24 credits in five of nine NJ-specific subject areas (See Regulation 201:2 for more details); the regulations are linked below under More info.
* PBI will NOT offer the NJ specific courses required for new admittees.
Narrow definition of live courses
New Jersey requires that at least half of a lawyer's credits be earned in "live" courses, which New Jersey narrowly construes as requiring that the speaker be in the same room with the participants.
This page was first posted February 8, 2010 and revised April 30, May 3, May 12, and July 14, 2010; and June 15, 2011.