Continuing Legal Education FAQs
To serve the public interest that mandates the competent performance of the duties of judicial office in Ohio, each full-time judge, part-time judge, retired judge, magistrate, or acting judge shall participate in continuing legal education programs and activities in compliance with Gov.Jud. R. IV, Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for the Judiciary.
Pursuant to Gov.Jud.R., IV, full-time judges, part-time judges, and retired judges eligible for assignment, are required to earn 40 hours of continuing legal education, including 10 hours of instruction through courses offered by the Ohio Supreme Court Judicial College, every two years. As part of the 10-hour Judicial College requirement, a minimum of three hours of Judicial Conduct instruction must be completed. The requirements may be prorated based on the date you take office or, if you are appointed, the date of your appointment, and your status at the end of the biennium.
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, judges, including retired and part-time judges, are required to earn 40 hours of continuing legal education, including 10 hours of instruction through courses offered by the Ohio Supreme Court Judicial College, every two years. Further, as part of the 10-hour Judicial College education requirement, 3 hours of instruction must be designated as “judicial conduct,” which may include courses on topics such as judicial ethics, judicial professionalism, and access to justice.
All Ohio judges have been permanently assigned to one of two compliance groups depending on their last name at the time of their admission to the practice of law in Ohio. Judges with last names beginning with the letters A through L will be required to earn all education hours by the end of each odd-numbered year. Judges with last names beginning with the letters M through Z will be required to earn all education hours by the end of each even-numbered year.
Thirty minutes of actual instruction equals one-half credit hour. Hours are calculated in quarter hours and rounded to the nearest quarter hour.
- Publication Credit. Judges may apply for CLE accreditation for publishing a legal article or book. A maximum of 12 hours of publication credit may be earned each compliance period.
- Teaching Credit. Judges may teach at an approved CLE activity and earn a maximum of 20 hours of teaching credit each biennial compliance period.
Effective January 1, 2023, the self-study caps for judges and magistrates will increase to 20 hours per compliance period and eliminate the separate cap for live webinars in future compliance periods. The first biennium that judges and magistrates will be subject to the new cap will be the 2023-2024 compliance period. The following clarifies the amendments and the self-study caps for judges and magistrates by compliance period:
- Judges and magistrates with last names ending with M-Z who have a CLE requirement for the 2021-2022 compliance period ending December 31, 2022: the self-study caps have been waived pursuant to the Administrative Order issued on September 22, 2021.
- Judges and magistrates with last names ending with A-L who have a CLE requirement for the 2022-2023 compliance period ending December 31, 2023, are subject to the current self-study caps of 12 hours of self-study credit and 24 hours of live interactive webinar credit.
- Judges and magistrates with last names ending with M-Z who have a CLE requirement for the 2023-2024 compliance period ending December 31, 2024, will be subject to the 20 hour self-study cap.
Judges and magistrates are encouraged to confirm that self-study courses have been accredited in Ohio prior to attending. Pursuant to CLE Reg. 409, only Sponsors can apply for accreditation of self-study activities.
A judge who completes more than his or her CLE requirement in a compliance period, may carry over a maximum of 20 hours of CLE to the next compliance period. Any carryover, including any Judicial College hours, will count as general credit only. Therefore, a minimum of 10 Judicial College hours, including 3 hours of Judicial Conduct, must be completed each compliance period.
Pursuant to Gov.Bar R. X, Sec. 12 (D), United States judges appointed to office for life pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution; United States bankruptcy judges; and United States magistrate judges, are exempt from the CLE requirements while in office.
When you first become subject to Gov.Jud. R. IV, your judicial education requirements will be calculated on a pro rata basis during the first biennial compliance period. The pro rata calculation is based on the date of your appointment and your status at the end of the compliance period. You may review your CLE requirements on the Attorney Portal.
You should maintain records to establish compliance with CLE requirements in the event of an error in your record.
If you fail to comply with the educational requirements of Gov.Jud. R. IV and Gov.Bar R. X, the Commission will send you a notice of apparent noncompliance. The notice will specify the nature of the noncompliance and state that unless you come into compliance or file evidence of compliance that is satisfactory to the Commission by the date set forth in the notice, the Commission will issue an order imposing a sanction against you. As a condition of acceptance of late compliance, you will be required to pay a late compliance fee that accompanies your report of compliance.
If you submit evidence by the date set forth in the notice that establishes timely compliance or late compliance, the Commission will withdraw the notice of noncompliance and advise you of this action.
If you do not come into compliance or file satisfactory evidence of compliance, the Commission will issue a sanction order against you, consistent with Commission regulation.
There is no provision for extensions of time to comply with your CLE/Judicial College requirements. However, you will be provided with an opportunity to make-up the deficient hours as described above.
The Commission may grant a temporary exemption from the continuing legal education requirements of Gov. Jud. R. IV and Gov. Bar Rule X, under the following circumstances:
- A full-time judge, part-time judge, or retired judge suffering from severe, prolonged illness or disability preventing participation in accredited programs and activities for the duration of the illness or disability;
- A full-time judge, part-time judge, or retired judge for a period not to exceed one year, upon a finding by the Commission that those special circumstances unique to that judge constitutes good cause for exemption. The Commission may adjust credit hour requirements on a pro rata basis;
- A full-time judge, part-time judge, or retired judge who, because of a permanent physical disability or other compelling reason, has difficulty attending programs and activities, may request, and the Commission may grant, approval of a substitute program.
The application for exemption forms can be found on the CLE website. The application should be submitted, along with appropriate supporting documentation, to the Office of Attorney Services.