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New CLE Rules for KBA Members

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently approved new CLE rules that became effective January 1, 2014.

These rules include the renumbering of all of the CLE rules to aid in internal consistency as well as consistency with the rest of the rules of practice. The changes also include significant reorganization in an attempt to reduce redundancies, clarify and simplify the rules. The CLE forms also changed as of January 1 to reflect the new rules.

The most important change is the reduction of the annual minimum CLE requirement from 12.5 to 12; the minimum required ethics was not reduced. The 12.5 requirement is a holdover result of Kentucky's conversion from a 50-minute to a 60-minute CLE hour. Kentucky and Louisiana were the only states with mandatory CLE requirements of 12.5. Every state contiguous to Kentucky, and most in the United States, has 12-credit hour requirements, or multiples of 12 (reporting every two to three years).

Another important change concerns the availability of non-hardship time extensions. The former rule stipulated that a member could only get a non-hardship time extension once every three years. The fee was $250 and all credits had to be earned and certified by September 10. The new rule makes this extension available to members every year, but with a progressive fee schedule. The fee is now $250 for the first year, $350 for the second year, and $500 for all subsequent years. After three years without applying for a non-hardship time extension, the fee schedule resets back to $250. The deadline remains September 10.

The CLE requirement for removing a CLE non-practice exemption is lowered by the new rules. The former rule required a member seeking to remove a non-practice exemption to earn sufficient CLEs to be compliant for each year the exemption is held, capped at two years' worth of credits (25, including 4 ethics). The new rule requires earning one year of CLE in order to remove the exemption. The member is still responsible for earning the current year requirement after removal of the exemption.

The new CLE rules are available in their entirety in the November issue of the Bench & Bar and were posted at www.kybar.org on Jan. 1, 2014. For more information, contact Mary Beth Cutter, director for CLE at the KBA, at mcutter@kybar.org.

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