NH Minimum Continuing Legal Education
Rule 53 Regulations
This information is valid for the NHMCLE reporting year July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016. Please refer to the box at right for the version of Rule 53 that went into effect on July 1, 2016.
SC Rule 53 REGULATIONS--- Effective July 1, 2006, rev. Sept 11, 2006, rev October 27, 2008, rev April 5, 2010
Regulation 53.1 (B) Number of Hours Required
An hour under this Rule shall be 60 minutes of exposure to continuing legal education. Only legal education shall be included in computing the total hours of actual instruction. Non-instructional portions of programs such as business meetings and breaks shall not be included in credit computation. Portions of an hour will be rounded down to the nearest tenth of an hour.
Regulation 53.2 Lawyers Subject To Requirement
B. Exemptions from Rule
- Lawyers suspended from practice are not considered admitted to practice for the purposes of this rule.
- In dealing with petitions for exemptions, the Board shall have the power to fashion alternative methods of compliance.
Regulation 53.3 Activities Qualifying For NHMCLE Credit
Only activities undertaken while admitted to the Bar of New Hampshire or another jurisdiction qualify for NHMCLE credit, either for the reporting year in which the activity was undertaken, or in the following reporting year pursuant to Rule 53.1 (D).
A. Methods of Complying with Rule
- Faculty or qualified commentators shall be contemporaneously available to answer questions or offer comments. Distance learning on-line courses will qualify as live programming only if lawyers can communicate with faculty by e-mail or other reasonably contemporaneous method.
- Credit for non-traditional format courses (such as audio/video, teleconference, satellite broadcast, distance learning on-line) not presented by an Annual Sponsor must be approved by the NHMCLE Board.
Lawyers shall not claim credit for attending the same course, whether in person or via another presentation method, more than once in a reporting period.
- Applicants for admission on motion pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 42(11) or 42(12) may apply for approval of courses satisfying the requirement of continuing legal education on New Hampshire practice and procedure. Any courses otherwise qualifying for NHMCLE credit that are New Hampshire specific or that are directly relevant and applicable to the practice of law in New Hampshire will be considered for approval. Courses which are certified by NHMCLE Annual Sponsors as fulfilling the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 42(11) and 42(12) will be treated as approved automatically. A minimum of 6 hours of the Supreme Court Rule 42(11)(g) and Rule 42(12)(h) requirement must be met by attending live presentations of approved courses (other than in-office courses) as a student.
- Credit will not be awarded for attendance at undergraduate college or law school courses. Credit may be awarded for attendance at graduate-level college courses and graduate-level law school courses that otherwise satisfy the requirements of Rule 53.5.
B. Credit for Teaching
1. Credit afforded for teaching participation shall be based on actual teaching time. Teaching participation of 30 minutes or less shall be credited as one half hour teaching hour; teaching participation from over 30 minutes and up to 60 minutes shall be credited as a full teaching hour. Where teaching is done in tandem or by panel the teaching credit should be divided equally or in proportion to each teachers speaking time, whichever is appropriate.
2. It is the policy of the NHMCLE Board not to allow credit for teaching if the audience was primarily composed of non-lawyers. However, if written materials submitted to the Committee demonstrate that the presentation was substantially equivalent to a presentation before a group of lawyers, teaching credit may be awarded. However, credit will not be awarded for teaching undergraduate college or law school courses. Credit may be awarded for teaching graduate-level college courses and graduate-level law school courses that otherwise satisfy the requirements of Rule 53.5.
3. Lawyers who teach the same course more than once in a reporting period may compute teaching credit only for the first presentation. Subsequent presentations will be granted one credit for each hour of actual classroom instruction without the credit multiplier outlined in Rule 53.3 (B).
D. Requirements for Audio/Visual Courses
- To qualify for credit, programs must be recorded and produced with professional sound and picture quality and all speakers must utilize a personal microphone, including those asking questions of the presenters.
- It is not required that the written course materials which accompany an audio or videotaped course be owned by the individual lawyer. It is sufficient that the lawyer have access to these materials on the basis set forth in the Rule. Lawyers shall not seek credit for exposure to an audio or video taped course more than once.
G. Credit for Publications
Authorship of articles for general circulation, newspapers or magazines directed to a non-lawyer audience does not qualify for NHMCLE author credit under this Rule, nor does the authorship of CLE course materials qualify for credit.
Presentation of a work of an appropriately scholarly character at a professional conference, symposium or similar activity will ordinarily qualify as publication for the purposes of Rule 53.3(G) and this regulation; provided that the author may not also claim teaching or attendance credit for such presentation, even if the activity would otherwise ordinarily qualify for such credit.
In the case of jointly authored publications the time/credit should be divided between or among the joint authors to reflect the proportional effort devoted to the research and writing of the publication.
Regulation 53.4 Sponsor Approval
C. Minimum Requirements for Sponsor Approval or Accreditation
The sponsor will not state or imply that a course has been approved in New Hampshire unless and until such approval is granted by the NHMCLE Board.
- General Information
A sponsor may seek course approval either for an individual course or for all programs during a reporting year, July 1-June 30, by applying to become an Annual Sponsor for the year. Approval of any course or activity is effective only for the reporting year in which the approval occurs. Failure to meet the requirements of Rule 53 may result in the withdrawal of accreditation for individual programs or the designation of Annual Sponsor.
- Annual Sponsorship
A sponsor may be designated as an Annual Sponsor for the reporting year, July 1-June 30, providing presumptive approval for all its CLE courses by completing the Application for Approval as an Annual Sponsor (Form 2), agreeing to meet the requirements and standards set forth in Supreme Court Rule 53 and its regulations and paying the $175.00 application fee. Annual Sponsors must submit a report of every CLE program held in New Hampshire including the attendance list, within thirty (30) days following the course or activity along with the $35.00 fee, except where approved activities were offered without charge to attendees. The fee is also applicable for each program presented by teleconference, on-line, video, audio tape or other method.
For out-of-state courses, Annual Sponsors have no further fees, but are required to submit the program information and attendance for lawyers requesting credit in New Hampshire within thirty (30) days of the program.
- Individual Program Applications
Anytime prior to but no later than thirty (30) days following a program, a sponsor may apply for credit from the NHMCLE Board by completing ORACLE Form 1 or the NHMCLE Application for Approval of Individual Course or Activity, supplying the required attachments and the $40.00 application or in-state activity fee, unless the program was offered without charge to attendees.
For purposes of Rule 53.4 each presentation or repetition of a course or activity is considered to be separate; provided that for self study courses or activities such as on-line, video or audio tape programs, only one activity fee shall be required for each course or activity regardless of the number of courses or tapes sold.
- For each course presented for credit, the sponsor shall maintain the final attendance list for a period of three years following the presentation of the course in the event that the information is requested by the NHMCLE Board.
Regulation 53.5 Standards For Individual Course Or Activity Approval
A. In determining whether a particular course or activity is entitled to approval, it shall be the policy of the Board not to withhold approval where the educational experience fosters professional growth.
- Law practice management courses will be approved for credit if and to the extent that they are directed toward professionalism issues, are presented by qualified faculty and meet all other applicable requirements of SC Rule 53 and these Regulations, e.g., with respect to the provision of appropriate written materials. This would include courses or segments thereof designed specifically to address:
Topics that will not be approved include client development (e.g., "rainmaking," web site design), marketing or branding a law practice, hiring and compensation of lawyers or staff, general office skills and business planning for profitability.
- the effects of technology on client confidentiality and other ethical issues
- time management for lawyers; and
- specific systems and procedures for lawyers that could cause malpractice or ethical problems if handled improperly.
- NHMCLE credit may be granted for programs in law-related areas such as accounting, engineering and medicine provided that the quality of the presenters, the method(s) of presentation and the written materials meet applicable standards and, upon request, the applicant satisfactorily explains the course's relevance to her/his law practice.
- In determining the adequacy of written course materials relevant criteria will include the following:
- Whether the materials have been prepared or compiled specifically for the course.
- Whether the materials reflect that they are timely and/or that they have been updated with specific reference to the course
- Whether the materials include substantive analysis of legal issues relevant to the course.
- Whether the materials cover those matters which one would expect for a comprehensive and professional treatment of the subject matter of the course. Course materials need not be provided in conjunction with course segments consisting solely of remarks offered by judges and other public officials and discussion in which they participate, provided the same are materially related to the course subject matter and the remaining course segments are supported by adequate materials.
- The course materials may contain topical matters as appropriate, such as copies of statutes, regulations, forms or other compilations, but cannot consist of these alone. An outline without citations or explanatory notations will not be sufficient.
- Lawyers attending courses or activities unaccredited by the NHMCLE Board shall submit applications for accreditation within thirty (30) days of program completion using the NHMCLE Attorney Credit Application Form and supplying the required attachments.
- A non-approved sponsor wishing to secure NHMCLE credit for a course or activity must secure approval from the Board by filing the appropriate form either prior to or within thirty (30) days following the conclusion of the course or activity. If the sponsor does not do so, any lawyer may, by filing the appropriate form (Form 1) secure specific approval from the Board for credit with respect to that course or activity. Form 1 shall be filed within thirty (30) days of the program and prior to the filing of the Certificate of Compliance.
Regulation 53.6 Reporting and Certification For NHMCLE Credit
A. Filing Requirements
For purposes of Rule 53.6, lawyers exempted from Rule 53.1(B) by reason of Rule 53.2(B) (1), (3), (4) or (6) are not required to file a Certificate of Compliance with the NHMCLE Board.
All other lawyers admitted to practice law in the State of New Hampshire must file a Certificate of Compliance as prescribed by the Rule, including lawyers exempted from Rule 53.1 (B) pursuant to Rule 53.2 (B) (2) or (5) thereof.
Certificates of Compliance must be filed on or before October 1st of each year with respect to the reporting year ending on the preceding June 30th. Amended certificates may be filed no later than the due date of the Certificate of Compliance pertaining to the immediately subsequent reporting year, unless otherwise permitted by the NHMCLE Board.
B. Compliance Audits
The NHMCLE Board shall from time to time, and at least annually with respect to each reporting year, review Certificates of Compliance selected for audit due to apparent facial deficiencies or by random selection or other appropriate methods. A lawyer whose Certificate is selected for audit shall, within thirty (30) days following a request by or on behalf of the Board, produce such records or certificates of attendance as may be required to substantiate the lawyers compliance or exemption, which under Rule 53.6 the lawyer must maintain for two (2) years following the close of the reporting year in question.
If the Board identifies a discrepancy or other deficiency which it deems material with respect to a Certificate under audit, the Board shall provide to the lawyer in question written notice, which shall identify the issue(s) involved and invite the lawyer to submit a written response. If the lawyer so responds within thirty (30) days from the date of such notice, the Board shall consider such response in its deliberations. If, upon review of any response timely submitted and such other facts and circumstances as may be duly presented, the Board's findings indicate noncompliance with Rule 53 with respect to the reporting year in question, the Board shall consider the application of sanctions in accordance with Rule 53.7. Failure to cooperate with the audit process in a complete and timely manner is a violation of Rule 53.
The duties of the Board under this Regulation may be delegated to a Committee of the Board, provided that action by the full Board shall be required to apply sanctions pursuant to Rule 53.7 with respect to any Certificate under audit.
Regulation 53.7 Sanctions And Appeal
- Lawyers who do not file their Annual Affidavit of Compliance by October 1 shall pay a late filing fee of $100.00.
- Lawyers who do not file their Annual Affidavit of Compliance by November 1 shall pay an additional late filing fee of $200.00.
- Lawyers who do not file their Annual Affidavit of Compliance by December 1 shall pay an additional late filing fee of $200.00.
- Once a complete and correct Certificate has been filed, the amount of the fee shall not increase, although full compliance will not be achieved until all accrued fees have been paid.
B. Reinstatement Fee. Lawyers seeking reinstatement following suspension for failure to comply with Rule 53 shall pay a Reinstatement Fee of $500.
Regulation 53.8 Quorum, Voting and Action By Consent
D. A quorum of the Board shall consist of five (5) members and the vote of a majority of those members present and voting, a quorum being present, shall be required for the Board to act. Ex Officio Board members shall have full voting privileges. Any member may vote in person or by telephone during a duly convened Board meeting; or the Chair or Vice Chair of the Board may, in the absence of such a meeting, poll the members individually in person or by mail, telephone, facsimile or email provided a quorum of the Board responds. In lieu of such a vote the Board may act pursuant to the written consent of a quorum. Such action must be evidenced by one or more written consents describing the action taken and dated and signed by each member. Action taken by consent shall be effective when the last member required to constitute a quorum shall sign the consent, unless the consent specifies a different effective date. All votes and consents shall be recorded in or filed with the minutes of the proceedings of the Board, with copies to be furnished to each member promptly after such action is taken, and in any event at or prior to the next Board meeting.
E. Powers and Duties
- 1. Committees will act on applications in the name of the NHMCLE Board. If there are any questions about particular applications, those applications will be presented to the Board for a ruling. Otherwise, applicants will be notified of decisions made by the committees and a report will be made to the next NHMCLE Board meeting. The Attorney Compliance Committee considers requests from NHBA members. The Sponsor Compliance Committee reviews applications for credit from CLE sponsors. The Regulations/Audit Committee drafts regulations for consideration by the Board and conducts periodic audits of lawyers' Certificates of Compliance.
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