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Bar News - May 5, 2006

Revisions to Supreme Court Rule 53 – Minimum Continuing Legal Education

On April 24, 2006, the NH Supreme Court issued amendments to the Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rules, SC Rule 53 through Rule 53.8. The amendments, too lengthy to publish in full, are posted at and at the NHMCLE pages at The rules take effect July 1, 2006. The Order adopting the rule includes an “unofficial annotated” version that indicates changes from the existing rules with additions in bold type and deletions in strike-through type.

The following are highlights of substantive changes to the rules.


Rule 53:1 A Purpose

Continuing legal education improves the administration of justice and benefits the public interest. Regular participation in continuing legal education programs strengthens the professional skills of practicing lawyers, affords them periodic opportunities for professional self-evaluation and enhances the quality of legal services rendered to the public. This Rule requires active members of the New Hampshire Bar to participate in additional legal study throughout their careers.


Rule 53: 2.

Return to Active Status — Lawyers who are suspended or have selected inactive membership status with the New Hampshire Bar for more than two (2) consecutive reporting years are required to complete six (6) additional CLE credits upon returning to active status. Lawyers may complete the additional credits during the reporting year in which they return to active status or in the reporting year immediately preceding. Lawyers shall report completion of these credits by such method as the NHMCLE Board shall prescribe.





1. The course shall be of intellectual or practical content and, where possible or appropriate, include a component addressing professional responsibility issues of the sort described in Rule 53.1(A).  address professionalism issues, including professional conduct, prevention of malpractice, law practice management or attorney-client relations.



The reporting deadline is being extended from August to October of each year and a reporting fee is to be assessed to support the operations of the NHMCLE Board.


On or before August [October] 1 of each year, each lawyer admitted to practice in the State and not exempt under Rule 53.2(B)(1), (2), or (3), [(3), (4) or (6)] shall file a certificate of compliance with the NHMCLE Board, in such form as the board shall prescribe, concerning either his or her completion of accredited legal education during the previous reporting year, or the basis for his or her claim of exemption under Rule 53.2(B)(4) [(2)] or (5). Each such lawyer shall maintain such records or certificates of attendance as may be required to substantiate his or her compliance or exemption for a period of two (2) years following the close of a reporting year. [The NHMCLE Board shall assess each lawyer admitted to practice who is not exempt under Rule 53.2(B) an annual fee, in an amount approved by the Supreme Court, to support the NHMCLE Board’s operations.]


This is only an excerpt of the amended rules as edited by the Bar News. Visit or the NHMCLE page at for the complete text of the rules.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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