Court eliminates distance-learning limitations in Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 21

November 1, 2022

The Tennessee Supreme Court has amended the Rule for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education to remove limitations on distance-learning continuing legal education (“CLE”) credits. The Order was filed and effective on November 1, 2022.

The change to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 21 deletes the previous requirement that Tennessee-licensed attorneys with a CLE obligation earn at least seven CLE credit hours through in-person courses each year and no more than eight hours through distance-learning courses. The Court has waived the in-person requirement since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing attorneys to earn all of their CLE credits through distance learning. The November 1 Order makes that change permanent.

In June, the Court solicited comments on eliminating the limitations on distance-learning credit hours. More than 80 attorneys and legal organizations filed comments, which were overwhelmingly in favor of eliminating the limitations.

“The comments we received from attorneys across the State made clear that distance-learning courses make it easier, both logistically and financially, for attorneys to satisfy their CLE requirements and to access courses that are relevant to their areas of practice,” said Justice Sarah Campbell, who serves as liaison to the CLE Commission. “By eliminating the limitations on distance-learning credits, attorneys will have flexibility to choose the learning method they prefer. In-person CLE continues to be an important part of our profession and that will not change.”

In light of the amendment, the CLE Commission will update all attorney records to reflect the new provisions and distribute progress reports in the coming weeks. Lawyers can check the status of their 2022 CLE compliance by logging into their attorney account at CLETN.com. All compliance is established after December 31.

View the Order here.