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Supreme Court Rules

Section/Rule:15.04
Subject: Rule 15 - Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary - Continuing Legal Education Publication / Adopted Date:December 2, 1986
Topic:Accreditation of Programs, Activities and SponsorsRevised / Effective Date:January 1, 2010


15.04. Accreditation of Programs, Activities and Sponsors

(a) The Missouri Bar may designate a sponsor of continuing legal education programs or activities as an "accredited sponsor" if the sponsor has substantial recent experience in offering continuing legal education or a demonstrable ability to organize and effectively present continuing legal education programs and activities.

(b) A program or activity may be an accredited program or activity if it directly contributes to the professional competency of lawyers or judges and has significant intellectual or practical content related to the development or practice of law, professional responsibility, or law office management.

(c) A program or activity offered by an accredited sponsor shall be an accredited program or activity. Continuing legal education programs and activities of identified sponsors may be accredited programs and activities if so designated by The Missouri Bar. Self-study, videotape, audiotape, or other similar programs or activities may be accredited programs and activities if so designated by The Missouri Bar.

(Adopted Dec. 3, 1986, eff. Jan. 1, 1987. Amended Jan. 22, 1988, eff. July 1, 1988; Nov. 16, 2009, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.)

Regulation 15.04. Accreditation of Programs, Seminars, Activities and Sponsors

1. Standards. In addition to the standards of Rule 15.04, the following standards apply to accredited programs, seminars, or activities offered by an accredited or identified sponsor or programs, seminars, or activities accredited pursuant to Regulation 15.04.3(c). 2. Accredited Sponsors by Designation. The following sponsors of programs, seminars, or activities are designated as accredited sponsors: Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center, Inc.; American Bar Association; American Judicature Society; The American Law Institute; all United States Armed Forces legal service schools; the United States Coast Guard legal service school; Conference of Chief Justices; Conference of State Court Administrators; Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys; The Missouri Bar; Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis; St. Louis County Bar Association; Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association; National Academy of Arbitrators; National Bar Association; National Center for State Courts and its affiliates; National Courts Science Institute; National Judicial College; the Supreme Court of Missouri and any committee appointed by the Court; Office of State Courts Administrator; all law schools approved by the section of legal education and admissions to the bar of the American Bar Association; Missouri Office of Prosecution Services; Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers; the Office of the State Public Defender; and the Practicing Law Institute.

3. Accreditation Process.

(a) Any sponsor desiring accreditation of all its continuing legal education programs, seminars, or activities must apply to The Missouri Bar for accredited sponsor status not less than sixty (60) days prior to presentation of its first program, seminar, or activity as an " accredited sponsor. Application shall be made on forms provided by The Missouri Bar and applicants may be required to provide information which demonstrated that the applicant satisfies the standards of Rule 15.04 and Regulation 15.04.1.

(b) Any sponsor not accredited pursuant to Regulations 15.04.2 or 15.04.3(a) and desiring approval of an individual program, seminar, or activity must apply to The Missouri Bar for identified sponsor status not later than sixty (60) days prior to the date on which the program, seminar, or activity is scheduled. Application shall be made on forms provided by The Missouri Bar and such applicants may be required to provide information which demonstrates that the program, seminar, or activity will satisfy the standards of Rule 15.04 and Regulation 15.04.1. The applicant may also be required to include a description of any written materials to be used in the program, seminar, or activity.

(c) Any lawyer may seek accreditation of a program, seminar, or activity by a sponsor other than an accredited or identified sponsor. The lawyer should apply either before the occurrence of the program, seminar, or activity or within thirty (30) days after completion of the program, seminar, or activity. The applicant lawyer should provide sufficient information to establish that the standards of Rule 15.04 and Regulation 15.04.1 are satisfied by the program, seminar, or activity. Ordinarily a brochure published by the sponsor of the program, seminar, or activity and a description of any written materials shall be sufficient information to make a determination of whether the program, seminar, or activity satisfies the standards of Rule 15.04 and Regulation 15.04.1.

(d) Upon application of a lawyer or sponsor and the submission of sufficient information to make a determination, The Missouri Bar shall designate the programs, seminars, and activities or portions of activities which satisfy the requirements of subdivisions (e) and (f) of Rule 15.05.

(e) Upon application of a lawyer or sponsor and the submission of sufficient information to establish that the standards of Rule 15.05 (d) and Regulation 15.04.7 are satisfied, The Missouri Bar shall designate a program, seminar, or activity as substantially equivalent to The Missouri Bar Annual Law Update.

(f) The Missouri Bar shall advise the applicant in writing within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the application whether the application for accredited or identified sponsor status or for accreditation or designation of a program, seminar, or activity is approved or disapproved. Applicants denied approval may submit a letter of reconsideration setting forth the basis for reconsideration to The Missouri Bar within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of notice of disapproval.

4. Sponsor Reports and Recordkeeping.

(a) By July 31 of each year, commencing July 31, 1988, each accredited sponsor shall file a report with The Missouri Bar, on a form provided by The Missouri Bar, which lists all accredited programs, seminars, and activities conducted by the sponsor during the preceding reporting year and the number of credit hours for each program, seminar, or activity. The report shall indicate the number of credit hours of each program, seminar, or activity designated which satisfy the requirements of subdivisions (e) and (f) of Rule 15.05.

(b) Each accredited or identified sponsor shall retain records of attendance at all programs, seminars, and activities for at least three (3) years after the date of completion of the program, seminar, or activity. A record of attendance by an individual lawyer shall be made available to the lawyer or his or her attorney upon request and The Missouri Bar upon its request.

5. Self-Study.

(a) Any lawyer may receive up to six hours of self-study credit in a reporting year by studying law-related materials, including but not limited to videotapes, audiotapes and advance sheets, in furtherance of general academic and professional competence.

(b) Self-study credit may not be reported to satisfy the requirements of Rule 15.05 (e) or Rule 15.05 (f) that a lawyer complete credit hours of programs, seminars, and activities devoted exclusively to professionalism, legal or judicial ethics or malpractice prevention every, unless approval is obtained pursuant to Rule 15.05 (c) and Regulation 15.05.3 based upon hardship or extenuating circumstances.

(c) A lawyer may receive in excess of six credit hours for self-study in a reporting year if the self-study in excess of six hours is approved by The Missouri Bar as an alternative method of compliance with Rule 15 pursuant to Rule 15.05 (c) and Regulation 15.05.3.

(d) Self-study credit shall be accounted for on the affidavit required by Rule 15.06.1.

6. In-House Program, Seminar, or Activity Accreditation.

(a) A private law firm, corporate law department, federal, state or local government agency or similar entity may apply for accredited sponsor status or identified sponsor status and shall be approved or disapproved for accredited or identified sponsor status under the same standards applicable to all other applicants for accredited or identified sponsor status.

(b) An in-house program, seminar, or activity, such as a program, seminar, or activity limited only to the lawyers of a private law firm, corporate law department, or a federal, state or local government agency, which is offered by an accredited or identified sponsor, shall be an accredited program, seminar, or activity if the standards of Rule 15.04 and Regulation 15.04.1 are satisfied.

7. Intellectual and Practical Content Substantially Equivalent to The Missouri Bar Annual Law Update Program.

(a) At least 9 hours of instruction, and

(b) the program content includes information on substantially all of the following topics: practice and procedure before Missouri and federal courts, domestic relations, estate planning and administration, business organizations, real estate, criminal practice and workers' compensation. The instruction on substantial law topics shall focus upon Missouri law and the program shall include practice tips in the various subject areas as well as instruction on substantive law.

8. Deadline Waivers. By its own application or upon written request for good cause shown, or in the interest of justice, The Missouri Bar shall waive application and reporting deadlines in Regulation 15.04. The application deadlines of Regulation 15.04.3 are waived for applications filed within sixty (60) days after the date of the publication of these regulations in a publication of general distribution to all lawyers as required by Rule 15.03(g).

9. Records Confidential.

(a) Unless otherwise directed by the Supreme Court of Missouri, the files, records and proceedings to The Missouri Bar, as they may relate to or arise out of a lawyer attempting to satisfy the continuing legal education requirements of Rule 15, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except in furtherance of the duties of The Missouri Bar or as provided in Regulation 15.04.8(b).

(b) The files, records and proceedings as they may relate to or arise out of a lawyer attempting to satisfy the continuing legal educational requirements of Rule 15, shall be disclosed to the lawyer affected upon written request by the lawyer affected or by his or her attorney.

(c) The Missouri Bar shall retain the affidavits of compliance for the three reporting years prior to the current reporting year. Affidavits not required to be retained may be disposed of by The Missouri Bar but only in a manner that preserves the confidentiality of the affidavits required by Regulation 15.04.9(a).

(Approved eff. July 1, 1988. Amended eff. July 1, 1990; July 1, 1992; Nov. 1, 2009; Oct. 30, 2012, eff. July 1, 2013.)