CLE Credit For Pro Bono

Effective January 1, 2014, the Supreme Court of Ohio amended continuing legal education (CLE) rules for Ohio attorneys to allow a portion of the required CLE hours to be earned by providing pro bono legal services.

Information from the Supreme Court of Ohio on how to apply for CLE credit for pro bono may be found here.

An attorney may earn up to six hours of CLE credit in one reporting period by providing pro bono legal services. Six hours of pro bono legal services earns one hour of CLE credit.

To qualify for CLE credit, the pro bono matter must be assigned, verified and reported by an organization recognized by the Supreme Court.

FAQ's:


When may I begin keeping track of pro bono legal service hours in order to request CLE credit for those hours?

The effective date of the amendment to the Rules for Government of the Bar which permits CLE credit for pro bono legal services is January 1, 2014. No pro bono legal services performed prior to the effective date will qualify for CLE credit, regardless of whether you are in the first year or the second year of your reporting biennium.

How many hours of pro bono legal services are required to earn an hour of CLE credit?

Six hours of pro bono legal services is required to earn one hour of CLE credit.

How many hours of CLE credit may be earned through pro bono legal services in a reporting biennium?

A maximum of six hours of CLE credit may be earned in a reporting biennium through eligible pro bono legal services.

May less than one hour of CLE credit be earned through pro bono legal services?

No. The minimum amount of CLE credit that may be earned through eligible pro bono legal services is one CLE credit. However, fractional CLE credit hours for eligible pro bono legal services may be allowed, in quarter hour increments, once the minimum amount has been earned.

May I carry forward to the next reporting biennium any CLE credits for pro bono legal services earned in excess of the six CLE credits allowed per biennial period?

No, the number of CLE credits that may be earned in any biennium through eligible pro bono legal services is capped at six CLE credit hours, and any CLE credit earned through eligible pro bono legal services in excess of the cap may not be carried forward to the next biennium.

What kind of pro bono legal services are eligible for CLE credit?

In order for pro bono legal services to be eligible for CLE credit, the pro bono legal services must be performed for a person of limited means, or a charitable organization, and the case or matter must be assigned, verified, and reported to the CLE Commission by a pro bono sponsor.

What organizations may be pro bono sponsors?

A pro bono sponsor is:

  1. An organization receiving funding from the Legal Services Corporation or the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation;
  2. The Ohio State Bar Association, a metropolitan bar association, or a county bar association;
  3. Any other organization recognized by the CLE Commission as providing pro bono programs or services in Ohio.

How will pro bono legal services be verified by a pro bono sponsor?

Each pro bono sponsor will be responsible for collecting and verifying an attorney's pro bono legal services. The organization is also responsible for reporting an attorney's CLE credit hours to the CLE Commission.

How do I obtain pro bono work that may be eligible for CLE credit?

Contact your local legal aid, bar association or pro bono program to request that a case be referred to you; to arrange to volunteer at a brief advice and information clinic; or to perform other types of pro bono legal services for persons or charitable organizations of limited means. If the organization is not specifically identified in Gov. Bar R. X (5)(H), verify that the organization is recognized by the CLE Commission to report CLE credits for pro bono legal services.