Continuing Legal Education
IAND/IASD Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
The following links will allow you to download documents relevant to federal CLE requirements in the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa. For more information, please see the informational links below.
The links below provide information regarding federal CLE requirements for attorneys admitted to practice in the Northern District of Iowa and/or the Southern District of Iowa.
Lawyers admitted to practice in either the Northern or Southern District of Iowa are required to file a Biennial Report of Continuing Legal Education every other year.
Six hours of legal education in the area of federal practice must be completed every two years. A maximum of 3 credit hours may be carried over from the previous reporting period. Attorneys are responsible for maintaining a copy of their report and tracking hours to be carried over.
If you do not file your Biennial Report of Continuing Legal Education, you will be suspended from federal practice in the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa.
60 minutes of instruction are required for 1 hour of federal CLE credit. Credit is not given for meal or break times. This is the same criteria used by the Iowa Commission on Continuing Legal Education.
All Biennial Reports for attorneys admitted to the Northern and/or Southern District of Iowa are filed electronically with the Southern District of Iowa through CM/ECF.
You are required to report your federal CLE every other year by March 1st. Each October, the Clerk’s Office sends out reminder notices to those required to submit their Biennial Report by the following March 1st.
For newly admitted attorneys, your first Biennial Report is due by March 1st of the year following the first two full calendar years of admission. For example, if you were admitted to practice in 2010, your first Biennial Report would be due on March 1, 2013.
Those admitted to practice in either the Northern or the Southern District prior to 1982 or during any subsequent odd-numbered year are required to submit a Biennial Report by March 1st of each even-numbered year. Those admitted to practice in either the Northern or the Southern District in 1982 or any subsequent even-numbered year are required to submit a Biennial Report by March 1st of each odd-numbered year. If you are admitted in both districts, the year you were admitted in your district of residence determines which year you are required to submit a Biennial Report.
No extensions of the federal CLE reporting deadlines are available. Requests for deadline extensions are not accepted.
Fees associated with filing Biennial Reports are submitted by debit, credit, or ACH through pay.gov. Checks are not accepted.
The following attorneys are not required to pay a fee when filing a Biennial Report of Continuing Legal Education:
- Attorneys who are employed full-time by Iowa Legal Aid;
- Attorneys who have accepted a pro bono case or non-litigation project from the United States District Court for the Northern or Southern District of Iowa during the reporting period; and
- Attorneys who are full-time employees of a government entity and have completed five hours of non-litigation projects from the United States District Court for the Northern or Southern District of Iowa during the reporting period.
To submit your Biennial Report, you will need a CM/ECF login and password issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. You will not be able to file your Biennial Report using a login issued by another court or a login issued for bankruptcy or PACER.
If you do not have a CM/ECF login and password, you should download the CM/ECF Attorney Registration Form. You may send the completed form by mail to the mailing address listed on page 2 or email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. A login and password will be sent via email when your registration form is processed.
If you have lost or forgotten your CM/ECF login or password, you may request a password reset using the appropriate link online or call the Clerk’s Office at 515-323-2842 during normal business hours.
Download instructions for filing your Biennial Report of Continuing Legal Education here.
All CLE programs listed on your Biennial Report must be approved in advance for federal CLE credit by the current CLE Approval Coordinator. A list of programs approved for federal CLE credit can be downloaded here. If the program for which you wish to claim federal CLE credit has not been approved, you may download the appropriate Application for Federal Approval form, where attorneys click here and sponsors click here. Email the completed application along with the agenda or program in a single PDF file to CLE_Approval@iasd.uscourts.gov
If a CLE is approved for federal CLE credit, the number of hours for which it is approved will not necessarily correspond with the number of hours approved for state CLE credit.
To change your status from active to inactive or retired, call the Clerk’s Office at 515-323-2842.
To change your status from inactive to active, file an updated Biennial Report along with the associated registration fee.
To see if a particular program has been approved for federal CLE credit, download the List of Approved CLE. Open the file in Excel. Click on the appropriate tab at the bottom of the screen for the year you wish to search.
If the CLE you are searching for has been approved for credit by the Iowa Commission on Continuing Legal Education, we recommend searching for the assigned Iowa Activity ID using the Find feature (CTRL + F). Alternatively, you may search for a keyword or phrase in the CLE program title or sponsor name or by date. You can also use the Sort feature to sort the list by CLE Program, CLE Sponsor, CLE Start Date, or Iowa Activity ID, for example.
If you do not know the Activity ID for your CLE, you can search for it on the Iowa Supreme Court Commissions website at www.iacourtcommissions.org. Click on the Search CLE Events link.
Any CLE covering topics that expressly deal with or require understanding of a federal law/statute/regulation is eligible for credit. Any CLE concerning the Federal Rules of Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, trial practice, or appellate practice is eligible for credit. CLE relating to topics that require understanding of a federal law/statute/regulation in order to comprehend a state law/statute/regulation may be eligible for credit. CLE regarding legal ethics are eligible for credit. Accreditation is at the discretion of the current CLE Approval Coordinator.
Follow these steps to submit your request for federal CLE approval.
- Decide whether you need the Attorney Application for Federal CLE Approval or the Sponsor Application for Federal CLE Approval and download the appropriate application.
- Complete the application in Adobe Acrobat or by hand.
- Scan the completed application with an agenda or a program showing the title, date, and hours of the CLE along with the general topic(s) discussed.
- Email the completed application along with the agenda or program in a single PDF file to CLE_Approval@iasd.uscourts.gov
Before submitting a request for approval, please check to see if the program has already been approved by searching the List of Approved CLE.
A copy of the agenda or program for the CLE must be submitted with your Application for Federal CLE Approval.
The agenda or program must show the following information:
- The title of the CLE.
- The sponsor of the CLE.
- The date(s) of the CLE.
- The start and end times of periods of instruction during the CLE.
- Meal and break times, if applicable.
- The topics discussed during the CLE. (See below for more information.)
Please note that the course or breakout session title is usually sufficient to determine whether the topic being discussed is eligible for Federal CLE credit. Submission of detailed outlines, slideshow presentations, and speaker information are discouraged. If the CLE Approval Coordinator needs additional information to process your request, an email will be sent to the email address listed on your application for approval.
Here is a list of things you should not submit with your Application for Federal CLE Approval.
- Copies of lengthy presentations, handouts, or speaker information.
- A marked-up copy of an agenda or program showing the courses you attended.
- A copy of your CLE record from your state bar association membership.
- A Certificate of Attendance confirming your attendance at the CLE.
As a rule, each CLE is evaluated generally without regard to what sessions were attended by the attorney submitting the application for approval. If only partial approval of a program is appropriate, the List of Approved CLE will provide information to clarify which portions of the CLE are eligible for federal CLE credit in the Notes column.
Exceptions to the general rule above are made only at the discretion of the CLE Approval Coordinator and may not be requested by an individual attorney. If this occurs, you will be contacted by the CLE Approval Coordinator and asked to provide information regarding which sessions of the CLE you attended and which sessions of the CLE you believe to be eligible for federal CLE credit. If this happens, please note that you will receive a notification indicating the number of hours of federal CLE credit you may claim for that CLE. It is recommended that you retain a copy of this email for your records along with a copy of your Biennial Report.
An Application for Federal CLE should only be submitted after checking the List of Approved CLE to find out whether or not the CLE has already been approved.
After confirming that the CLE has not already been approved, an application for approval may be submitted prior to the CLE event or after the CLE event takes place.
Sponsors are encouraged to submit applications prior to CLE events. If approval prior to the event is strongly desired, it is recommended that the application be submitted at least 8 weeks in advance. However, review of the application prior to the CLE cannot be guaranteed. Sponsors not receiving approval prior to a CLE should not provide estimated Federal CLE hours to participants. Instead, participants should be notified that an Application for Federal CLE Approval has been submitted for the event and instructed to check the List of Approved CLE to find out the number of hours approved prior to submission of their Biennial Reports.
Attendees are encouraged to submit an application only after the CLE event has taken place. This will allow sponsors of CLE events an opportunity to address the status of the approval process at the event.
If approval of an application is needed prior to an attorney’s Biennial Report deadline, the application should be submitted by February 1st. If an application is received by this date, it will be reviewed prior to the March 1st deadline. Review of applications submitted after February 1st prior to the deadline cannot be assured.
An Application for Federal CLE is needed only once per CLE. Each attendee is not required to complete an approval application. Sponsors are encouraged to manage this process. For more information, see Who Should Submit An Application For Federal CLE Approval.
Only one Application for Federal CLE Approval is required per CLE event.
Sponsors of CLE events are encouraged to submit Applications for Federal CLE Approval, especially if 1) the CLE will be well-attended by lawyers admitted to practice in the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa or 2) if the CLE takes place in multiple formats, in multiple cities, or on multiple dates. Applications may be submitted prior to the CLE or after the CLE takes place. (See When to Submit an Application for Federal CLE Approval for more information.) Sponsors are encouraged to notify CLE attendees that an application for approval either has been or will be submitted.
Attendees may also submit an Application for Federal CLE Approval for CLE events. It is recommended that an attendee first confirm that the sponsor of the CLE has not already submitted an application and does not intend to do so. As a general rule, it is recommended that attendees avoid submission of applications for CLE approval prior to attending CLE events, as sponsors are encouraged to address this during CLE events. If the CLE is unlikely to have many participants from the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, this would be an exception to the general rule.
Prior to submission of any Application for Federal CLE Approval, the individual considering doing so should first check the List of Approved CLE to find out whether or not the CLE has already been approved.
Requests for blanket authorization regarding federal CLE credit for CLE events hosted by a particular sponsor will not be granted.
Requests for blanket authorization regarding federal CLE credit for CLE events approved by the Iowa Court Commission will not be granted.
Applications for Federal CLE Approval are typically processed in one month or less. If you do not receive a response to your application within six weeks from the date it was submitted, please contact the CLE Approval Coordinator via email to CLE_Approval@iasd.uscourts.gov. To expedite the processing of your follow-up inquiry, please include a copy of the original application in PDF format and include the phrase “Application Submitted” in the subject line of your email.
If you have submitted an Application for Federal CLE Approval, you will receive an email once your application has been reviewed. The email will contain a link to this website and instruct you to check the updated List of Approved CLE to find out whether or not your request was approved.
Questions regarding federal CLE eligibility or approval not answered on this website may be sent to the CLE Approval Coordinator via email at CLE_Approval@iasd.uscourts.gov. In order to expedite the processing of your inquiry, please include the word “Question” in the subject line of your email. Questions sent to the CLE Approval Coordinator are typically answered within approximately one week of submission.
Questions regarding CM/ECF, Biennial Reporting Requirements, or other topics not pertaining directly to CLE eligibility or approval should be directed to the Clerk’s Office at the Southern District of Iowa. The Clerk’s Office may be contacted by phone at (515) 323-2842.