Frequently Asked Questions for Part-Time, Full-Time, and New Magistrates

On Jan. 1, 2019, amendments to Continuing Legal Education requirements for magistrates will go into effect. View the final rule, as adopted.

  1. Why is continuing legal education for the judiciary required?
  2. Who must comply with Judicial College requirements?
  3. Do Part-Time Magistrates have the same continuing legal education and Judicial College requirements as Full-Time Magistrates?
  4. What types of credit may count toward my CLE requirement?
  5. What happens if I earn more CLE/Judicial College credit hours than are required for the two-year compliance period?
  6. Will the amendments change the manner in which magistrates are grouped according to last name?
  7. Do Attorney Professional Conduct hours apply towards the three-hour Judicial Conduct Requirement?
  8. I am an A-L magistrate. What are my requirements for the 2018/2019 compliance period ending Dec. 31, 2019?
  9. I am an M-Z magistrate who needs to earn 40 hours by December 31, 2020. How will the new amendments affect me?
  10. I am a new magistrate. What are my CLE requirements?
  11. Effective January 1, 2019, any magistrate who changes court jurisdictions must complete the orientation program. What does that mean?
  12. Does my compliance period change if my last name changes after I have become a magistrate?
  13. How are CLE/Judicial College credit hours calculated?
  14. Are there magistrates who do not have to comply with continuing legal education requirements?
  15. Where and when will I be able to attend Judicial College courses?
  16. Should I keep a list of my CLE/Judicial College activities?
  17. What happens if I do not comply with my CLE/Judicial College requirements?
  18. If I find I am unable to complete my CLE/Judicial College requirements prior to the Dec. 31 deadline, will you grant me an extension of time?
  19. I am unable to meet my CLE/Judicial College requirements due to illness. What can I do?
  20. How do I apply for an exemption from my duty to meet my CLE/Judicial College requirements?
  21. How can I obtain a copy of my CLE record?
  22. How can I find out more about my CLE and/or Judicial College requirements?

1. Why is continuing legal education for the judiciary required?

To serve the public interest that mandates the competent performance of the duties of judicial office in Ohio.

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2. Who must comply with Judicial College requirements?

Full-time and part-time magistrates, judges, retired judges eligible for assignment, and acting judges all have Judicial College requirements. The number of Judicial College hours required is based on the date of your appointment and your status at the end of the biennium. Your Judicial College requirement must be completed as part of your overall continuing legal education requirements.

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3. Do Part-Time Magistrates have the same continuing legal education and Judicial College requirements as Full-Time Judges?

Yes. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, all magistrates, including full-time and part-time magistrates, are required to earn 40 hours of continuing legal education, including 10 hours of instruction through courses offered by the Ohio Supreme Court Judicial College, every two years.  Further, as part of the 10-hour Judicial College education requirement, three hours of instruction must be designated as “judicial conduct,” which may include courses on topics such as judicial ethics, judicial professionalism, and access to justice. Gov. Bar R. X, Sec. 10(C).

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4. What types of credit may count toward my CLE requirement?

Each compliance period, in addition to live, in-person CLE programs, magistrates may apply the following toward their CLE requirement:

  • A maximum of 12 hours of self-study credit;
  • A maximum of 12 hours of publication credit; and
  • A maximum of 20 hours of teaching credit.

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5. What happens if I earn more CLE/Judicial College credit hours than are required for the two-year compliance period?

A magistrate who completes more than his or her requirement in a compliance period may carry over a maximum of 20 hours of CLE to the next compliance period.  Any carryover, including any Judicial College hours, will count as general credit to the next compliance period. Therefore, a minimum of 10 Judicial College hours, including three hours of Judicial Conduct, must be completed each compliance period.

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6. Will the amendments change the manner in which magistrates are grouped according to last name?

No. All Ohio magistrates have been permanently assigned to one of two compliance groups depending on their last name at the time of their admission to the practice of law in Ohio. Magistrates with last names beginning with the letters A through L will be required to earn all education hours by the end of each odd-numbered year, and magistrates with last names beginning with the letters M through Z will be required to earn all education hours by the end of each even-numbered year.

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7. Do Attorney Professional Conduct hours apply towards the three-hour Judicial Conduct Requirement?

No. Attorney Professional Conduct hours cannot apply towards the three- hour Judicial Conduct Requirement, however any professional conduct hours taken will apply towards the total hour requirement for the biennium.

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8. I am an A-L magistrate. What are my requirements for the 2018/2019 compliance period ending Dec. 31, 2019?

A through L magistrates will be required to comply with the new amendments for the 2018/2019 compliance period and are required to complete 32 hours of continuing legal education, including 10 hours of Judicial College instruction, on or before Dec. 31, 2019. Three of the required 10 Judicial College hours must include instruction on “judicial conduct,” as defined in Gov. Jud. R. IV, Sec. 3(C).  Since A through L magistrates are the first group required to comply with the new requirements, which go into effect in the middle of their CLE compliance period, their CLE requirement has been prorated.  However, beginning with the 2020/2021 compliance period, A through L magistrates will have a 40-hour CLE requirement.

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9. I am an M-Z magistrate who needs to earn 40 hours by December 31, 2020. How will the new amendments affect me?

As an M through Z magistrate, you will be required to earn 40 hours of continuing legal education, including 10 hours of Judicial College instruction, on or before Dec. 31, 2020. Three of the 10 required hours of Judicial College education must include instruction on “judicial conduct,” as defined in amended Gov. Jud. R. IV, Sec. 3(C).

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10. I am a new magistrate.  What are my CLE requirements?

As part of your 40-hour requirement as a new magistrate (see #8 or #9 above), you will be required to complete the Magistrate Orientation Program, which is conducted by the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College.  The orientation program must be completed within 12 months of your date of appointment as a magistrate. This orientation is also required for those magistrates who have changed court jurisdictions. Please check the Judicial College course calendar for the dates of this program. Questions should be directed to the Judicial College at 614.387.9445 or jcollege@sc.ohio.gov.  Please note that the orientation is approved for Judicial College credit hours.

As part of the orientation, new magistrates are required to participate in the Judicial College Mentor Program. An experienced mentor will be assigned to each new magistrate for a 12-month period. Additional information and questions should be directed to the Judicial College at 614.387.9445 or jcollege@sc.ohio.gov.  While the Judicial College Mentor Program is required, it is not approved for any continuing legal education credit.

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11. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, any magistrate who changes court jurisdictions must complete the orientation program.  What does that mean?

The following chart provides examples in which a magistrate may or may not have to take the magistrate orientation program:

Former Court Appointment New Court Appointment Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, or later New Magistrate Orientation Required?
Municipal Court of Common Pleas Yes
Juvenile Juvenile/Probate Yes (probate portion only)
Domestic Relations in County A Domestic Relations in County B No

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12. Does my compliance period change if my last name changes after I have become a magistrate?

No. If your name changes at any time after you have been admitted to the practice of law, you remain in the same alphabetical grouping for CLE purposes.

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13. How are CLE/Judicial College credit hours calculated?

Sixty minutes of actual instruction or other approved activity equals one credit hour.

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14. Are there magistrates who do not have to comply with continuing legal education requirements?

Yes. United States magistrate judges are exempt from all requirements of Gov. Jud. R. IV and Gov. Bar R. X while in office.

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15. Where and when will I be able to attend Judicial College courses?

You may view a list of approved courses on the Judicial College website or you may request a course schedule from the Judicial College of the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Judicial College may be reached at 614.387.9445.

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16. Should I keep a list of my CLE/Judicial College activities?

Yes. You should maintain records sufficient to establish compliance with CLE requirements in the event of an error in your record.

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17. What happens if I do not comply with my CLE/Judicial College requirements?

If you fail to comply with the educational requirements of Gov. Jud. R. IV and Gov. Bar R. X, the Commission will send you a notice of apparent noncompliance. The notice will specify the nature of the noncompliance and state that unless you come into compliance or file evidence of compliance that is satisfactory to the Commission by the date set forth in the notice, the Commission will issue an order imposing a sanction against you. As a condition of acceptance of late compliance, you will be required to pay a late compliance fee that accompanies your report of compliance.

If you submit evidence by the date set forth in the notice that establishes timely compliance or late compliance, the Commission will withdraw the notice of apparent noncompliance and advise you of this action.

If you do not come into compliance or file satisfactory evidence of compliance, the Commission will issue a sanction order against you, consistent with Commission regulation.

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18. If I find I am unable to complete my CLE/Judicial College requirements prior to the Dec. 31 deadline, will you grant me an extension of time?

There is no provision for extensions of time to comply with your CLE/Judicial College requirements. However, you will be provided with an opportunity to make-up the deficient hours as described above.

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19. I am unable to meet my CLE/Judicial College requirements due to illness. What can I do?

The Commission may grant a temporary exemption from the continuing legal education requirements of Gov. Jud. R. IV and Gov. Bar Rule X, under the following circumstances:

  • A magistrate suffering from severe, prolonged illness or disability preventing participation in accredited programs and activities for the duration of the illness or disability;
  • A magistrate, for a period not to exceed one year, upon a finding by the Commission that those special circumstances unique to that magistrate constitutes good cause for exemption. The Commission may adjust credit hour requirements on a pro rata basis;
  • A magistrate who, because of a permanent physical disability or other compelling reason, has difficulty attending programs and activities, may request, and the Commission may grant, approval of a substitute program.

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20. How do I apply for an exemption from my duty to meet my CLE/Judicial College requirements?

Visit the CLE website to download the appropriate Application for Exemption form. The application should be submitted, along with appropriate supporting documentation, to the Office of Attorney Services.

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21. How can I obtain a copy of my CLE record?

You may view your CLE record online by visiting the Attorney Portal. To receive a certified copy of your CLE record, please send a written request containing your registration number, beginning and ending calendar dates, and a check or money order for $5 made payable to Supreme Court of Ohio.

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22. How can I find out more about my CLE and/or Judicial College requirements?

You may phone the Commission at 614.387.9320 or you may download a copy of Gov. Jud. Rule IV, Gov. Bar Rule X, and the CCLE Regulations.

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