What are the Essentials Series Seminars?
The Essentials Seminars are a series of ten (10) continuing legal education programs mandated for newly admitted SC Bar lawyers by the South Carolina Supreme Court under SCACR Rule 408(a)(3). The South Carolina Bar CLE Division administers these programs and offers them annually.
Do any other courses, programs, or workshops count as Essentials seminars?
No. The Essentials Series courses administered by the SC Bar CLE Division are the ONLY courses recognized by the SC Supreme Court as meeting this requirement. Note: The Course of Study videos required by the Supreme Court are NOT Essentials Series courses and completion of that series does not meet the Essentials requirement.
Who is required to attend?
Pursuant to SCACR Rule 408(a)(3), newly admitted SC Bar members, unless exempt under the provisions of Rule 408(a)(3)(A)-(D) must attend ONE of the Essentials Series seminars.
What are the exemptions?
A. Newly admitted attorneys called to active military duty and whose SC Bar member status is listed as “military” in the AIS and SC Bar databases. Thus, Bar members who are civilian contractors for the military are still under the Essentials requirement.
B. Inactive Bar members who remain inactive through their first required MCLE reporting period. Thus, if at any time, during a member’s first MCLE reporting cycle, the member changes from “Inactive” to “Active” status, the Essentials requirement must be met prior to the end of that first reporting cycle.
C. Members who have been admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction for at least two (2) years prior to admission in South Carolina. Thus, if you are admitted to practice, for instance, in Georgia less than two full years - even by one day - prior to your South Carolina date of admission, you are required to complete an Essentials seminar.
D. Members who took the South Carolina Bar’s Bridge the Gap program prior to March 2013.
When is attendance required?
If covered by the provisions of Rule 408(a)(3), newly admitted attorneys must complete an Essentials program between the first occurring March 1 after the attorney’s date of admission to practice law in South Carolina and the next occurring March 1. Thus, if an attorney is admitted to practice law, for example on November 15, he or she will be required to complete an Essentials seminar between the next occurring calendar March 1 and the following March 1 (ie., his or her first MCLE compliance cycle).
What if I fail to complete an Essentials seminar during my first MCLE compliance cycle?
Failure to complete an Essentials seminar during your first compliance cycle, just as failure to complete your required 14 hours of MCLE during that cycle, will result in your suspension from the practice of law in South Carolina. See Appendix C, REGULATIONS FOR MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION FOR JUDGES, MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA BAR, AND FOREIGN LEGAL CONSULTANTS.
May I attend an Essentials Seminar prior to the beginning of my first MCLE compliance cycle?
Yes. You may attend an Essentials seminar at any time after your date of admission to the South Carolina Bar, even if you have not started your first MCLE compliance cycle. This early attendance will also serve to meet the Essentials requirement under Rule 408(a)(3).
Will the Essentials Seminar count toward my MCLE credit requirement of 14 hours?
Yes. All Essentials seminars are designed as full-day (ie, at least 6 MCLE credit) programs. The credit hours earned for completion of an Essentials seminar will count toward that 14-hour requirement. This is true even if you complete your Essentials seminar prior to the beginning of your first MCLE compliance cycle. Note: You will not be granted MCLE credit for any other continuing legal education seminar that you attend prior to the beginning of your first MCLE compliance cycle.
Am I required to attend an Essentials seminar in person?
If you live or practice law in South Carolina, you must attend a live, in-person Essentials seminar. Essentials seminars are offered only in Columbia at the SC Bar Conference Center located at 1501 Park Street. Rule 408(a)(3) states that “[m]embers who live and practice outside of South Carolina may take an Essentials Series course online.”
When are the live, in-person Essentials Series seminars offered?
Dates for individual programs vary, but generally the Essentials seminars are offered starting in August of each calendar year and running into February. Each program is offered once as a live, in-person seminar. The CLE Division makes every effort to publish the full schedule for the entire series no later than early June of each calendar year.
Are the Essentials Series seminars offered via live, individual webcast?
No. However, all Essentials Series seminars are recorded and published online as On-Demand programs through the SC Bar Shop CLE page. The CLE Division makes every effort to publish the On-Demand versions of the seminars within 3-4 weeks after the live seminar date. For members who are eligible to complete the Essentials Series requirement in an online format, you should check for updates and may access the seminar of your choice through the SC Bar Shop CLE “On-Demand” page.
How do I register for a live Essentials seminar or purchase an On-Demand Essentials program?
First, log in to your account by using your SC Bar username and password. Note: This is different from you AIS credentials. If you cannot remember your password, select the “forgot password” button. To re-set your password, please do not use these unusual characters # * & % = . ' " as our system does not accept these. If you do not get a response via email about your password, please call Robin Genovese at 803-771-0333, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will send you a new password. If username and passwords are correct, and you are having trouble logging into your account, or you are logged in and cannot complete your purchase, first try a different browser. You may also log out, clear your browser’s cache and log back in. We recommend using Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Second, from the Shop CLE page, New Lawyer Essentials Series tab, select the program you wish to attend. Note: Once a live Essentials program has occurred, it will no longer be listed under the Essentials Series tab.
For an On-Demand Essentials program, click on View/Search all On-Demand Programs under the OnDemand CLE tab. Search “Essentials” under New Search Keywords. All currently available On-Demand Essentials will be listed and accredited for purposes of the Rule requirement even if the date of the program shows the previous year. As new Essentials programs are published, we delete the previous year’s seminar.
Does the SC Bar report my Essentials/MCLE compliance to the SC Supreme Court Commission on CLE and Specialization?
Yes. The CLE Division will automatically send a report of both your MCLE credit hours and your Essentials attendance to the Commission on CLE and Specialization. In order for us to do that effectively, you MUST sign in at the Registration desk for an in-person seminar and you MUST hit all required automated checkpoints AND download your Certificate of Completion for an online On-Demand program. We cannot report full attendance and compliance for an On-Demand program unless both requirements (checkpoints and Certificate) are met.
Is there a fee for the Essentials seminars (in-person or On-Demand)?
The current fee for both the in-person and On-Demand seminars is $250.
Are discounts or scholarships available?
Scholarships for Essentials seminars, as well as other SC Bar CLE seminars may be available on a financial needs basis through the Ronnie Cole Scholarship administered by the SC Bar Foundation.
Does the CLE Big Ticket cover the Essential seminars?
Yes. The CLE Big Ticket is a cost-effective one-year from date of purchase subscription to virtually all SC Bar CLE live, live webcast and On-Demand seminars, including ALL of the Essentials Series seminars. Once you purchase the Big Ticket, simply register or purchase the program of your choice and there will be a zero-balance due on checkout. The Big Ticket covers almost every seminar offered by the SC Bar CLE Division during the calendar year of your subscription.
I still have questions!
Contact CLE Director Terry Burnett at 803-576-3780 or by email at email@example.com.