Frequently Asked Questions
If the answer to your question(s) is not answered below, please contact the SC Bar CLE Division at (803) 771-0333 or (800) 768-7787, ext. 128.
What is Bridge the Gap?
Rule 402(c) of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR) sets forth the requirements for admission to practice law in South Carolina, for applications for admission filed on or after August 1, 2016. Previously, Rule 402(c)(8), SCACR, required all South Carolina Bar applicants to successfully complete the Bridge the Gap program sponsored by the South Carolina Bar, under the direction of the South Carolina Supreme Court, prior to admission to practice law. Bridge the Gap (BTG) is a one-day intensive online, on-demand video program sanctioned by the South Carolina Supreme Court and made available by the SC Bar-CLE Division. The program focuses on practical nuts and bolts lawyering skills.
Who Should Attend?
Bridge the Gap is no longer a requirement for the admission to practice law in South Carolina for those who are subject to the new Rule 402(c), SCACR, i.e. those who apply for admission on/after August 1, 2016 and who are required to take the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). However, completion of the online, on-demand BTG program remains a requirement for all applicants seeking admission to practice law, who took and passed the July 2016 South Carolina Bar Examination or an earlier South Carolina Bar Examination.
In addition, applicants seeking admission under the provisions of Rule 430, SCACR (Limited Certificate of Admission for Military Spouse Attorneys) must have either completed BTG at the time of filing their Rule 430 applications for admission, or must have registered for BTG at the time of filing their Rule 430 applications, and must complete BTG within three months of admission.
What Should I Expect?
The Bridge the Gap program offers instruction on professional responsibility issues, lawyer discipline and malpractice, information on building a client base, law office technology, a review of arbitration and mediation and instructions for practicing in all areas of the South Carolina court system.
How Much Does it Cost?
The registration fee for the online, on-demand BTG program (there is no longer a “live” program) is $250.
How Do I Register?
In order to register and gain access to the online program, please contact eCLE Coordinator Jane Points at email@example.com or 803-576-3828 (direct).
Who Are the Faculty Members?
The faculty for the program is comprised of members of South Carolina’s Judiciary and the Bar. These professionals offer a wealth of practical knowledge and experience, both in their presentations and in the materials prepared for the program. Bridge the Gap faculty members do not receive monetary compensation or special teaching credit for their participation. Faculty members speak and provide extensive materials strictly on a voluntary basis.
What About Materials?
BTG program materials are available in downloadable pdf format and are accessible once you register and launch your program.
How is My Attendance Reported?
Your successful completion of BTG will be reported to the South Carolina Supreme Court Office of Bar Admissions and to the Court’s Commission on CLE & Specialization by the SC Bar CLE Division Staff.
As a New Admittee, What Are My MCLE/LEPR Requirements?
Bridge the Gap fulfills your requirements for the CLE reporting year in which you are admitted. Under Rule 408(a)(3), SCACR, new SC Bar admittees are exempt from CLE requirements during the reporting year in which they are admitted to the SC Bar.
Eligibility for Swearing-In
The Supreme Court’s policy provides that an applicant will be eligible to be sworn in if the Office of Bar Admissions has received all required documentation ten days before the scheduled swearing-in ceremony. An applicant who completes Bridge the Gap as his/her requirement for admission will be required to attend one of four scheduled swearing-in ceremonies (in February, May, September or November). In order to be eligible for the swearing-in, you must meet the following requirements:
1) You must have completed all other requirements for admission, at the time of your completion of Bridge the Gap.
2) The South Carolina Bar-CLE Division must certify your completion of Bridge the Gap.
3) You must be dressed in attire that would be appropriate for an appearance before the South Carolina Supreme Court.
4) You must be prepared to pay the required $50 fee. Checks should be made payable to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
For admission ceremony information, please reference Rule 402 (h), SCACR.
Once Admitted: How Many MCLE/LEPR Credits am I Required to Obtain Per Year?
Every regular (active) attorney licensed to practice law in South Carolina, who is not exempt under Rule 408(a)(2)(A)-(F), SCACR, must obtain 14.0 hours of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credits per year. At least 2.0 of these hours must be Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility (LEPR) credit hours. At least once every three reporting years, the SC Bar member must complete one hour of LEPR devoted exclusively to instruction in substance abuse, mental health issues or stress management and the legal profession (SA/MH). Before the end of the first required CLE reporting year, newly admitted members admitted pursuant to Rule 402, SCACR, unless exempt as set forth in Rule 408(a)(3)(A)-(D), SCACR, must complete an “Essentials Series” course administered by the South Carolina Bar, in addition to satisfying the CLE requirements in 408(a)(2), SCACR.
What is the Essentials Series?
After admission to the SC Bar, but before the end of your first CLE reporting year following admission, you must complete one (though you may opt to attend more than one) of the SC Bar’s “Essentials Series” programs. The “Essentials Series” is comprised of up to ten full-day courses covering major practice areas, as well as law firm technology. The programs are designed and taught by experienced practitioners and feature comprehensive and practical materials. These courses are process-driven, rather than substantive law-driven, and are designed to give you practical “how to” guidance on “how to” handling cases in the designated practice area.
All new admittees to the SC Bar are required to take at least one of the “Essentials Series” courses with the following exceptions, pursuant to Rule 408(a)(3)(A)-(D), SCACR:
(1) Attorneys admitted to practice in another jurisdiction for two or more years prior to their SC Bar admission date are exempted from the “Essentials Series” requirement.
(2) Attorneys on active military duty are not required to attend.
(3) Inactive SC Bar members are not required to attend (Note: If you return to Active status within your first year of becoming licensed, you must complete the requirement during that CLE reporting year.)
Attendance Options for Essentials Series:
(1) If you live in South Carolina or maintain an active practice in South Carolina, you are required to attend an “Essentials Series” course in-person at the SC Bar Conference Center. No exceptions.
(2) If you live and practice out of state, you may opt to view one of the courses through the Bar’s archived on-demand, web-based delivery system. All “Essentials Series” courses will be taped and posted online, though none of them will be offered via live web cast. This is to insure maximum participation per the Supreme Court’s wishes.
Pricing for Essentials Series:
(1) As stated above, most new admittees are required to attend one (1) of the “Essentials Series” courses, though you may attend as many courses as you wish.
(2) All “Essentials Series” courses are priced at $240 for Early Bird Registration (must be received by 5pm two weeks prior to the program date) and $290 for Regular Registration.
(3) For new admittees who are required to complete BTG, your first “Essentials Series” course is FREE, but you must use the complimentary registration form provided by the SC Bar CLE Division, after admittance to the SC Bar, to register. Registration prices for subsequent “Essentials Series” courses are at the published prices of $240/$290. All other SC Bar CLE Division seminar policies, such as cancellation and transfer policies, apply to the “Essentials Series” courses. (See Registration Form for details.) Once you have been sworn in, the SC Bar CLE Division will email you the complimentary “Essentials Series” course registration form. Please return the registration form indicating which program(s) you wish to attend.
Please direct questions concerning the “Essentials Series” to CLE Director Terry Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Whom Do I Report My MCLE/LEPR Credit Hours?
You must send your MCLE/LEPR Compliance Report to the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization at 950 Taylor Street, Suite 120, Columbia, SC 29201, (803) 799-5578.
How Can I Check My MCLE/LEPR Compliance Status?
Telephone the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization at (803) 799-5578 or visit www.commcle.org and click on the “Check MCLE Credits” menu bar, then enter your Attorney Information System (AIS) user name and AIS password.
What Do I Do If I Have Questions About the MCLE/LEPR Rules, Compliance or Reporting?
How Do I Find Out About the SC Bar CLE Division's Programs, Products or Services?
For a complete listing of SC Bar CLE products and services, visit the Shop CLE store.
May I Obtain Any of My MCLE/LEPR Credit Hours through “Alternatively Delivered” Programming?
"Alternatively Delivered” programming is defined as approved "audio-visual or media presentations, including telephone and online seminars." Under the current Rules and Regulations of the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization, you may obtain up to 6.0 hours of your 14.0 hours of annual required MCLE/LEPR credit via alternatively delivered programming, i.e. online, on-demand, or teleconference CLE courses. You may take as many of these courses as you like from the SC Bar CLE Division, but SC CLE Rules and Regulations only allow a SC Bar member to use up to 6.00 hours of CLE credit earned via alternatively delivered programming towards satisfaction of the 14.00-hour minimum CLE requirement, per CLE reporting year. South Carolina’s CLE reporting year runs from March 1 through the last day of February. Annual CLE compliance reports for regular (active) SC Bar members must be received by the Commission on/before March 1 of each year.
To Whom Do I Report Address or Status Changes?
Pursuant to Rule 410(g), SCACR, persons admitted to practice law in South Carolina have a continuing duty to verify and update their information contained in the AIS, and must ensure that the AIS information is current and accurate at all times. You will need to log on to www.sccourts.org/ais to make changes. You may email AIS support or call the number listed below for assistance.
South Carolina Supreme Court
Attorney Information System
P.O. Box 11330
Columbia, SC 29211
855-235-2500 (AIS Support)