Increased MCLE For California Lawyers???


California attorneys – what are your thoughts on MCLE?  Do you love it … hate it?  Are you ready for some more of it???

That’s right, the State Bar of California may soon be increasing the MCLE requirement for California attorneys.  When I opened my email this morning, one of the first things I came across was the April edition of the California Bar Journal.  The first title that caught my eye was entitled: “MCLE overhaul contemplated at public hearings.”

“The issue is, is MCLE really doing what it is supposed to be doing …. If not, how can we make it do what it is supposed to be doing?”[1]

                      – Loren Kieve, chair of the Member Oversight Committee

One of the main concerns is that California has one of the lowest MCLE credit hour requirements in the country, requiring only 25 CA CLE credits every three years.  Only Alaska and Hawaii – which require a mere three hours of CLE classes each year – have a lower requirement.  Nevada, New Jersey and New York all require 12 mandatory CLE credits each year, while states like Arizona, Oregon, Texas and Washington require 15 CLE hours annually.

Two public hearings are slated for April 18th in Los Angeles and May 8th in San Francisco.  Once the public hearings have concluded, a proposal will be submitted to the Board of Trustees who will consider the information presented at the public hearings.

The hearings will cover the following topics:

  • The mission of MCLE
  • MCLE requirements
  • The sub-fields of ethics, elimination of bias and substance abuse.
  • MCLE providers
  • Different types of MCLE instruction

In it’s original MCLE system, California attorneys were required to complete 36 CA CLE credit hours every three years.  I would not be surprised to see a return to this system … with some slight modifications.  One thing is for certain – it will probably be quite a few years until any significant changes take place to the MCLE program in California.

[1] MCLE overhaul contemplated at public hearings