The California State Bar’s MCLE compliance deadline is coming up—this time for last names beginning with N-Z. State Bar prosecutors have and will pursue discipline against attorneys who don’t comply, so make sure you don’t get caught short on MCLE hours.
In last year’s audit, the State Bar found that attorneys generally ran into MCLE compliance trouble by either not taking enough participatory classes or by missing credits on the required subjects. Here are the basics on required hours:
The California State Bar requires members to complete 25 hours of approved continuing legal education every 3 years.
Of these 25 hours, 12.5 must be “participatory” and the rest may be “self-study” hours. “Participatory” doesn’t mean you have to physically attend the program. You can get participatory credit for watching or listening to a program if (1) the provider has you sign in and keeps a record of attendance, (2) the program is approved for participatory credit, and (3) the provider gives you a certificate of attendance.
The 25 hours must include:
- 4 hours of Legal Ethics,
- 1 hour of Prevention / Detection / Treatment of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness, and
- 1 hour of Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession.
The State Bar has created a helpful chart with the Dos and Don’ts of MCLE compliance. Here’s the upshot:
- Get all your approved hours done before your compliance period ends.
- Report your compliance to the State Bar on time (you can do this electronically) and save your records for a year after your compliance period.
- If you get an audit notice from the State Bar, submit adequate proof of compliance by the deadline—failure could land you in Not Eligible to Practice status.
There’s still plenty of time to get your hours before the next compliance deadline. CEB has convenient MCLE compliance packages as well as an Ethics Plus! Required Subject Package. Also check out the schedule for CEB’s January MCLE Fair 2014.
Not your compliance deadline yet? It’s a great time to get organized with a free tool from CEB that will keep track of all of your MCLE hours (including required subjects) from any provider.
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