California MCLE Audit: Keep Calm, Stay Compliant, and Carry On

by: The Knowledge Group

December 12, 2019


Continuing Legal Education compliance auditors sent out dozens of emails sent from the California Bar, raising alarm bells with attorneys, and causing confusion about requirements. More than a hundred lawyers received audit notifications. Some, to their surprise, were deemed noncompliant.

Panic is understandable. The state bar has recently adopted a policy of slapping “consumer alerts” on the bar profiles of lawyers on involuntary inactive status due to noncompliance.

The Audit Story

In 2011, California began randomly auditing up to 10% of compliance declarations. About a fifth of the audited batches have lacked proof of the minimum 25 hours. A small percentage of California lawyers had been avoiding MCLE entirely.

California’s Bar has tried to deal with this by expanding the audits and placing lawyers on inactive status. Yet serious compliance problems have persisted.

Staying in Compliance is Straightforward

Every three years, California lawyers must show 25 completed MCLE hours.

Within the required credits, half your 25 hours must involve “participatory” MCLE. Up to 12.5 hours can be for self-study including electronic education. You must complete:

  • Legal ethics: 4+ hours.
  • Competence issues:  1+ hour.
  • Elimination of Bias — Legal Profession and Society: 1+ hour.

The Knowledge Group’s California Bundle

We’ve put together a California MCLE bundle comprised of: 8 Legal Ethics credit hours; 2 hours Elimination of Bias; 2 hours Competence, as well as MCLE credits in Substance Abuse & Mental Health, Professional Practice, and Skills. Questions? Talk to us: 646-844-0200.