California to Audit All Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Attendance

by: The Knowledge Group

February 04, 2019


California attorneys in active status must keep up their legal training, in a requirement known as Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). Every three years, California lawyers need to show they’ve completed 25 CLE hours. California takes the matter seriously. Topics covered address bias in the legal profession, legal ethics, substance abuse, and mental wellness.

And now, the California Bar is considering updating compliance rules to reflect the state’s serious commitment to continuing legal education. Should the proposal go into effect, the California Bar will have the means to audit every lawyer’s compliance, verifying every course taken.

How the New Rule Would Impact Lawyers and CLE Providers

Today, lawyers in California self-report their compliance with the state’s triennial requirements. The new rule would require course providers to electronically report MCLE attendance, starting no later than December 31, 2020.

The change will help California automate its records, the Bar states, and “assist [lawyers] in tracking their own compliance” as well.

California Bar staff developed a special focus group and surveyed course providers. The group determined that direct reporting by the course providers is feasible. Now, the Bar is moving ahead with the concept. It’s putting a platform together to equip all course providers to submit attendance data online.

The Backstory

The California Bar began randomly auditing up to 10% of attorney compliance declarations in 2011. About a fifth of the typical sample lacks documentation of the required 25 hours, and some 5% of the audited lawyers who declare their compliance have, in fact, not taken any CLE courses at all.

The State Bar has tried to address the compliance problem though publicity, by disciplining the individuals who don’t pass their audits, and by enlarging the random samples. All to no avail. Clearly, serious CLE compliance problems exist.

You’re here because you take continuing professional education seriously. The Knowledge Group thanks you for being part of the solution.

You can purchase The Knowledge Group’s California State Bundle, for just $65, covering all of your MCLE needs in the state of California by clicking here.  You can also view our Unlimited CLE Annual Bundle by clicking here.