PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not be, construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.
Proposal to Increase the Required MCLE Hours and Require that a Specified Number Be Relevant to the Attorney’s Practice Area - Request for Public Comment
California's Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) program is the result of a process that began in 1989, when Governor Deukmejian signed into law Senate Bill 905 (Davis), the continuing legal education bill. (SB 905, Ch. 1425, added Section 6070 to the Business and Professions Code.) The 1989 legislation required the State Bar to request the California Supreme Court to adopt a rule of court authorizing the State Bar to establish and administer an MCLE program. On Dec. 7, 1990, the Court adopted Rule 9.31, the MCLE Rule of Court. Rule 9.31 provides a skeletal outline of an MCLE program and authorizes the State Bar Board of Trustees to adopt more detailed rules and regulations. MCLE Rules and Regulations were approved by the Board of Trustees on Dec. 8, 1990 and the MCLE program officially began on Feb. 1, 1992. Several changes have been made since the MCLE program began.
At its October 2013 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a number of changes to the MCLE rules. At that time, the Board of Trustees also recommended that the proposal to increase the number of required hours of MCLE for State Bar members should be further analyzed and brought back for discussion during a future meeting. State Bar members are currently required to complete a total of 25 hours of approved credit every three years, including 4 hours in legal ethics, 1 hour addressing competence issues, and 1 hour dealing with the recognition and elimination of bias in the legal profession and society.
This proposal suggests increasing the number of required MCLE hours from 25 to 36, and requiring that 12 of the required hours be relevant to a member’s practice area.
Several members of the Board of Trustees have expressed their belief that increasing the number of MCLE hours required from 25 to 36 and requiring that at least 12 of those hours be relevant to an attorney’s practice area is a public protection matter. Ensuring initial and continuing competence in the attorneys that are licensed by the State Bar is a primary objective of the Board of Trustees. Expanding the MCLE requirements is one action that could be taken toward meeting that goal.
The related agenda item and attachments linked below describe the proposed changes in detail.
ADA Version – Proposed Amendments to B&P Code Sections 6070-6071
ADA Version – Proposed Amendments to California Rules of Court Rule 9.31
ADA Version – Proposed Amendments to Rules of the State Bar, Title 2, Div. 4