State Bar cracks down on lawyers who lapse on their MCLEs
Media Contact: Laura Ernde 415-538-2283 firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco (April 18, 2012) –
The State Bar of California has suspended five lawyers and is referring 24
others for possible discipline following an audit of compliance with continuing
Taking a more aggressive approach to Minimum Continuing
Legal Education (MCLE) compliance, the State Bar last year closely examined the
documentation provided by a randomly chosen sample of 635 lawyers.
The audit, which represented 1 percent of the attorneys
whose MCLE requirements were due last year, revealed that 98 attorneys – or 15
percent – were not in compliance.
“The result is troubling and reaffirms the action being
taken by the State Bar,” State Bar President Jon Streeter said in a letter sent
this month to local bar associations across the state.
The State Bar requires active attorneys, except those
statutorily exempt, to take 25 hours of continuing education courses every
three years, including four hours of legal ethics and an hour each of
elimination of bias and detection and prevention of substance abuse or mental illness.
In some cases the problems were minor. For example, some
out-of-state attorneys neglected to fulfill the requirements for bias and
substance abuse, which are not commonly required in other states.
But other cases warranted further attention. Five lawyers
were suspended for failure to respond to the audit. Another 24 were referred to
the Office of Chief Trial Counsel for possible disciplinary action because they
falsely reported they were in compliance.
“The message is clear. California lawyers must fulfill
and accurately document and report their MCLE requirements,” Streeter said. “No
California attorney should be surprised if their compliance certificate is
This year, the bar expects to audit a larger sample of 5
percent, or roughly 3,000 to 4,000 lawyers. Letters requesting proof of
compliance for 2012 will be mailed in July.
Attorneys selected for the next audit will receive a link
to an online MCLE compliance log, where they will be asked to provide
compliance details. They will also be asked to submit actual certificates of
attendance, either by mail or email. Lawyers are reminded they must keep
documentation for at least a year after their compliance is due.
For more information about MCLE requirements and
reporting, visit the State Bar’s MCLE