The State Bar’s legal specialization program certifies attorneys as specialists in certain areas of law. Certified specialists must take and report an additional number of Legal Specialization Continuing Legal Education (LSCLE) credits to maintain their certification.
To be a provider of education for certified specialists, you may have to apply separately for credit depending on your course content.
Activities approved for CLE credit for certified specialists are also approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit. You do not need to apply for MCLE credit separately unless part of the course does not qualify for legal specialization credit.
For example, if you want to offer credit for one or more of the MCLE required topics (legal ethics*, prevention, detection and treatment of substance abuse/mental illness, elimination of bias in the legal profession), it will not count for MCLE credit unless it has been approved separately for MCLE credit or you are an MCLE multiple activity provider.
*Legal ethics may be approved for CLE credit for certified specialists if it applies only to a specific area of law. If approved, attorneys may use the activity to comply with the MCLE legal ethics requirement.
If you have never held an educational activity for CLE credit for certified specialists before or only have one activity that you would like to be approved for credit, you are considered a single activity provider.
You can apply for certified specialization add-on credit in the same application along with the request for MCLE credit. In addition to an application, you must submit a description of the activity along with supporting documents and a non-refundable processing fee.
Single activity providers seeking CLE credit for certified specialists for a new activity must first apply for MCLE credit and select the add-on credit. The fees are $90 for MCLE credit application plus $22 for each specialty area. Here are some examples with a breakdown of fees:
For questions contact the Legal Specialization department at 415-538-2120.
Multiple activity providers are given blanket authorization during their approval period to offer credit in a designated area of law for certified specialist education activities that meet the standards for approval in Rule 3.114, Title 3, Division 2, Chapter 2 of the Legal Specialization rules. Once you received multiple activity provider status, you are no longer required to submit single activity applications for approval.
To qualify, multiple activity providers must:
Providers that offer only one activity, even though they present that same activity many times will not be approved for multiple activity provider status. A workshop with contents that vary based on the needs of the participants is not considered a repeat presentation but a separate activity that requires separate approval.
Keep copies of your State Bar notification of approval letters each time you have an individual education activity approved for credit. You must attach copies of these four letters to your multiple activity provider application along with a $450 nonrefundable processing fee.
Find the multiple activity provider application
Once approved, multiple activity providers can issue legal specialization educational credit in the approved specialty area for up to three years, ending on June 30. For example, if your application is approved in July, your approval period will be for the full three years; if it is approved in January, the approval period will be for the remainder of that period (January to June) plus two full years.
Your status must be renewed before the expiration of the approval period. A renewal application will be sent about three months before it expires to the contact person and address provided to the State Bar.
Rule 3.114, Title 3, Division 2, Chapter 2 of the Legal Specialization rules and section 3.602 of the MCLE Provider Rules for your requirements concerning attendance records, certificates of attendance, evaluation forms, promotional materials, auditing and advertising.