If you live outside of California, you don’t have to come back to the state for activities that qualify for Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). The State Bar allows many activities that are approved by other jurisdictions, including foreign countries, to count towards California’s MCLE requirement.
Credit can be claimed for activities outside of California if they are on the State Bar's approved jurisdiction list. For example, most states and several foreign countries with a requirement for attorneys to pursue continuing education are approved jurisdictions.
There are three foreign entities on the State Bar's approved jurisdiction list: England and Wales, Hong Kong (China) and Victoria, Australia.
Credits approved by a jurisdiction that the State Bar of California has already approved qualify for MCLE credit no matter where you take it. For example, if you take a course in Paris that is approved for credit in New York, you can count it for MCLE credit in California because New York is an approved jurisdiction.
One-half of the California MCLE requirement can be fulfilled with approved "self-study" education activities, provided that the "self-study" can be approved for credit by the State Bar.
It is often easier to meet the special requirements unique to the State Bar of California (for example, one hour of education in elimination of bias in the legal profession or one hour of education in detection/prevention of substance abuse) by listening to a tape or taking a self-assessment test that is approved for California MCLE credit.
If you are outside California and listen to an audio recording that is approved for credit by another jurisdiction, you can count it for California credit. Be sure to confirm the activity meets California's definition of "self-study." Different jurisdictions use this term in various ways and to describe different types of activities.
Take advantage of activities that can be accessed on the internet.
There are many national organizations that are approved providers in California and/or offer education activities that are approved by an approved jurisdiction. Use the bar’s provider search tool to search for a national organizations that provides educational activities in your area.
Teaching or taking a law school class are activities that can be automatically approved for credit if they meet the criteria spelled out in the MCLE Rules. (Example: obtaining an LL.M. degree.)
If there are other California attorneys in your area, consider developing CLE activities together that can be submitted to the State Bar of California for approval. For example, you can present a seminar in your area of expertise to other attorneys in your firm. If the activity is submitted to the State Bar and approved for MCLE credit, your group can get credit in California.
If you attend or teach an education activity that is not approved for credit by the State Bar of California or an approved jurisdiction, but qualifies as the kind of activity that California would approve for credit, you can submit a member credit request.
There are certain situations where attorneys can’t comply with the State Bar’s MCLE requirements. If you have mobility problems, for example, or you live in a remote area without internet access, it may be difficult for you to comply.
In such cases, you may request more time, consider transferring to voluntary inactive status or seek good cause modification of the requirements for more information.