Before allowing providers to issue Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit, the State Bar evaluates the provider’s plans to present to practicing attorneys.
To qualify as legal education, a program must pertain to rules, regulations, standards, and/or policies and be directly relevant to active attorneys licensed to practice law by the State Bar of California. A significant portion of the program's content must enhance the professional ability to practice law and be directly relevant to attorneys’ current knowledge of the law, including their obligations and professional standards.
For example, programs that help an attorney prepare for public speaking may not count because the central theme is something other than the practice of law. But a program on avoiding malpractice does count for MCLE credit because it deals with the professional standards attorneys are expected to maintain.
Additionally, a provider may request MCLE credit for welcoming remarks, introductions of speakers, closing remarks, and question and answer periods.
For a program or activity that is one hour or more in length to be approved, substantive written materials relevant to the program or activity must be prepared and made available to attendees, either before or during the activity. Such materials must be relevant to the program’s subject matter and will be considered sufficiently substantive if they offer citations to or a discussion of any legal authority, published case law, statutes, law review articles, or other published research or commentary that augment the educational experience of attorneys.
Activities that qualify include courses that are directly relevant to active attorneys licensed to practice law in California. A significant portion of the program's content must enhance the attorney's professional ability to practice law and be directly relevant to the attorney's current knowledge of the law, including their obligations and professional standards.
Other activities that may be eligible for general MCLE credit include those that provide education or practical instruction in:
Legal ethics—subfield credit
Legal ethics must focus on the professional responsibility of attorneys and not on the ethics of business, corporate or government affairs, or society in general. For example, activities that educate attorneys on the state's Rules of Professional Conduct are eligible for MCLE legal ethics credit, but programs that focus on ethical dilemmas encountered in society, a business, or a nonlegal profession do not.
Make sure to cite the specific Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys that the program relates to or discusses.
Recognition and elimination of bias—subfield credit
Activities that qualify include courses on any form of bias found in the legal profession or society in general. Activities that qualify for credit include education in the recognition and elimination of impermissible bias in the courtroom, law office, attorney-client relationships and relationships with other attorneys, legal and nonlegal employment, the workplace, hiring, managing, and terminating employees, and in housing, accommodations, and services.
Courses required by AB 1825—mandatory sexual harassment awareness and prevention training for personnel managers—are approved for elimination of bias credit.
Implicit bias—subfield credit
Activities that qualify include courses with a focus on implicit bias and the promotion of bias-reducing strategies to address how unintended biases regarding race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics undermine confidence in the legal system.
Please see Section 6070.5 of the Business and Professions Code for additional information and detailed requirements.
Competence issues—subfield credit
Approved activities must consist of education that identifies and discusses the detection of substance abuse, mental illness, or other mental or physical issue that impairs an attorney's ability to perform legal services with competence.
Courses that discuss or provide treatment for any of the mental, emotional, or physical issues that affect professional competence do not qualify for credit in this area. This includes programs primarily about alcohol and drug treatment, meditation, or other forms of stress management.
Legal Specialist—add-on credit
Activities that also focus on certain areas of law may be eligible for Legal Specialist Continuing Legal Education (LSCLE) in addition to MCLE credit, if they provide high-quality content in any of these 11 areas of the law:
Online activities may be eligible for either self-study or verified (participatory) credit. Providers must ensure that:
* Please note: copies of these documents may be requested by the State Bar at any time during the specified retention period.
Make sure that:
Note: On and after January 1, 2022, providers are also required to meet, at a minimum, all of the following requirements, before they are approved to offer credit for activities addressing implicit bias (Business and Professions Code Section 6070.5 (a)):
For questions contact the State Bar at:
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105