There are certain periods when attorneys are not subject to the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirement, especially if they are inactive or for some reason not eligible to practice law.
Attorneys are not subject to MCLE reporting requirements during any period of time that he or she is officially listed as "inactive" on State Bar records. There is no "retired" status. Attorneys who are not practicing law and are otherwise eligible may file a form to transfer to inactive.
An attorney who is inactive for part, but not all of an MCLE compliance period is still required to complete a reduced or prorated number of MCLE hours based on the number of months he or she was active.
Credit may be claimed for education activities taken any time during the compliance period, even if an attorney is inactive when completing the activity. However, that credit cannot be carried forward from one compliance period to another.
If you complete MCLE education after the end of your reporting period to make up for missing credits, you will not be able to count them again for the next compliance period.
You have to file a transfer to inactive status form before the MCLE reporting deadline to avoid the requirement.
There are benefits, however, to being inactive. Inactive attorneys who turn 70 do not have to pay the State Bar fee beginning in the next calendar year.
An attorney may be placed on administrative inactive status (not eligible to practice law) for failure to comply with the MCLE requirement.
Attorneys listed as “not eligible” cannot be removed from administrative inactive status until they have fulfilled all of the bar’s requirements. They must submit a number of documents and fees, including:
The State Bar will issue a reinstatement when it receives all of the items above. If an attorney was placed on not eligible status for more than one reason (such as a suspension for not paying annual fees), they will not be eligible to practice law until the issues are resolved.
Inactive attorneys who decide to become active in the middle of their compliance period must still comply with the MCLE requirement for the period when they were active.
Your MCLE requirement is prorated based on the number of months during the compliance period when you were active and not exempt. You may be required to show compliance with a past-due MCLE requirement within 60 days.
Your active status is effective the date that the State Bar receives your signed form and fee. To start the process you must:
For questions contact the MCLE program at:
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105