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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Last-minute MCLE reporters run higher audit risk

By Laura Ernde
Staff Writer

Attorneys, like everyone else, tend to procrastinate. But when it comes to fulfilling MCLE requirements, the result of this year’s audit shows that waiting until the last minute could be detrimental to your license.

More than one in three audited attorneys who waited until the last possible day to report their compliance ended up running into trouble with the bar’s auditors, according to preliminary data presented to the Board of Trustees last month. A majority of those 272 were able to make up the gaps and bring themselves into compliance. However, as many as one in 10 may end up being referred to the Office of Chief Trial Counsel for possible discipline.

In comparison, only 10 percent percent of the attorneys selected at random had trouble complying with the audit.

“The most important thing I learned today – report MCLE early,” Trustee Terrance Flanigan said after hearing the report.

The audit found that 25 percent of the courses completed by the audited attorneys were taken in the month preceding the Feb. 1 MCLE reporting deadline.

“The level of procrastination is quite high,” said Robert McPhail, who oversees the audit.

This was the fifth year the State Bar has conducted audits that could potentially result in disciplinary action. A total of 5,220, or 10 percent, of attorneys in group 2 (whose last names begin with H through M), were asked to submit proof that they had met the requirements.

While 1,431 were selected at random for the audit, the remainder were chosen because they had risk factors for doing poorly on the audit, such as a history of administrative actions or a late filing.

Since 2011, 67 attorneys have been disciplined as a result of the audits. Another seven have resigned with charges pending and 150 cases are still pending.

The audit also provides a glimpse into which certified CLE providers are the most popular. Five providers – the State Bar, Attorney Credits,, MCLEez and Access MCLE – accounted for 30 percent of the courses submitted. However, the courses were provided by more than 4,000 different providers.