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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Avoiding the stress of the Feb. 2 MCLE deadline

By Laura Ernde
Staff Writer

If history is a guide, there will be several thousand California lawyers who haven’t reported their Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) compliance as of Feb. 2, the final day to report for Group 2. If you are one of them, here’s what you need to know.

Number one: Don’t panic.

As long as you are honest in reporting your hours, the worst thing that can happen at this point is that you’ll be assessed a $75 late fee, according to Dina DiLoreto, managing director of member records and compliance.

The late fee is automatically assessed to those who haven’t verified they have complied with the MCLE requirements by midnight on the day of the deadline.

Even if you miss the deadline, you can avoid receiving the dreaded 60-day notice from the bar that your license to practice law will be suspended as long as you complete the hours in a timely fashion, DiLoreto said.

Another thing you should know is that the bar’s online payment system shuts down at midnight and will remain that way for several weeks. This is done to allow the Finance Department to assess fines and penalties in connection with the collection of the annual fees, which are also due Feb. 2.

In the meantime, you can either send a check (including payment for the penalties) or wait until March 1 to log on to My State Bar Profile and pay online. Once you have missed the Feb. 2 deadline and are assessed late fees, no additional fines or penalties attach between Feb. 3 and March 1.

Here are a couple of other pointers from the folks who answer lawyers’ questions about the MCLE rules:

  • If you had to make up hours after the Feb. 2 deadline, keep in mind you won’t be able to count them a second time during the next three-year compliance period.
  • Don’t falsely report that you have met the requirements. That could land you in trouble, especially if you’re audited.
  • Keep good records and hold onto them for at least one year after you’ve reported compliance.

If you still have questions about MCLE, contact the Member Services Center at 888-800-3400 or email with your query.