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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Proposal to increase MCLE hours presented for feedback

By Laura Ernde
Staff Writer

The idea of increasing the amount of required continuing legal education for attorneys is once again under consideration by the Board of Trustees.

The board’s Admissions and Education Committee voted to seek public comment on a proposal to increase the required number of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) hours from 25 to 36 every three years and mandate that at least 12 of the hours be relevant to an attorney’s practice area.

When it last considered increasing the hours in 2013, the board deferred action. Instead, the board enacted rule changes aimed at expanding course options and improving their quality.

When it comes to continuing education, California ranks near the bottom of states that have mandatory requirements, said Pam Wilson, senior director of the Office of Education. Only Alaska and Hawaii require fewer hours. Other major professions in California require between 15 and 40 hours per year of study.

Some board members have indicated they believe the proposal is a matter of public protection that will ensure that attorneys are competent in the law.

As part of a separate proposal, the board in November voted to require 10 additional MCLE hours for attorneys in their first year of practice. The plan requires approval from the state Supreme Court and Legislature before it can take effect.

The deadline for public comment is June 26 and the proposal will then come back to the board at a future meeting.