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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

New legal education reporting rules for certified specialists in Group 1

When you earn a certificate of specialization, you can anticipate a boost in respect from colleagues, courts and the public because you've demonstrated your experience, education and reputation in a specialty.

But what you may not realize is that for specialists in Group 1, you also have to report you’ve completed 36 hours of legal specialist education (or an equivalent) by Feb. 1. Although the deadline is the same, this is different than filing the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) compliance report that all attorneys have to file once every three years.

MCLE compliance is reported online through My State Bar Profile, and the requirement applies to all attorneys, certified specialists or not. Certified specialists who get certified through the California Board of Legal Specialization must report their legal specialist education using a paper form. If you don’t have a copy of it, you can download and print it from the State Bar website.

In February 2015, the first group of certified specialists –Group 2 (those with last names beginning from H to M) reported on a brand new schedule: reporting 36 hours every three years instead of 60 hours every five years. Natalie Leonard, director for Legal Specialization in the Office of Admissions, said that change in reporting went very well.

Leonard said that more than 25 percent of certified specialists in MCLE Group 1 have already reported compliance with their legal specialist education requirements so far. The deadline for all attorneys in Group 1 is Feb. 1.

Eventually, she added, certified specialists will be able to report their hours online, just as they do now for MCLE.