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Letters to the Editor

Cost of MCLE is prohibitive for sole practitioner

I enjoy taking the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) classes offered online. My biggest problem is the cost. I’m already on a reduced payment plan for my bar dues. Even spread over a long period of time, the costs add up. I am considering going inactive or some other alternative status merely to avoid the MCLE requirement. I hope the discussions include an examination of the cost to a sole practitioner, or some sort of senior discount. I don’t think the number of credits required is unreasonable, just the cost. Thank you for your consideration.

Luise Healey
Irvine, Calif.

Rethink MCLE rather than increase hours

The California State Bar is considering revising its MCLE (Minimum Continuing Legal Education) rules, with the possibility of increasing the current hours requirement. The bar needs to rethink, to sharpen, and to strengthen its MCLE rules rather than increase the hours requirement.

The State Bar should more carefully define the objectives of MCLE. Requirements should respond to the purposes of mandatory requirements for CLE. Rules should address the minority of attorneys who otherwise would not maintain an acceptable level of substantive competence in the law.

Rules should define MCLE in terms of education and currency in substantive and procedural law. Classes qualifying for MCLE credit should be based on substantive legal subjects, stressing current issues and developments. Rules should require lawyers as speakers for approved MCLE classes. Current standards are fluffy. Current rules permit MCLE classes in peripheral subjects of interest to lawyers taught by non-lawyers. Traditional education is organized around three basic principles – classroom, reading, and assessment. These principles are important for education that professionals will retain outside of the classroom.

MCLE rules should require substantive written materials (not PowerPoint slides) for all qualifying MCLE classes. Current standards require written materials only for classes of more than one hour. MCLE rules should require testing within 30 days after all classes. Retention from MCLE programs typically is short. MCLE classes without an assessment component lead to poor retention. Current rules require classes in addressing bias and substance abuse. It is doubtful that current classes reduce or treat bias or substance abuse. Delete these requirements as ineffective.

Preferred providers should electronically report results to the bar. Delete written certificates of attendance. The bar also should seek ways of decreasing the cost of satisfying MCLE requirements to make MCLE more affordable.

Terence Cuff
Los Angeles


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