Upcoming MCLE Changes and How They Affect You

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Hurley-TheresaThe State Bar has made changes to the MCLE rules that take effect on July 1, 2014. Read on for a summary of these changes and how CCCBA can help you easily meet your compliance requirement:

Elimination of Bias

This has now been changed from: “Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession” to “Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society.” These changes expand the scope of this requirement so that you can now earn credit by attending programs about implicit and explicit bias found in society in general, not just bias in the legal system. Programs must still focus on education about how to identify and eliminate bias. The plenary session at this year’s MCLE Spectacular will be for Elimination of Bias credit.

Competence Issues

This expands the former “Substance Abuse” MCLE requirement to also include programs that offer education into any mental or physical issue (such as dementia, stress or mental illness, in addition to substance abuse/addiction), which may adversely impact an attorney’s performance. The primary goal of the program must first be education about the science of how or why these issues may impact an attorney’s professional competence, and second, relate to an “emotional or physical” issue that can impair a member’s competence.

Programs must be taught by someone qualified in the subject matter and may offer suggestions (but not instruction) into ways a member may deal with the issues being discussed. The September 16, 2014, program in CCCBA’s 2014 Law Practice Management Series, “Wellness for Attorneys – Avoiding Substance Abuse in the Law,” will qualify for the new Competence Issues credit.

Self Study MCLE

You may still claim up to half of your MCLE credit hours as “Self Study.” Starting on July 1, 2014, to qualify for MCLE credit, Self-Study MCLE activities must have been prepared within five years from the date that you take (or view) that self-study activity.

For example, a self-study article that was prepared in 2007 and taken in 2013 would not qualify for MCLE credit, but a self-study article that was prepared in 2007, taken in 2012, and reported for the members’ compliance period in 2014 would qualify for MCLE credit. CCCBA’s Self-Study MCLE offerings will be continually updated so that they are within the five-year preparation period. CCCBA has a number of self-study articles and videos that you can access to receive these credit hours. See our Self-Study MCLE page for more information.

Other Possible Changes to MCLE Rules

The State Bar MCLE Working Group is considering other changes to the MCLE rules such as requiring that a certain number of MCLE hours must be relevant to an attorney’s practice area. We will provide you with updates as more information becomes available.

Are you interested in presenting an MCLE program for our members or authoring an MCLE Self-Study article for the CC Lawyer magazine? Do you have questions about CCCBA’s MCLE offerings (either in-person or self-study)? Please contact Theresa Hurley at (925) 370-2548 or thurley@cccba.org. To view upcoming MCLE events, you can access our event calendar by clicking here.

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