What is the California MCLE due date? How often do I need to renew my California MCLE?
Depending on how you look at it, the California State Bar has defined either three or four different types California MCLE credit types that all attorneys practicing in California must complete. In short, the credit types for California MCLE are:
- Elimination of bias
- Implicit bias and the promotion of bias-reducing strategies
The last type is obviously a subtype of elimination of bias and was added for the 2023 compliance group. This is a new type of California MCLE credit, so even if you have already completed your California MCLE course for this period, make sure you have at least once course that meets this new rule.
In the language of psychologists and neuroscientists, "implicit" means that beliefs do not occur at a conscious level. They are subconscious beliefs and assumptions that automatically and unintentionally affect our thinking, judgements and behavior. Everyone has implicit bias and the first step is to be aware that we have them.
Common types of implicit bias are:
Racial Bias - Racial bias involves attaching and cognizing negative assumptions to particular races and ethnicities.
Age Bias - Age stereotypes and prejudices stem from positive or negative assumptions about people based on their age. In many ways, age bias is the most acceptable form of bias in our society.
Gender Bias - This type of bias is often based on traditional gender roles and common stereotypes. Gender bias most commonly targets women but there can be gender bias against men as well.
Eliminating implicit bias in only possible if it is recognized in ourselves. When choosing a course on this topic, take special care that this topic is covered.
Every State Bar requires attorneys to take CLE or MCLE courses on ethics. Some states call this type of requirement professional responsibility while some break the two up into separate types of CLE or MCLE credit. It is not surprising that ethics requirements are ubiquitous in every state bar jurisdiction given the incredible importance that ethics has for this profession. There are few professions where the consequences of a lapse of professional judgments are higher.
The California State Bar rules are designed to regulate professional ethical conduct of lawyers through education and discipline. These rules were adopted by the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California and approved by the Supreme Court of California. This is pursuant to Business and Professions Code sections 6076 and 6077 to protect the public, the courts, and the legal profession, protect the integrity of the legal system, and promote the administration of justice and confidence in the legal profession. These rules, along with any other explicit standards adopted by the Board of Trustees relevant to these rules, shall be binding upon all lawyers practicing in California. Discipline can range from fines to disbarment, so it is important to take these seriously.
In choosing ethics CLE courses to participate in, it is important to keep in mind the structure of these California State Bar rules on ethics. These rules are too comprehensive to even summarize here, but this is the general structure:
Chapter 1. Lawyer-Client Relationship (Rules 1.1 - 1.18)
Chapter 2. Counselor (Rules 2.1 - 2.4.1)
Chapter 3. Advocate (Rules 3.1 - 3.10)
Chapter 4. Transactions with Persons Other than Clients (Rules 4.1 - 4.4)
Chapter 5. Law Firms and Associations (Rules 5.1 - 5.7)
Chapter 6. Public Service (Rules 6.1 - 6.5)
Chapter 7. Information About Legal Services (Rules 7.1 - 7.5)
Chapter 8. Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession (Rules 8.1 - 8.5)
More information is available at the California State Bar website.
More California MCLE Information