What is the "Competence Issues" requirement for California MCLE?

What is the "Competence Issues" requirement for California MCLE?

This is the category of California MCLE where the State Bar of California wants attorneys to become more cognizant of the psychological and behavioral issues that plague this profession. The Sate Bar requires one hour of California MCLE "Competence Issues" course completion per MCLE cycle.

A study conducted in 2017 showed that almost 30% of attorneys struggle with depression and almost 20% struggle with anxiety. This is significantly higher than other professions. A symptom of this is a professional that has higher than average incidents of alcohol and drug abuse. The consequences of not being able to offer clients the representation they deserve can be life altering in many cases for both the attorney and client. This is why the State Bar has this California MCLE "Competence Issues" requirement

To best understand California MCLE Competence Issues requirement, let?s define some terms so that it is clear exactly what the issues are. The colloquial definitions often do not get at heart of the topic.


Depression is one of the areas that can be covered in a California MCLE Competence Issues course. Depression is formally known as Major Depressive Disorder. It is a serious and pervasive mental illness with significant consequences in how one feels, how a person thinks and how a person acts. Luckily, it is a treatable malady. Depression invokes feelings of sadness and often a profound loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. It often leads to a variety of emotional and physical symptoms and can decrease a person?s ability to functionally engage with work and relations among friends and family.


Anxiety is one of the areas that can be covered in a California MCLE Competence Issues course. Anxiety is an intention emotion that exhibits feelings of tension, worried thinking, and physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure. People with medically defined anxiety disorders very often have uncontrollable intrusive worries. This is called rumination. Anxiety sufferers may avoid specific situations out of worry and concern. They may also have various physical symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat, sweating and trembling. Anxiety different than fear, but they are often used interchangeably. Anxiety is defined as a future-oriented, longterm response that is focused on a general threat, where by contrast, fear is an appropriate, present-oriented, and short-lived response to an immediate and specific threat.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Abuse is one of the areas that can be covered in a California MCLE Competence Issues course. This is formally known as Alcohol Use Disorder. It is characterized as a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems of a persona controlling their drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol consumption or continuing to use alcohol even when it is causing problems in one?s life. This disorder also involves developing tolerance to alcohol and/or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. Alcohol use disorder is often called alcoholism.

Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse is also one of the areas that can be covered in a California MCLE Competence Issues course. Substance abuse is the formal term used to indicate a pattern of using a substance (drug) that results in significant problems or distress for the user or those around them. These consequences may be missing work or school, using the substance in dangerous situations, such as driving a car or working heavy machinery. It can lead to substance-related legal problems, or continued substance use that interferes with friendships, family relationships, or professional relationships. Substance abuse, as a defined medical brain disorder, refers to the abuse of illegal substances, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine or it may be the abuse of legal substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, or prescription medicines.

When are choosing a California MCLE Competence Issues course, you are going to want to look carefully to make sure that it is covering one of these core issues that affect the legal profession.

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