November 30, 2021
Board of Trustees
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Re: Competency MCLE credit
Dear Board of Trustees:
The California Lawyers Association (CLA) has reviewed the letter from the San Diego County Bar Association requesting that the State Bar consider (1) increasing the number of required hours for competency MCLE credit, and (2) expanding the topics recognized for accreditation under the “competency” credit. As discussed below, we support the second request but are not in favor of the first.
We fully support expanding the topics recognized under the “competency” MCLE credit.∗ Competency in the practice of law is only possible with a healthy and well lawyer, body and mind. Competency must be addressed from all sides, including prevention and epidemiology, and not narrowly focused on detection or treatment of substance abuse and mental illness. A competent lawyer is one who has the tools to manage stress, is resilient, handles conflict, and has the knowledge and competency to prevent chronic disease. Education in these areas is vital to prevention and maintenance of lawyer well-being. Expanding the topics that are recognized under this MCLE requirement will assist with this goal.
We do not favor increasing the number of required hours for competency MCLE credit beyond the one hour per compliance period currently required. Adding one hour to the special MCLE requirements takes one hour away from the more open-ended general MCLE requirements. Attorneys often attend courses that qualify for general MCLE credit only in order to be updated on developments and improve skills in their specific practice areas. We believe these opportunities should be maximized. Attorneys can still choose to attend courses that qualify for special MCLE credit, including competency, because those courses also count toward the general MCLE requirements. We believe, however, that the “competency” MCLE requirement should not be increased to two hours.
We appreciate your consideration of our comments.
Jeremy M. Evans