Education Options

California's MCLE requirement can be satisfied only with approved education.

Types of Activities that can
be Approved
Type of Credit Type of Approval Required
"Live" Education; Speaking in approved activities Participatory Activity or provider must be approved for credit:
  • If the activity takes place inside California: By State Bar of California
  • If the activity takes place outside California: By State Bar of California or Approved Jurisdiction
If the State Bar has not approved the provider, activity or jurisdiction, file a Member Credit Request to seek approval for your individual attendance.
"Electronic" Education (e.g. online; CDs; audio/ videotapes) • Not verified
 - Self-study

• Verified - Participatory
Self-Assessment Tests Self-study
Law School Classes
(attending & teaching)
Participatory Activity is automatically approved if it meets the criteria in the MCLE Rules and Regulations. (No other approval is required.)
Writing Published Legal Materials Self-study

 

Type of Credit

Participatory vs. Self-Study Credit

The MCLE rules specify that some types of activities qualify only for self-study credit. Other kinds of activities can qualify for either participatory or self-study credit, depending on whether or not the particular activity is verified by a provider.

If a provider verifies your "participation," an activity is "participatory." Provider verification consists of the following:

  • the provider has you sign in at the time of the activity (electronic sign-in is acceptable),
  • the provider keeps a list of those who sign in, and
  • the provider issues a certificate of attendance to attendees.

Online courses, CD ROM-based courses, and some tape-based courses can count for participatory credit if they are verified by an approved provider. If unsure, contact the individual provider to verify that the program has been approved for participatory credit.

To confirm a tape or other self-study activity is still current, contact the Provider.

For more information, go to Education FAQ

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Types of Activities

Live Education [Rule 2.80] [Rule 2.81] [participatory]

Panel discussions, question-and-answer periods and in-house education where the teacher is physically in the room with the attendees. [Rule 2.80]

Speaking in approved education activities. [Rule 2.81]

A speaker at a CLE activity may claim actual speaking time multiplied by four for the first presentation. For repeat presentations, the speaker may only claim actual speaking time. [Rule 2.81(A)]

A panelist may claim scheduled speaking time multiplied by four, plus the actual time spent in attendance at the remainder of the presentation; or if speaking time is not scheduled, divide the total time of the activity by the number of panelists to determine speaking time. For repeat presentations, the panelist may claim only actual speaking time, plus the actual time spent in attendance at the remainder of the presentation. [Rule 2.81(B)]

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Electronic Education [Rule 2.80; Rule 2.83] [self-study or participatory, depends on provider verification]

Electronic recordings of approved activities & approved electronic activities:

  • Activities transmitted by satellite, television, radio or other broadcast
  • Interactive instruction via video or internet
  • Audiotape
  • Videotape
  • CD-Rom or CD
  • Streaming video
  • Internet audio
  • other media

Go to the State Bar Online CLE catalog of courses for online education courses sponsored by the Sections of the State Bar.

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Self-Assessment [Rule 2.83(B)] [self-study]

Go to California Bar Journal MCLE on the Web for the State Bar's online self-assessment tests.

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Law School Classes [Attending - Rule 2.80; Teaching - Rule 2.82] [participatory]

Approval Criteria:

  • A law school does not have to be an approved provider.  
  • A law school does not have to be accredited.  
  • A class must be a regularly scheduled degree-related course.

Attending

  • Attendees must officially register for and satisfactorily complete the class.
  • Obtaining an LLM degree falls into the category of a law school class.

Calculating Credit: One hour of credit may be claimed for each hour you actually attend. [Rule 2.51(D)]

Teaching

Calculating Credit:

Credit hours for teaching a law school class can be computed by multiplying the number of units granted by the law school for completion of the class by 12. (Example: 24 hours of credit may be claimed for teaching a two-unit law school class.)

An attorney teaching a law school class that begins before the current compliance period may claim pro rata credit based on the percentage of the hours taught in the current compliance period.

An attorney who teaches a law school class and engages a guest lecturer or substitute teacher for one or more individual meetings or sessions of the class, qualifies for MCLE credit for teaching the entire class.

Credit hours for a guest lecturer or a substitute teacher in a law school class are computed by multiplying actual speaking time by four. (Note: Moot court judging does not count for credit.)

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Writing Published Legal Materials [Rule 2.83(C)] [self-study]

Preparing (as an author or co-author) written materials published or accepted for publication, which contribute to the legal education of the author member is acceptable (e.g., articles, chapters, books which were not prepared in the ordinary course of the member's practice or employment or to accompany speaking in an approved education activity).

Approval Criteria:

  • An article on a legal subject for a non-legal publication may qualify for MCLE credit.
  • Written materials prepared by a speaker for an approved education activity cannot be claimed under Rule 2.83(C). They are considered part of preparation for speaking/teaching and are included in the formula for calculating credit hours for speaking/teaching. Credit can be claimed only by the person who actually speaks or teaches the activity. (See Rule 2.81)

Calculating Credit:  An attorney may count the self-study credit for the preparation of written materials in the compliance period in which either the materials are published or the attorney received written notice that the materials have been accepted for publication. An attorney may claim one hour of self-study credit for each hour spent preparing written materials.

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Education Activities that Cannot be Approved for Credit

MCLE credit is not available for the following activities:

  • Grading the California bar examination.
  • Preparing for or taking a bar exam for admission in any jurisdiction [Rule 2.87].
  • Acting as a judge pro temporare, mediator, arbitrator or settlement judge.
  • An attorney acting as a Supervising Attorney in the State Bar Law Office Study Program, pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6060(e)(3)(ii), may not claim credit for that activity.
  • A situation in which the legal work of associates and other less experienced attorneys is reviewed and evaluated one-on-one by more experienced attorneys (for example, a mentor program) does not constitute an organized program of learning for which MCLE credit may be claimed.
  • Judging moot court competitions.
  • Except for law school courses, education activities on legal topics presented to non-lawyers are not continuing legal education activities for which MCLE credit can be obtained. You cannot receive credit for:
    1. teaching a course on business law at a community college or a university
    2. Reading (e.g., advance sheets, books, articles)
  • Correspondence courses.
  • General computer, acting and writing courses that are not specifically directed to legal applications.

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