MCLE: What Do You Think?

Group of people standing outside

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, or MCLE, can be a controversial issue amongst members of the Bar, as was discovered by a recent task force appointed by the

Board of Governors to study the topic.

After much discussion and spirited debate, the MCLE task force issued its report and recommendations, which included a complete rewrite of APR 11 and accompanying regulations. The Board of Governors approved the recommendations and submitted them to the Washington Supreme Court for consideration. Now, the Court wants to know what you think about the proposed rewrite of APR 11.

Here are a few highlights of changes that would occur if the Court adopts the amendments:

  • There would be no “live” course requirement.
  • A lawyer would need to earn at least 15 credits in the “law and legal procedure” subject area (this is the traditional “black letter” law CLE).
  • A lawyer would still need to earn at least six ethics credits.
  • The rest of the 45 credits could be earned in any of the seven approved subject areas (see proposed APR 11(f)).
  • Other approved activities for earning credits beyond the 21 required in CLE courses, such as teaching CLE, pro bono, or legal writing, would remain; however, there would be no caps or complicated prerequisites (see proposed APR 11(e)).
  • Mentoring would be a new approved activity.
  • All sponsors or providers of CLE courses would be required to apply for approval of their courses no later than 15 days prior to the start of the course (this gets it in the course database, so you know about it in advance of the event).

There is much more to read about on the Courts website. If you have an opinion, the deadline for comments is Feb. 7, 2015.  Comments may be sent to the Washington Supreme Court at the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, WA 98504-0929, or (comments submitted by email may not exceed 1,500 words).