|Good lawyers always educate themselves
conscientious attorney is going to opt to take continuing education courses voluntarily.
The attorney who has little regard for his practice or his clients will benefit from
neither mandatory or voluntary education. There will always be those few who will run
afoul of the State Bar by failing to live up to their ethical responsibilities. These
individuals are going to take the same paths whether they are subjected to mandatory or
voluntary education requirements.
David St. Peter
MCLE doesn't meet need
This is an era of more and more specialization. I happen to do exclusively probate and
estate planning. Some years there are big changes and developments in this area which
require a great deal of CLE. Other years have virtually nothing. To require a certain
number of hours in a certain number of years does not make any sense.
Peter D. Pettler
Let dual licensees go on inactive status
Prior to and at the time the MCLE program was instituted, I was actively practicing
law, keeping up with new developments and voluntarily attending those programs which I
knew would be of significance to me and my clients.
Today it has been quite a number of years since I have been an active practitioner.
Yet, I am unable to go on inactive status due to the fact that I have a real estate
license and occasionally assist my wife, an active real estate broker, in a real estate
I have requested the State Bar to change its rules which require law licensees, who
also are CPAs or real estate agents, to maintain active status, but the State Bar has
shown no interest in doing so.
Therefore, I am required to maintain my active status and attend MCLE programs. These
programs are meaningless to me and time- and money-consuming.
Martin F. Bloom
Keep MCLE, but reform it
I have no problem with the general MCLE requirement - 12 hours a year is hardly
anything, and I frankly wonder how any practicing attorney can keep his or her knowledge
current without participating regularly in some form of continuing education. I take
anywhere from 30 to 60 hours of classes each year in order to keep current in my area of
the law, and that doesn't count all the self-study time I put in.
Having said that, I think the system needs reform. There should be more credit given
for self-study. The "specific subject area" requirements for elimination of
bias, substance abuse/emotional distress and law practice management should all be
I am concerned that if MCLE were to be eliminated entirely, the quality and number of
continuing education courses available to us would be adversely affected. I hope MCLE can
be retained and reformed.
Malpractice is incentive enough for attorneys
Let me see if I understand the bar's position. Dues of $395 represent a reduction from
$458 in '97 and $478 in '96. But aren't those dues amounts an increase from the $77
mandated by statute? And isn't the purpose of the dues bill each year to increase the
amount from $77 to whatever the bar thinks is appropriate?
Enough already. Get the bar out of the MCLE business and do away with the MCLE
requirements. All it takes nowadays is one unsatisfactory result and the lawyer is sued by
the client. That should be incentive enough to stay current.
Aside from admissions and discipline, the bar should have no other function.
Stop whining: Laziness should not be our standard
I am tired of reading complaints and listening to the whining that the MCLE program is
unfair because some members of the bar are exempt. It seems obvious that the purpose of
MCLE is to protect the clients of practicing lawyers by keeping them up to date on the
practice of law. There are no clients to protect from retired judges, state officials and
The holding by a court of appeals that MCLE is unconstitutional on account of these
exemptions is equally ridiculous. Courts have certainly swallowed the argument that every
official action or statutory scheme must apply with perfect symmetry to every man, woman
and child - at least when it brings about the desired result.
It is a disgrace that so many lawyers work so hard at being irresponsible, selfish and
unethical. MCLE has the virtue of making everyone go back to school. Now some lawyers want
a vote on MCLE, a vote to make laziness the standard of the profession.
ALJs have bigger burden
As an administrative law judge, although required to be on inactive status by our
agency, our agency still requires a mandatory MCLE requirement of its judges of between
32-36 hours per year. In addition, we have optional training of eight to 12 hours per
year, in which most of our agency's judges participate.
Administrative law judges who complete approximately 100 hours of continuing legal
education should be exempt from any State Bar requirement.
Hon. Marcus Max Gunkel
Inexpensive bar classes over weekend were great
In order to impose MCLE requirements, the classes must be available at a reasonable
cost. In the past, I have obtained the vast majority of my MCLE credits from the State Bar
MCLE spring and fall weekends. Apparently, this spring the bar-sponsored MCLE weekend was
not offered. Has this program been terminated?
I understand there are other inexpensive ways to obtain MCLE credit, however, I have
found the bar-sponsored fall and spring weekend seminars extremely helpful.
Carl G. Ehmann
There was no spring Section Education
Institute this year because of the fallout from the fee bill veto, but there will be an
SEI in the fall in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3 in Long Beach.
Dump law practice management requirement
Why the State Bar need be concerned about how a lawyer manages his practice has
perplexed me. In addition to getting rid of the practice management requirement, I believe
that the ethics, substance abuse and elimination of bias requirements should be eliminated
as well. You are not going to remedy a person's deficiencies in these areas with a few
classroom hours of self-study tests; they are make-work.
Voluntary = motivation Mandatory = resentment
If the vast majority of attorneys support continuing education of the bar, that is the
best argument for making it voluntary rather than mandatory. The reason we so strongly
support CLE is because we are not only one of, if not the, most intelligent groups of
individuals, but we are also probably the most self-serving group.
The extreme competitiveness of our profession, our exposure to malpractice liability as
well as to career-damaging sanctions and discipline, all serve to intensely motivate us to
voluntarily educate ourselves. If this is not enough to motivate the few in our profession
who don't voluntarily continue their legal education, making it mandatory isn't going to
solve the problem and it only punishes the vast majority who willingly educate themselves.
An expensive exercise in tiptoeing for 4 hours
I am still fuming about the time I spent taking a course concerning stress/substance
abuse. We spent four hours tiptoeing around the room, with our shoes off, and had some
lady tell us how to sit in the lotus position and meditate. I flushed about $230 down the
toilet, did not relieve any stress, but spent an additional $7 for parking and about $15
for food. Make sense?
Robert H. Gonzales
Costs of doing legal business are crushing
If attorneys should be required to take MCLE, they should only have to take courses
which deal with their area of expertise. As a solo practitioner, the costs of MCLE, in
addition to State Bar dues, exorbitant student loan debts, E&O insurance, are
crushing. Most people I know who did not go to college or get a formal education are
better off financially than I am.
Joshua D. Mackenroth