An appellate court turned back another challenge to
the State Bars minimum continuing legal education requirements, saying its hands
were tied by a Supreme Court ruling that MCLE is constitutional.
The First District Court of Appeal said last month it is bound by the
California Supreme Courts decision in Warden v. State Bar, which last year upheld
the constitutionality of the MCLE requirements.
Although we previously issued an opinion in Warden in which we
agreed with the well-reasoned criticism of the dissenting opinions . . . we are now bound
by the decision of the majority of our high court to affirm the judgment in favor of the
State Bar, wrote Justice Lawrence Stevens.
Oakland attorney Mark Greenberg and two other lawyers challenged the
MCLE requirements in a lawsuit filed in 1991. Part of the case (a challenge to the
exemptions) became moot with the Warden ruling, but the plaintiffs moved forward with
arguments that the requirements violate attorneys First Amendment rights.
But the justices said Warden required them to reject Greenbergs
assertion that California lawyers are improperly forced to attend classes which are not
germane to the legal profession.
The majority, and even the dissenters, in Warden apparently
agreed that the MCLE program requirements were rationally related to the consumer
protection goals of the legislation, the needs of [the] legal profession, and legal
practitioners professional role within that system, Stevens wrote.
said he was disappointed but not surprised by the ruling. He will petition for rehearing
and, if denied, will appeal to the Supreme