California Bar Journal
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MCLE committee report expected within a year
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Former State Bar President David Heilbron is chairing a 12-member commission to assess the bar's mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) program. Current bar President Raymond C. Marshall said the commission will examine all aspects of the controversial program, which has become a focus of discontent among many California attorneys. The group will look at the types of courses offered, the number of hours required and other states' requirements. It is expected to schedule hearings to receive testimony from attorneys and members of the public.

Marshall said he expects the group to report back to the board of governors in nine to 12 months, when "it will issue recommendations that could include keeping MCLE intact, implementing modifications or even elimination. All options are open to them."

The Supreme Court currently has under submission a case challenging the constitutionality of exemptions to the program. In addition, legislation now pending in the Assembly reduces the number of required hours from 36 to 25 over three years and eliminates all special requirements with the exception of four hours in ethics instruction.

Other members of the commission are:

Jane Cardoza, judge, Fresno County Superior Court; Gaily Dryden of Carmel, newly elected president of the League of Women Voters of California; John Dunleavy of Redwood City, executive director of the California CPA Education Foundation; Patricia Gomez, a sole practitioner from San Luis Obispo; Donald S. Gray, president of the Orange County Bar Association and general counsel of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.; Mary Kay Kane, dean of Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco; Jonathan Shapiro, chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante; Robert Van Nest, a commercial litigator with the San Francisco firm of Keker & Van Nest; Matthew N. White, a member of the board of directors of the Marin County Bar Association and former chair of the bar's continuing education committee; Claudia Wilken, judge, U.S. District Court, northern district, Oakland; and Kalman Zempleny, director of legal services programs at the Rutter Group.