California has been auditing the CLE compliance records of its lawyers and has found that 15% couldn't prove that they were in compliance. About two dozen lawyers have been referred for discipline. Here's the new letter from the State Bar president to the heads of the local bar associations:
April 13, 2012 Re: MCLE auditing compliance
Dear Voluntary Bar Association Leaders:
I am writing to alert you that the State Bar is taking a more aggressive approach to auditing MCLE compliance than it has historically. All California lawyers need to be aware of this change in the Bar’s MCLE auditing process.
The result of the State Bar’s recent 2011 MCLE audit of one percent or 635 lawyers has confirmed the need for increased auditing. Of the 635 audited attorneys, 539 provided the necessary documentation showing full compliance. Of the remaining 96 attorneys, five have been suspended due to their inability to show any compliance. Most of the remaining 91 attorneys had minor reporting deficiencies and received a cautionary letter from our MCLE compliance group about future compliance. Approximately 25 of the 91 are being referred to the Office to Chief Trial Counsel for disciplinary action. Using simple math, we see that 15% of this reporting group were not in compliance.
This result is troubling and reaffirms the action being taken by the State Bar. In 2012, California attorneys can expect that five percent or roughly 3,000-4,000 lawyers to be audited. In 2013, the goal is to audit 10% which translates to 7,000-8,000 lawyers. Letters requesting proof of compliance for 2012 will be mailed in June.
The message is clear. California lawyers must fulfill and accurately document and report their MCLE requirements. No California attorney should be surprised if their compliance certificate is audited. For more information regarding MCLE requirements and reporting, visit the State Bar’s MCLE web page.
If you have any questions, please send an email to Carol Madeja, Managing Director of Bar Relations Outreach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank for your attention to this issue.
Jon B. Streeter President The State Bar of California