Washington attorneys can expect some changes to their MCLE requirement starting in 2016. The new MCLE Rule (APR 11) that takes effect on January 1, 2016, gives Washington attorneys much more flexibility when completing their mandatory Washington MCLE requirement.
The main change taking effect in 2016 is that the “live” credit requirement will be completely eliminated. That means that Washington attorneys will be able to complete all 45 required credit hours via online and downloadable CLE courses. This gives Washington attorneys much greater flexibility when completing the Washington MCLE requirement and allows them to take all of their CLE courses online and offline on their own schedule from the comfort of their home or office.
In addition, the categories of Washington CLE credit will be expanded starting in 2016. Washington attorneys will be able to take advantage of new MCLE approved course subjects and activities to address important topics like:
• Office management
• Lawyer-client Issues
• Stress Management
• Personal & Professional Development
To accomplish this, there will be three total categories of Washington MCLE credits starting in 2016: Law & Legal Procedure (black letter law), Professional Responsibility (ethics) and “Other.” Of the 45 CLE credit hours required every three years, lawyers will be required to earn a minimum of 15 law and legal procedure credits and 6 ethics credits.
The Washington State Supreme Court has already approved this new MCLE rule and it becomes effective January 1, 2016. The 2013-2015 CLE reporting group will need to meet the current continuing education requirements. The 2014-2016 CLE reporting group will be the first group that will be subject to the new Washington MCLE requirement.