California has always been a self-reporting MCLE state. This means that neither MCLE providers nor California attorneys report their completed CLE hours to the State Bar of California. Under the current MCLE Rules, California attorneys are only required to report compliance with the overall MCLE requirement every three years.
However, change is on the horizon. The State Bar of California has asked Attorney Credits and selected other MCLE providers to take part in a pilot program. Under this trial program, MCLE providers will be reporting each course that California attorneys complete directly to the State Bar of California. While California will remain a self-reporting state for the near future, mandatory MCLE provider reporting may be required as early as 2017.
Why this push for mandatory provider reporting? Look no further than the recent Cal Bar push to increase MCLE audits over the last three years. Over 10,000 California attorneys have been audited in this period and the Cal Bar has discovered that many attorneys do not properly complete the California MCLE requirement. Due to the high number of audits, the Cal Bar has been forced to expend thousands of hours to conduct investigations and render disciplinary action. In fact, a number of lawyers have been disbarred for being dishonest about completing their California MCLE requirements.
A move to mandatory MCLE Provider reporting in California will benefit attorneys, CLE providers and the Cal Bar. California attorneys will have an easier time remaining MCLE compliant because they will be able to check their completed hours on their My State Bar Profile webpage. And this will save CLE Providers and the State Bar of California precious time and money because there will no longer be a need to audit thousands of attorneys.