Big changes are coming to MCLE require- ments, making them more flexible and easier to tailor to a lawyer’s specific needs. The result of a year-long WSBA task force, the new APR 11 was adopted by the Supreme Court on April 2, 2015, and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The New Rule
The new MCLE rule allows greater flexibility in both format and content. The biggest change is elimination of the “live” credits requirement. There are three reasons for the change. First is the increased
availability and quality of prerecorded web offerings. Gone are the
scratchy cassette tapes that were difficult to listen to and required
special equipment. Now a lawyer can access quality programs from
a large array of providers without ever leaving her desk. The second
reason is cost. The task force heard again and again from practitioners that the live requirement substantially increased their costs because live programs tend to take place in Seattle, Spokane, or Tacoma,
and impose costs for gas, parking, and sometimes hotels. Finally, being able to view CLEs “on demand” should help lawyers better tailor
courses to their needs. CLEs will no longer conflict with depositions,
trials, or client meetings. Eliminating the live requirement means no
lawyer should have to take a course she is not interested in simply
because it is offered at the right time or at the right price.
Some current CLE providers argued against the change in the requirements on the grounds that live programs offer lawyers a chance
to network and socialize. Live programs do this, but lawyers who
highly value these networking opportunities are still free to attend
live seminars. And the best live programs will likely be recorded and
MCLE Tailored for You
by Michele G. Radosevich
available to more lawyers.
Lawyers will also have more course
options under the new APR 11. As in the
old rules, a lawyer will be required to
get 45 credits in the three-year reporting period, including six ethics credits,
but more subjects will qualify for credit.
Lawyers will be required to get at least
15 credits per period in substantive law
and/or legal procedure. These are the
classes that have always carried CLE
credit — black letter law and skills training. In addition, lawyers will be required
to get six ethics credits just as they do
currently. But the other 24 credits each
period can be earned through a variety
of course subjects and activities.
Newly Approved Course
Professional development. These are
subjects that enhance or develop a
lawyer’s professional skills including
effective lawyering, leadership, career
development, communication, and presentation skills.
Personal development and mental ©IS