Continuing legal education, more commonly referred to as CLE, involves the professional education of a lawyer that happens after their admission to the bar. While this may not be the case in every state, many U.S. states require CLE participation in order for them to maintain the status of their license to practice law. What you should know, however, is that CLE accreditation is awarded on a state by state basis. Therefore, you cannot simply work towards a nationwide accreditation, as the state supreme courts run CLE programs.
Lawyers in the state of California should know that California CLE courses are mandatory. There are a few things that you should know prior to taking California CLE courses. First of all, you should know that CLE credit typically has a preset number of hours that are required over a period a time. Every state differs in this requirement, so you should research the requirements for the state in which you practice. You should also know that these hours may correspond to special topics, such as ethics or diversity training. For example, California cle courses require a total of 25 credit hours, of which six hours of specialty topics are required: ethics, substance abuse or mental illness that may impair professional competence, and elimination of bias. In addition, California CLE courses require that these credit hours are completed in a period of three years.
Once the compliance period has come to a close, the State Bar will send compliance cards to the lawyers who must comply in that given year. After receiving your compliance card, you will have the option of reporting your attendance online or on paper. By fulfilling the requirements and completing the required California CLE courses, you will be maintaining your license to practice law in the state of California.