Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board

Michael L. Davis, chair

The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Board administers the program that was established by the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1985. The rules governing the MCLE program were amended in 1990 to require all active members of the Virginia State Bar to complete a minimum of twelve hours of approved continuing legal education courses, including two hours of ethics or professionalism, each fiscal year.

The MCLE Board consists of twelve members appointed by the Supreme Court. Members for fiscal 2009 included Vice Chair Paula Steinhilber Beran of Richmond, Raymond B. Benzinger of Arlington, Timothy C. Carwile of Waynesboro, Craig Alexander Anthony Dixon of Smithfield, Jacqueline May Ford of Richmond, Alan Stuart Goldberg of McLean, Michael Lawrence Goodman of Glen Allen, Helen Eckert Phillips of Grundy and Melinda Laverne VanLowe of McLean.

The VSB’s MCLE department administers the MCLE requirements for the board. The board meets seven times per year at the VSB’s Richmond office to consider course-approval applications. Over the last reporting cycle, the MCLE staff and board have considered the following: 18,500 course approvals, 56 waiver and extension requests, and more than 114,800 certificates of attendance.  Of these certificates of attendance approximately 60,000 were posted directly to the MCLE records by the members using the new website feature that was unveiled in June, 2008. This online feature enables attorneys to post the majority of their certifications of attendance directly to their MCLE record and view their current MCLE record 24/7. Usage of this feature has been successful and continues to increase, saving time, money and effort for both our members and the MCLE department.

Two years ago, the board determined that with the advances in technology and the information and statistics available since their approval of distance learning programs that a review of the issues affecting MCLE should be reviewed for possible re-evaluation of their current policy.  In 2009, a proposed change which would require some attendance at live interactive programs was tentatively approved. The board approved amendments to the MCLE Regulations to include an eight-hour limitation on pre-recorded programs and to better reflect current standards and topics for course approval, sponsor obligations and attorney compliance requirements. The limitation on pre-recorded programs will be effective with the 2012 MCLE compliance year beginning November 1, 2011.

As my term on the board is ending I wish well the new officers Paula Beran Chair, Michael Goodman, Vice Chair and new members Leonard C. Heath of Newport News and Carole Yeatts Timberlake of Richmond as they continue the good work of the MCLE Board.

The MCLE staff, directed by Gale M. Cartwright, continues to work diligently to perform their many responsibilities. On behalf of the MCLE Board, I thank the staff for their conscientious work and dedication in helping lawyers discharge their obligation to provide competent representation of clients.

Updated: Jun 23, 2011