Proposed amendments to MCLE Opinion #13

concerning standards for approval for legal ethics credit as they apply to programs or components relating to rules of procedure, rules of evidence and litigation tactics

The MCLE Board solicits comment from members regarding proposed amendments to MCLE Opinion #13 concerning standards for approval for legal ethics credit as they apply to programs or components relating to rules of procedure, rules of evidence and litigation tactics. The MCLE board will receive any input or comments to the address below through July 30, 2009 for consideration at its August meeting.

MCLE BOARD
707 East Main Street
Suite 1500
Richmond, VA 23219
or Cartwright@vsb.org

MCLE OPINION #13 - LEGAL ETHICS


The Virginia Supreme Court has required by Rule of Court that each active member of the Virginia State Bar complete a certain minimum amount of continuing legal education "in the area of legal ethics or professionalism." MCLE Regulations provide that an approved course or program may provide credit toward this requirement by addressing "topics embraced in recognized formulations of rules of professional conduct or codes of professional responsibility applicable to attorneys." The board has encountered instances where it has received applications for approval of ethics credits for topics which do not objectively pertain to or specifically address rules of professional conduct or codes of professional responsibility specifically applicable to attorneys.

The following are examples of some of the topics and types of courses which DO NOT qualify for ethics credits:

* * * *

Rules of Procedure, Rules of Evidence and Litigation Tactics

Programs or components which focus on rules of procedure or, rules of evidence or substantive areas of the law, such as attorney/client privilege and the work product doctrine, unless the focus of the programs or components also provides a substantial treatment of applicable rules of professional conduct or codes of professional responsibility. In particular, malpractice prevention programs or components which focus primarily on malpractice litigation, tactics, or strategy will not be approved for ethics credit.

Programs or components devoted to or including these topics may meet the requirements for general MCLE credit. The board is of the opinion that such topics do not fulfill the requirement for continuing legal education in the area of legal ethics or professionalism. The board will therefore not assign ethics credits to such topics.

Updated: Apr 16, 2009