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Home > Actions on Rule Changes and Legal Ethics Opinions > amendments to Paragraph 17 MCLE Rule regarding elimination of bias topic.

Adopted | amendments to Paragraph 17 MCLE Rule regarding elimination of bias topic. Approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia August 11, 2021. Effective October 11, 2021.

Update 8/13/21:

On August 11, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia, at the request of the Virginia State Bar and Bar Council, amended Paragraph 17, Part Six, Section IV of the Rules of Court to allow elimination of bias education to count toward legal ethics or professionalism requirements for Continuing Legal Education.

View the Court's Order (PDF file)


Update: 4/29/21:
The Council approved proposed revisions to Paragraph 17 (C) to add elimination of bias as an approved CLE topic, eligible for specialized ethics/professionalism credit. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval. View the petition to the Court (PDF file)


Update 4/7/21:
Bar Council will review the proposed changes at it's meeting on April 21, 2021.


The Virginia State bar seeks public comment on a proposal to include elimination of bias as a topic for MCLE training in addition to the existing topics of ethics and professionalism.

The proposal amends Part 6, Section IV, of the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia, Paragraph 17 (C), which provides that all members of the Virginia State Bar shall annually complete and certify attendance at a minimum of 12 hours of approved CLE courses, at least two hours of which shall be in the area of legal ethics or professionalism.    

ELIMINATION OF BIAS MCLE PROPOSAL

Amend Part 6, Section IV, of the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia, Paragraph 17 (C), which provides that all members of the Virginia State Bar shall annually complete and certify attendance at a minimum of 12 hours of approved CLE courses, at least two hours of which shall be in the area of legal ethics or professionalism. The proposal would add the topic of elimination of bias to that section, so the newly amended section would read as follows:

(1) All active members of the Virginia State Bar shall annually complete and certify attendance at a minimum of twelve (12) credit hours of approved Continuing Legal Education courses of which at least two (2) hours shall be in the area of legal ethics, or professionalism or elimination of bias,

For consistency, a change to paragraph C. (2) would read:

(2) In order to provide flexibility in fulfilling the annual requirement, a one year carryover of credit hours is permitted, so that accrued credit hours in excess of one year's requirement may be carried forward from one year to meet the requirement for the next year. A member may carry forward a maximum of twelve (12) credit hours, two (2) of which, if earned in legal ethics, or professionalism or elimination of bias, may be counted toward the two (2) hours required in legal ethics, or professionalism or elimination of bias.

The final proposed change would be to the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Regulations 101 Definitions to add a subparagraph (x), which would read:

(x) “Elimination of Bias” training shall mean a training that relates to bias (race, gender, economic status, creed, color, religion, national origin, disability, age or sexual orientation) in the legal profession.  To be eligible for elimination of bias CLE credit, a program must address diversity or bias issues in the legal profession (e.g., among lawyers, in a law firm, or in the courtroom). 

 

Inspection and Comment

The proposed changes may be inspected above. Underlined text is new language and strikethrough text indicates text being removed.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed changes with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than October 2, 2020. Comments may be submitted by mail to 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026 or by email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

 

Posted: Aug 10, 2020

Updated: April 7, 2021

Updated: April 29, 2021

Updated May 21, 2021 to add the Petition to the Court

Updated Aug 13, 2021

Updated: August 13, 2021