Mandatory Continuing Legal Education

Leonard C. Heath Jr., 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 Virginia Supreme Court. In addition to the chair, members for fiscal year 2017 included, George W. Watkins of Waynesboro, Vice Chair, Darius K. A. Davenport, Sr. of Suffolk, Afshin Farashahi of Virginia Beach, Lori Beth Galbraith of Chesapeake, Zachary A. Kitts of Fairfax, Victoria N. Pearson of Richmond, Kimberly A. Pierro of Mechanicsville, Christine L. Poarch of Salem, Cynthia M. Radomsky of Fairfax, Liza S. Simmons of Richmond, and Lorrie A. Sinclair of Leesburg.

The Board meets seven times per year at the VSB’s Richmond office to, among other things, consider course-approval applications, requests for extensions and waivers, and other matters integrally related to the MCLE process in Virginia.  The VSB’s MCLE department provides daily administration of the MCLE requirements for the Board. Over the last reporting cycle, the MCLE staff and Board considered the following: 21,395 course approvals, 59 waiver and extension requests and approximately 163,011 certifications of attendance. Usage by attorneys of the online MCLE certification feature continues to increase and enables attorneys to post the majority of their certifications of attendance directly to MCLE record and view current MCLE record 24/7, saving time, money and effort for both our members and the MCLE department. For the 2016 MCLE compliance year over 75% of the course attendance was certified by the members online.  Two hundred thirty-eight (238) members have taken advantage of the iPhone app for connecting to the member login portal.

Over the last reporting cycle, the Board continued to study the topics of diversity and bias in the legal profession to determine (1) if alternative approval standards are warranted and, if so, (2) what modifications should be recommended.  The Board continued to study and draft changes to Opinion 16 Distance Learning Programs to allow for new gaming formats.  Opinion 14 Written Materials was amended and published for public comment. The Board will consider the comments for possible final amendments in the coming year.

At the beginning of this year we welcomed new member, Victoria N. Pearson of Richmond, to the Board.  At the close of the year, three of our members completed their service on the Board:  Afshin Farashahi, Cynthia M. Radomsky, and Lorrie A. Sinclair.  The Board will miss their insight and dedication to the profession.  As this year closes, I want to thank George Watkins for his fine service on the Board as member and Vice Chair and his willingness to serve the Board next year as Chair. 

As always, the MCLE staff, directed by Gale M. Cartwright, ensures that the MCLE process runs smoothly for both the MCLE Board and the membership of the Virginia State Bar.  The staff conscientiously provides institutional memory for the MCLE Board, even as members of the MCLE Board come and go over time.  I want to thank the staff for their good work throughout this year.  I especially want to thank Ms. Cartwright for her tireless efforts and her daily oversight of the MCLE process throughout the Commonwealth and her sage advice to the Board.  Finally, the MCLE Board is grateful for the assistance of the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, Karen Gould, who also provided continued guidance to the Board.

Updated: May 31, 2018