Report your 36-hour Legal Specialist Education Compliance every three years during your compliance period.
Compliance Group 1: Certified Specialists now report their legal specialist education compliance along with their MCLE Compliance Group. Those whose last names began with A-G at the time of admission to the State Bar are due to report their education by Feb. 1, 2016. On a one-time basis, only attorneys in Compliance Group 1 may include courses taken over the past four years (2012-2015) towards their 36-hour requirement.
Legal Specialization Education Compliance Card - Compliance Group 1
Informational Letter describing compliance options and alternatives - Compliance Group 1
You can find a list of approved MCLE and Legal Specialization Multiple Activity Providers of legal education by accessing Provider Search. To find the specific education requirements for your specialty area, look in the Standards for that area.
What it means when an education activity is approved for legal specialization credit
The Legal Specialization program certifies attorneys as specialists in certain areas of law. Attorneys who want to become certified must complete 45 hours of education in their specialty field during the three years prior to applying for certification. Those already certified must complete and report 36 hours of education every three years along with their MCLE compliance group in order to maintain their certification. When an education activity is approved for legal specialization, it means that attorneys participating in that activity can use it to comply with the program's education requirements due to its focused content in that area of legal specialty. The eleven areas of legal specialty are: Admiralty and Maritime, Appellate, Bankruptcy, Criminal, Estate Planning,Trust and Probate, Family, Franchise and Distribution, Immigration and Nationality, Legal Malpractice, Taxation and Workers' Compensation.
Criteria for approval of education activities for certified legal specialists
See section Rule 3.114, Title 3, Division 5, Chapter 1 of the Legal Specialization Program rules. The content of the activity must be relevant to the specialty or related fields, provide a level of education required to achieve or maintain proficient practice in the specialty field (think graduate-level activities as opposed to undergraduate), and be taught by qualified experts in the field. In addition, substantive written materials must be available to the participants if the activity is more than an hour in length.
Requirements for providers of legal specialist education
See Rule 3.114, Title 3, Division 5, Chapter 1 of the Legal Specialization Rules and section 3.602 of the MCLE Provider Rules for your requirements concerning attendance records, certificates of attendance, evaluation forms, promotional materials, auditing and advertising.
Activities approved for Legal Specialization credit are also approved for MCLE credit
You do not need to apply for MCLE credit separately unless part of the course does not qualify for legal specialization credit. For example, if you want to offer credit for one or more of the MCLE required topics (legal ethics*, prevention, detection and treatment of substance abuse/mental illness, elimination of bias in the legal profession) it will not count for MCLE credit unless it has been approved separately for MCLE credit or you are an MCLE Multiple Activity Provider.
*Legal ethics may be approved for legal specialization credit IF it is specific to the area of law. If approved, attorneys may use the activity to comply with their MCLE legal ethics requirement.
To apply: Submit the following:
- Legal Specialist Education Single Activity Application
- Activity Content attachment for the specialty area for which you are seeking credit
- Supporting documents
- $75 non-refundable processing fee (please note that the application will not be processed or considered submitted unless accompanied by the filing fee)
How to get an education activity approved for legal specialization credit
Single Activity Provider (SAP) Status -- If you are a provider who has never offered an education activity for California legal specialization credit, or only have one activity that you would like to be approved for legal specialization credit, this is the type of approval you are seeking. You must have at least four separate and individual activities approved before you qualify for Multiple Activity Provider Status.
Multiple Activity Provider (MAP) Status — California Legal Specialization Multiple Activity Providers are given blanket authorization, during their approval period, to offer legal specialization credit in a designated area of law for education activities that meet the standards for approval in Rule 3.114, Title 3, Division 5, Chapter 1 of the Legal Specialization rules. Once you have been granted Multiple Activity Provider Status, you are no longer required to submit single activity applications for approval.
To qualify: In order to apply for Single Activity Provider Status, you must complete the following requirements:
- submit legal specialist education single activity applications and receive approval to offer Legal Specialization credit in the same designated area of law for at least four separate and different education activities held on four different dates; and
- grant Legal Specialization credit for all four activities within a two-year period.
Only after completion of both of these requirements may you apply for Multiple Activity Provider Status. Please note that you must have actually held the four activities, which must be different from one another, and not repeat presentations of the same program. A workshop, where the contents of the workshop vary based on the needs of the participants, is not considered a "repeat presentation," but a separate activity that requires separate approval.
Some providers do not qualify for Multiple Activity Provider Status because they present only one activity, even though they present that same activity many times during the period for which that activity is approved. Multiple Activity Provider Status is beneficial to providers who hold a number of different activities, as opposed to providers who hold a number of repeat presentations of the same activity.
If you think you may be interested in becoming a Multiple Activity Provider, it is important that you maintain copies of your Notification of Approval letters that the State Bar sends to you each time you have an individual education activity approved for credit. You will be asked to attach copies of those four letters to your application for Multiple Activity Provider Status.
To apply: Submit the following:
- Multiple Activity Provider Application
- Copies of four Activity Approval Letters held within the last two years preceding application
- $300 non-refundable processing fee (please note that the application will not be processed or considered submitted unless accompanied by the filing fee)
Approval for More Than One Area of Law: If you wish to apply for Multiple Activity Provider Status in more than one area of law, you must qualify in each area, i.e., you must have held four activities approved for Legal Specialization credit in each area of law and submit an application fee for each area.
Approval Period: Legal Specialization Multiple Activity Providers are approved for a period of up to three years ending on December 31. For example, if your application is approved in January, your approval period will be for the full three years; if it is approved in July, the approval period will be for the remainder of that year plus two full years.
Renewal of Provider Status: Your Multiple Activity Provider Status must be renewed before the expiration of the approval period. A renewal application will be sent approximately three months prior to the expiration of the approval period to the contact and address that you last provided to the State Bar.
Questions? Contact the Department of Legal Specialization at LegalSpec@calbar.ca.gov or at 415-538-2120