MCLE Compliance Deadline Is Approaching: Free and Cheap Solutions

By William Peacock, Esq. on January 23, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Anyone care to help a brotha out with some free or cheap MCLEs?

For us Californians with N-Z monikers, we have less than two weeks to stuff in 25 MCLE credits (less if you were admitted after 2/1/11 or inactive), which basically means we have another week before we'll actually get started on our CLE binging.

If you're like me, you (a) haven't started and (b) are not looking forward to paying hundreds of dollars in dues, plus student loan payments, plus the cost of MCLES.

Let's see what we can do about that, shall we?

Can I Get Out of This?

Trust me, I tried. You can't.

You can, however, do it late, if you want to pay a $75 late fee. Or you can lie on your self-reporting form, but if you lie, you'll probably get bench-slapped by the State Bar when, thanks to Murphy's Law, they randomly audit you.

But, there is hope. You can have your MCLE credit total cut down if you were admitted after 2/1/11, or if you were inactive. The state bar has a proportional requirement table for calculating any reductions.

Which MCLEs?

Out of the 25, here is your requirements checklist:

  • 12.5 credits must be participatory (where you do a quiz at the end to make sure you didn't sleep through the video);
  • 4 credits have to cover ethics;
  • 1 credit has to cover prevention, detection, or treatment of substance abuse or mental illness; and
  • 1 credit has to cover elimination of bias in the legal profession.

The totals for participatory and ethics credits vary if you have a reduced total requirement. Participatory should be half of your total, and the ethics total is adjusted in the proportional requirement table.

Are They Free?

If you don't mind some of the most mundane topics imaginable (service of process!), then yes, there are a few freebies out there; though so far, I haven't been able to find enough to cover the full requirement. The ABA and local bar associations often offer freebies as well, though for last-minute binging, that might not be an option.

Here is one resource for free MCLEs (we don't vouch for quality, just that they appear to be free): Legislative Intent ServiceThese are sure to be mind-numbing, but are Cal Bar approved for you Golden State attorneys. I mean, 1968 California Public Records Act anyone?

LexVid also offers 1 hour of free CLE, which you recieve when you sign up. Their catalog covers a variety of practice areas (you might learn something useful!) but the free offering is limited to one hour. (Packages are available for a range of prices.)

That's it. Every other search result that I ran across was either dead, spammy, or dead. If you have any suggestions for freebies, tweet us @FindLawLP.

How About Cheap?

I queried my social networks for their suggestions and received this lead: Attorney Credits is running an $84.99 special on their site for all 25 credits. A friend described Attorney Credits as "painless."

A quick Google check comes up with even cheaper options. Just be sure to double-check that the provider is state-approved before signing up.

Editor's Note, October 14, 2015: This post was first published January 2014; it has since been updated to clarify available CLE resources and to fix outdated links.

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