Hawaii Attorneys Continuing Legal Education

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A new rule governing Hawaii attorneys was adopted this year. This rule provides that starting from January 1, 2010, all active members of the Hawaii Bar are required to complete at least 3 credit hours of approved Mandatory Continuing Professional Education (MCPE) each calendar year. The rule governing mandatory MCPE credits in Hawaii is Rule 22 of the Rules of Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii. Rule 22 also encourages that attorneys complete 9 or more credit hours per years of approved Voluntary Continuing Legal Education (VCLE). Attorneys are required to certify and report the completion of their MCPE and VCLE credits annually. To fulfill their MCPE and VCLE credits, attorneys may attend “[c]ourses and activities sponsored by the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) or the American Bar Association, and classified by the HSBA as MCPE or VCLE.” Supreme Court Rule 22(f). Alternative means for Hawaii attorneys to meet their MCLE and/or VCLE credits are provided for in Rule 22(e) and are also subject to HSBA approval.

Comment to Rule 22 reveals the intent behind adopting this rule and provides as follows:

Continuing professional and legal education contributes to lawyer competence and benefits the public and the legal profession by assuring that attorneys remain current regarding the law, the obligations and standards of the profession, and the management of their practices. Voluntary continuing legal education is valuable to lawyers and attendance at courses is encouraged. These new rules are expected to result in a substantial increase in course attendance and participation in activities that earn MCPE and VCLE credit, with resulting enhancement of lawyer services to clients.

Comment to Supreme Court Rule 22.

For more information concerning this new rule, one could view the Hawaii State Bar Association website at http://www.hsba.org/MCLE.aspx.