[Note: As of January 1, 2016, new CA rules have been designated regarding MCLE requirements for LDAs]
Paralegals who work under the supervision of an attorney are required to certify completion of a total of eight hours of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) under Business and Professions Code section 6450(d).
Section 6450(d) states:
“any person that is working as a paralegal shall be required to certify completion of four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in legal ethics and four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in either general law or in an area of specialized law. All continuing legal education courses shall meet the requirements of Section 6070. Certification of these continuing education requirements shall be made with the paralegal’s supervising attorney. The paralegal shall be responsible for keeping a record of the paralegal’s certifications.”
Interestingly enough, pursuant to subdivision (e) of section 6450, Legal Document Assistants (who are not working under the supervision of an attorney) are not required to certify completion of the MCLE requirements.
Business and Professions Code section 6450(e) states:
“A paralegal does not include a nonlawyer who provides legal services directly to members of the public, or a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant as defined in Section 6400, unless the person is a person described in subdivision (a).”
However, members of the California Association of Legal Document Assistants (CALDA) are required to participate in 15 units of mandatory continuing legal education every two years. Five of those hours, should include continuing education in the subject of legal ethics and/or the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL).
What are some of the types of activities that are eligible for credit for Legal Document Assistants?
- Attendance at classes, workshops, conferences, webinars and seminars
- Attending Chapter Meetings
- Speaking Engagements (includes teaching and guest lecturing)
- Publishing Articles
- Purchasing Self-Help Materials, computer programs and books
- Subscribing to legal periodicals and magazines
How do I show compliance with meeting the requirements?
The legal document assistant shall be responsible for keeping a record of their certifications. CALDA has a downloadable Continuing Education Log that allows you to track your activities. When its time to renew your CALDA membership, you will be asked to sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, indicating that you are in compliance with CALDA’s continuing education requirements.
(More information is available on CALDA’s website. You may need to log in through the Member Login section to access the information.)
In Summary, Legal Document Assistants are not necessarily required to obtain mandatory continuing legal education, especially if they are not a member of CALDA, or working directly under the supervision of an attorney. Nonetheless, Legal document Assistants should participate in various forms of activities so that they can remain knowledgeable in the field that they are in.
About The Author: My name is Elizabeth Olvera, I have been a CALDA member since April 2014. I am a paralegal and a Legal Document Assistant registered in San Francisco. This article is for informational purposes and not to be construed as legal advice or as promoting any products or services. I appreciate any feedback, comments, and please like my Facebook Page. Thanks in advance!