Please click on the following questions to be led to an answer below. Thank you for visiting the MCLE Frequently Asked Questions Page!

1. When did the new Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements take effect?

2. Is Hawaii's CLE credit based on a 50-minute hour or a 60 minute hour?

3. What does MCPE and VCLE consist of?

4. What activities qualify for MCPE credit?

5. How many credits do I earn for teaching an approved for credit course?

6. How do I report to the Bar the total number of MCPE and VCLE credits I completed during the calendar year?

7. How long must I keep my certificates of completion/attendance?

8. If I earn more than 3 MCPE credits in a calendar year may I carry the excess forward into the next year?

9. I am an active member of another state's Bar that also has a mandatory CLE credit requirement. Can those credits be used to satisfy Hawaii's MCPE credit requirement?

10. What if I have not earned 3 credit hours of MCPE during the calendar year?

11. Can I continue to practice law if I did not complete my annual 3 MCPE credit requirement?

12. What must I do to be reinstated to active status with the Bar, once I am administratively suspended?

13. If I will be earning MCPE "catch up" credits this year to fulfill my requirement from last year, can I use these "catch up" credits towards my requirement this year?

14. The HSBA has suspended me for not completing my MCPE requirement or reporting my MCPE/VCLE credit hours for the calendar year. Is there a review or appeal process?

15. I was reinstated to active status, what are my MCPE requirements?

16. Does the annual MCPE credit requirement apply to full-time judges?

17. If a judge retires or resigns from the bench and returns to active status, does the MCPE requirement apply to them that year?

18. I am a newly admitted member of the Bar electing active status, must I comply with the MCPE requirement this year?

19. I passed the Bar not long ago and initially chose inactive status, but now will change my membership to active status. What are my MCPE requirements?

20. I am an inactive member now electing active status. What are my MCPE requirements?

21. What is the HSBA doing to help members meet their MCPE requirement?

1. When did the new Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements take effect?

• Rule 22 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii (RSCH) took effect on January 1, 2010. Rule 22 requires that active members of the Bar complete at least 3 credit hours of Mandatory Continuing Professional Education (MCPE) and encourages completion of at least 9 credit hours of Voluntary Continuing Legal Education (VCLE) during each calendar year.

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2. Is Hawaii's CLE credit based on a 50-minute hour or a 60 minute hour?

• Hawaii is a 60-minute state.

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3. What does MCPE and VCLE consist of?

• MCPE credits are continuing legal education credits given for courses/programs/seminars that cover a certain number of qualifying professional education topics according to RSCH Rule 22(a). These include:

a. Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct
b. Legal ethics and related topics
c. Law office management
d. Client trust account management
e. Bias awareness and prevention
f. Access to Justice
g. Case and client management
h. Malpractice insurance and prevention
i. Combinations of any of the above

• VCLE credits are continuing legal education credits given for all other courses/programs/seminars as long as the activity is an organized program of learning with significant intellectual or practical content and deals with matters directly related to the practice of law.

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4. What activities qualify for MCPE credit?

• Qualifying activities include:

a. Attending or preparing for and teaching approved MCPE courses
b. Conducting approved presentations in-house, for Inns of Court, Bar Sections, professional legal organizations, etc.
c. Studying approved audio, video, webcasts, or other technology delivered professional education courses
d. Other HSBA approved activities.

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5. How many credits do I earn for teaching an approved for credit course?

• You may earn 2 credit hours of preparation time for each credit hour spent on teaching. In other words, you may claim 3 credit hours for preparing and teaching a 1 hour course. If the course was approved for MCPE, all 3 credits will be MCPE credits. If the course was approved for VCLE, all 3 credits will be VCLE credits.

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6. How do I report to the Bar the total number of MCPE and VCLE credits I completed during the calendar year?

• Active members of the Bar must certify on the annual registration and renewal statement that they have completed at least 3 credit hours of MCPE and report the number of VCLE credit hours completed.

• Each attorney should keep a proper record and keep certificate(s) of completion/attendance in a safe place to submit to the HSBA upon request.

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7. How long must I keep my certificates of completion/attendance?

• You are required to keep certificates of completion/attendance for two years. Your credits may be subject to audit by the HSBA, and you may be required to submit your certificate(s) of completion/attendance.

8. If I earn more than 3 MCPE credits in a calendar year may I carry the excess forward into the next year?

• Yes, you may carry forward a maximum of 3 credit hours from the year immediately preceding the current reporting year.

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9. I am an active member of another state's Bar that also has a mandatory CLE credit requirement. Can those credits be used to satisfy Hawaii’s MCPE credit requirement?

• Yes, in the following ways (exceptions may apply):

a. Professionalism or ethics credits approved by an
Approved Jurisdiction (a list of Approved Jurisdictions may be found on at hsba.org under the MCLE tab) may translate to Hawaii as MCPE credit to help satisfy the annual requirement. Be prepared to report:

1) The Approved Jurisdiction that approved the credits for your program
2) The amount of credits earned (CLE/general credits are translated to VCLE credits in Hawaii and ethics/professionalism credits are translated to MCPE credits in Hawaii) and
3) A copy of the certificate of completion/ attendance you received, if/when you are asked to submit proof of credit.

b. Professionalism and ethics credits from courses/programs/seminars taken from preapproved Accredited Providers. (A list of Accredited Providers may be found at hsba.org under the MCLE tab.)

c. Members may also receive credit from courses/programs/seminars from out of state, alternate formats, and other sources to satisfy Hawaii’s MCPE requirement by obtaining approval from the HSBA MCLE Administrator and/or Board using the Attorney Application for Approval CLE packet. (May be found at
hsba.org under the MCLE tab.)

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10. What if I have not earned 3 credit hours of MCPE during the calendar year?

• You will be given notice with a short grace period to cure your noncompliance, after which you can be administratively suspended from practicing law until you fulfill your annual 3 MCPE credit hour requirement for the calendar year in question.

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11. Can I continue to practice law if I did not complete my annual 3 MCPE credit requirement?

• Maybe. You may practice law during the grace period you are given to cure your noncompliance. You will be notified of your noncompliance and grace period to comply by a courtesy email and a certified letter. The certified letter will also require you to pay a late CLE fee. You are able to practice law until you are administratively suspended or you cure the MCPE deficiency.

• However, after the deadline stated in the certified letter, your name will be given to the HSBA membership department and you will be administratively suspended. During administrative suspension, your license to practice law is no longer valid.

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12. What must I do to be reinstated to active status with the Bar, once I am administratively suspended?

• To be reinstated you must:
a. Prove that you have completed 3 MCPE credit hours by submitting a certificate(s) of attendance/completion showing at least 3 MCPE credits
b. Submit the reinstatement fee set by the HSBA and,
c. Pay all other required fees and dues.

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13. If I will be earning MCPE "catch up" credits this year to fulfill my requirement from last year, can I use these "catch up" credits towards my requirement this year?

• No. They will be used towards your unfulfilled requirement from last year. Each credit may only be used once. You must complete additional credits to fulfill your annual requirement for this year. Only excess credits from the previous year may be carried over to help fulfill requirements in the current year.

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14. The HSBA has suspended me for not completing my MCPE requirement or reporting my MCPE/VCLE credit hours for the calendar year. Is there a review or appeal process?

• Yes. You may petition the Hawaii Supreme Court for review of the HSBA's determination that you failed to complete your MCPE requirement, or that the notice of the noncompliance was issued to you erroneously. However, a petition to the Supreme Court will not stay the effective date of your suspension.

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15. I was reinstated to active status, what are my MCPE requirements?

• The MCLE Board has interpreted RSCH Rule 22(i) to apply to the election of active status from an inactive status (i.e. inactive voluntary, inactive pro-bono, suspended, etc.)

• Within 3 months of becoming reinstated to active status, you are required to complete and report to the HSBA that you have completed 3 hours of approved MCPE. Proof also requires submission of a signed MCPE Certification Form (available online at hsba.org under the MCLE tab) with the certificate of completion/attendance.

• Please note that the annual 3 MCPE credit requirement is a separate requirement and must also be completed by the end of the year.

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16. Does the annual MCPE credit requirement apply to fulltime judges?

• Full-time federal judges, magistrate judges, bankruptcy judges, U.S. Court Federal Claims judges, full time state court judges, and administrative law judges are exempt from the annual MCPE credit requirement. However, full time state judges shall report the number of approved judicial education hours attended on the judges’ annual financial disclosure form, or comply with their requirement by such other means approved by the Supreme Court.

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17. If a judge retires or resigns from the bench and returns to active status, does the MCPE requirement apply to them that year?

• Yes. The MCPE requirement applies to all active attorneys. However, judicial education credits earned that year may be applied toward the annual MCPE credit requirement.

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18. I am a newly admitted member of the Bar electing active status, must I comply with the MCPE requirement this year?

• The MCPE requirement is waived for the calendar year that you are admitted to the Bar. However, pursuant to RSCH Rule 1.14, this waiver does not modify the requirement that you must complete the Hawaii Professionalism Course mandated by the Hawaii Supreme Court no later than December 31 of the following year of election of active status.

• As an added bonus, upon completion of the Hawaii Professionalism Course you will earn 4.5 MCPE credits, 3 of which may be carried over into the next year to be used towards your annual requirement.

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19. I passed the Bar not long ago and initially chose inactive status, but now will change my membership to active status. What are my MCPE requirements?

• There are three requirements you must meet within one year of electing active status.

a. You must complete or show proof of having completed the Hawaii Professionalism Course mandated by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

b. You must complete or show proof of having completed 3 MCPE credit hours within 3 months of electing status to complete RSCH Rule 22(i) and submit certificate(s) of completion/attendance showing you have done so to the MCLE Administrator.

c. You must complete an additional 3 MCPE credit hours by the end of the calendar year to fulfill the annual 3 MCPE credits required by every active attorney.

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20. I am an inactive member now electing active status. What are my MCPE requirements?

• You are required to complete or show proof of having completed 3 MCPE credit hours within 3 months of electing active status to complete RSCH Rule 22(i), and submit proof of compliance to the MCLE administrator in the form of certificate(s) of completion/attendance showing at least 3 MCPE credits.

• You must also complete an additional 3 MCPE credit hours by the end of a calendar year to fulfill the annual 3 MCPE credits required by every active attorney.

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21. What is the HSBA doing to help members meet their MCPE requirement?

• The HSBA is committed to ensuring that members will be able to fulfill their MCPE requirement. We offer a variety of live MCPE courses, as well as convenient webcasts that can be purchased for a reasonable cost and viewed at anytime online. We also allow carryover of 3 credits from the preceding year, from other states, and from a variety of courses. We will work with you to help you meet the requirements mandated by the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii.

For questions not answered here or for more information, please contact Debbie Blanton, MCLE Administrator at
dblanton@hsba.org or 792-7348.

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