Entertainment Lawyer Update Verification with CLE

Posted on May 12, 2018

Bar a few exceptions, all entertainment attorneys who engage in active legal practice in the state of California are required to complete an ongoing legal practice training. The requirement is commonly referred to as Continuing Legal Education (CLE). Whether you are new to the legal field or a continuing legal practitioner, this piece seeks to provide an in-depth guide to all you need to know about CLE California approved programs.

CLE Explained

Under the MCLE program, an attorney in entertainment (or any field for that matter) is required to complete at least 25 hours of ongoing legal training once every three years. The program usually covers a broad array of legal issues such as the subject of ethics, competency issues, mental health as well as substance abuse. To ensure all attorneys undergo training as scheduled, the California state bar requires these legal representatives to report their training once every three years.

Beyond the minimum CLE requirements, lawyers can also take on CLE courses as a means of broadening their legal expertise as well as keeping up with emerging issues in the legal field. Indeed, a career in law opens the door to endless opportunities that new and continuing practitioners can capitalize on. CLE offers attorneys the chance to take up new skills, keep up to date with current issues or even switch specialties within the legal field.

Questions to ask when hiring an entertainment attorney

Are your credit hours up-to-date?

All attorneys must complete a total of 25 hours of coursework as per the requirements of the state bar of California. Lawyers must earn at least 12.5 of credit hours via activities classified as participatory credit. The remaining credit hours, limited to a maximum of 12.5, can be earned through self-study programs.

For each reporting period, whether self-study or participatory credit, an attorney must complete 4 hours of ethics credit, an hour on competence issues credit and a further 1 hour on the elimination of bias for the profession credit. Credits for each program are calculated by dividing the length of the program in minutes by 60 and then rounding off to the nearest hour.

Are you a part of any compliance groups?

All attorneys are subject to membership to one of three groups each with a different reporting deadline. Placement into any of the groups is guided by the first letter of your last name. Group 1 contains members whose names span A to G, Group 2 (H-M) and group 3 (N-Z). The compliance date begins on 31st January while the deadline for reporting is on the 1st of February.

Attorneys who specialize in music rights and musicians rights are required to be updated on music use compliance with California law are fully responsible for keeping track of their CLE credits as well as reporting compliance with the state bar of California at the close of the reporting period. The music industry has many ups and downs and should be considered a business, and with any business it needs legal backing, whether forming a record label or negotiating contracts. The bar for attorneys conducts audits on a random basis to gauge whether legal representatives in the music industry are complying with the set requirements.

Approved CLE providers to check with

Get your hands on a list of all approved MCLE providers by searching on the California CLE providers’ directory listings. The ABA is another example of a pre-approved provider in California. Approved ABA live programs may include in-person meetings, live webinars, and teleconferences. If you’re an ultra-busy attorney, there’s also the option of taking your MCLE courses online. With online classes, you have the chance of fulfilling California CLE requirements at your pace rather than enduring the inconvenience of attending sit-in sessions and seminars.

Finally, there are many providers in California claiming to be CLE approved. Before you commit to taking lessons from any of them, ensure you confirm their certification as well as their reputation for tutoring continuing attorneys. Also, note that each CLE course provider will charge different hourly rates. Value for money should be top of your agenda when selecting a suitable CLE approved course provider.

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