Why it is important to regularly comply with the MCLE requirement |
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Why it is important to regularly comply with the MCLE requirement

/ 06:00 PM June 10, 2022

The Supreme Court is giving more time for more lawyers across the country to comply with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirement. It has extended the seventh Compliance Period for another year—from an original deadline of April 15, 2022 to a new cutoff date of April 14, 2023.

As of April 2022, only about 20,000 lawyers (out of about 76,000) in the Supreme Court Law Listing have complied with the MCLE requirement in the current compliance period (2019 to 2022, now extended to 2023). The figure is lower than the 33,000 listed lawyers who complied in the sixth compliance period from 2016 to 2019. 

The deadline extension is the second move of the Supreme Court to help lawyers comply with the MCLE requirement amid the ongoing pandemic. In February 2020, it allowed the facilitation of online MCLE courses, which has opened the opportunity for lawyers to conveniently and safely comply despite the limitations brought about by periodic lockdowns, physical distancing, and other pandemic protocols that make attending physical sessions risky and more inconvenient.

The importance of MCLE compliance 

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All members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are required to complete 36 hours of continuing legal education activities (every three years) that are approved by the country’s MCLE Committee. The MCLE rule was set in October 2001 through the Bar Matter No. 850, which is aimed at keeping practicing lawyers in the country more current with the constantly evolving laws and jurisprudence. It also intends to maintain professional ethics and standards of the practice. 

ACCES MCLE

“Valid compliance is required for pleadings (litigation lawyers) and notarial commission renewal,” said Alex Canata, co-founder of ACCESS MCLE, a duly recognized institution providing MCLE courses. The rule also ensures that lawyers keep the requisite knowledge and skills to practice effectively and fulfill responsibilities of the profession. 

Canata also reminded that compliance is necessary for lawyers to maintain good standing with the IBP and avoid incurring non-compliance fee and getting listed as non-compliant lawyers.

Detriments to MCLE compliance 

Prior to the pandemic, many lawyers had been countering common setbacks to compliance to the MCLE rule. One of those detriments was lack of time. Most lawyers were finding it challenging to set aside time to attend MCLE classroom-type sessions because of their usually hectic schedules. Some lawyers were also citing long-standing traffic conditions that unnecessarily take most of their time going to and from MCLE sites. 

“The costs of completing MCLE requirements is another common setback. Many lawyers especially those from far-flung provinces had to shoulder significant travel expenses, including airfare and hotel bookings, just to get to Manila or other key cities where scheduled MCLE seminars are facilitated,” Canata pointed out. 

“There were also a number of lawyers who think the topics offered are not relevant to their practice,” he added. “Some even had issues with the authority and credibility of some lecturers, which add up to their lack of interest to sign up to MCLE courses in the years prior.”

Beefed up MCLE approach

Thus, ACCESS MCLE has taken a more proactive approach and strategy to offering MCLE courses and sessions. The institution has invested more effort in beefing up its available courses, complemented by signing up the best and most experienced practitioners as lecturers. 

“We have looked closer to the needs, requirements, and interests of current lawyers especially during a still ongoing pandemic. Existing and prospective clients can check out a very interesting list of courses offered, covering many topics that have never been tackled in other MCLE sessions before,” said Canata. 

Another plus factor for ACCESS MCLE is its very convenient MCLE options offered to lawyers. Currently, it offers synchronous (scheduled classes facilitated online) and asynchronous (on-demand online videos) sessions that make MCLE compliance more convenient and less costly for the times. 

“ACCESS MCLE has made compliance more flexible and accessible to lawyers anywhere they are, anytime they are available,” Canata concluded. 

To learn more about ACCESS MCLE and its programs, visit https://accessonline.ph/

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