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Monday, April 22, 2024

What Lawyers can Expect from Accredited MCLE Providers in PH

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Filipino law practitioners, just like their counterparts in many countries across the globe, are required by no less than the Supreme Court to undergo continuing legal education.

Now on its eighth compliance period, the mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) program keeps every lawyer abreast of legal developments. It also elevates the national standards of the profession, helps improve justice administration, and enables the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to “discharge its public responsibility more effectively.”

Bar Matter No. 850 identifies the purpose of MCLE—to ensure that throughout their career, IBP members will remain updated about law and jurisprudence, will keep the ethics of their profession, and will help enhance the standards of the practice.

Only 25 accredited MCLE providers are allowed to facilitate learning sessions for the program to date. A designated MCLE Committee, which holds office in the IBP headquarters in Pasig City, monitors and oversees MCLE program administration by the accredited providers.

MCLE providers offer various courses to enable every learner to complete the required 36 units per compliance period (usually takes three years). All MCLE courses are designed to cover specified topics, including legal ethics, trial and pre-trial skills, alternative dispute resolution, updates of procedural law and jurisprudence, legal writing/ oral advocacy, international law, and other prescribed subjects, which could be about anything under the sun like technology and the law, taxation, cryptocurrency, and psychology and the law, among others.

Classroom setup
MCLE providers are basically required to conduct their classroom or physical learning sessions in suitable and comfortable venues. The site should be sufficient to hold the number of session attendees, should be accessible to public transportation, and should be conducive for learning.

Session schedules and duration should be strategically set. MCLE sessions are not allowed to coincide with observation of religious holidays. Schedule and venue, along with designated lecturers, topics, and related learning activities (even coffee and lunch breaks) must be strictly carried out as set or planned, otherwise, the MCLE Committee must be notified in advance of any change. Visual and other learning aids must be used to conduct the sessions more effectively.

Online MCLE
In 2020, ACCESS made history and through its efforts gave Philippine lawyers the option to take MCLE online. Incidentally, it coincided with the implementation of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which lasted for over two years.

ACCESS MCLE, one of the accredited MCLE providers in the country, has been leading its industry when it comes to innovations and best practices for facilitation of online MCLE. Still aligned with the requirements of the MCLE Committee and with the approval from the Supreme Court, ACCESS MCLE introduced synchronous (online classroom and ‘flexisynch’) and asynchronous (on-demand) modes of learning.

As an alternative, and obviously more popular mode of MCLE delivery, accredited providers must adhere to two more major requirements—assurance of authenticity of identity of the learners and relevance of course content. Moreover, the online program must also adhere with other related concerns like data privacy, internet connection reliability, and content production, among others.

Interestingly, lawyers now have more options when it comes to MCLE compliance. Online MCLE remains popular, though many also opt for the traditional or face-to-face learning setup in the post-pandemic times. Whichever option is chosen, Filipino lawyers can expect continuous upgrade of knowledge and skills in the profession.

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

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