Online MCLE seen replacing traditional classes due to pandemic

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With the end of the Covid-19 pandemic still not within the horizon, it is now highly probable that virtual classes – including the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) for lawyers — will supplant the traditional face-to-face sessions.

As its name indicates, the MCLE is a program that is compulsory for lawyers to “keep [them] abreast of legal developments,” as stated in Canon 5 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

The Supreme Court approved in November 2019 the technical rules pertaining to running MCLE through virtual means. However, when it was published in January this year and subsequently took effect on February 5, MCLE providers had a hard fulfilling the technical requirements prescribed by the rules, particularly on authenticated learning. 

This is where a learning management system (LMS) like those offered by local startup Apptitude entered the picture by filling the gap as the technical partner to MCLE providers when seeking accreditation.

While LMS offered by Apptitude is not limited to online MCLE training, it is equipped with features that comply with the technical rules that were specifically set by the SC.

It helped that the founder and CEO of Apptitude is lawyer Marcelino Veloso III, who stressed that the strength of the startup also lies with its integrated payments and authenticated learning capabilities. 

“Although I started with an LMS, this is only one part of the equation. Our core offering — once we complete all aspects of development — will really be a blockchain-based system that can effectively become an employment passport and a skills engine,” said the UP Law alumnus.

Veloso pointed out that online MCLE will be helpful for lawyers based in the provinces since not all regions and cities have readily-available MCLE providers.

The amount of time and expenses spent on travelling to a different venue where they have to undergo continuing legal education-related activities that are spread out in separate events or weekend-long seminars can be rather significant, Veloso said.

He said the content production aspect for providers can also be streamlined, which can save a lot of time and effort as compared to time-consuming traditional classes and lectures since the sessions can be recorded and be viewed through a modular scheme.    

Veloso revealed Apptitude is now in discussion with several chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and private providers who are amenable with the setup. According to rules for conducting online MCLE, providers must be able to demo a prototype before receiving accreditation.

As authentication poses as a challenge when conducting any operation online, he said Apptitude’s LMS takes care of various requirements such as KYC (know-your-customer) protocols, liveness checks, facial recognition algorithms, and identification card uploads with “batte-tested technology” similar with banks.

As for customer support, clients will be directly connected to the partner institution as Apptitude mere serves as a platform, Veloso said.

19-10-16-SC

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