11:44 AM

Sheila Duncan finds new passion as MCLE accreditation specialist

When Sheila Duncan retired from the state after 28 years, she thought she would never find another job that she was passionate about. Then, she discovered the MCLE accreditation specialist position at The Missouri Bar.

Duncan joined The Missouri Bar in February. She reviews submitted continuing legal education programs seeking MCLE credit, as well as works with accredited program sponsors. When reviewing programs, she ensures each has appropriate content, contains a detailed agenda and schedule, and provides the correct amount and type of MCLE hours. Program sponsors can click here to submit a program for accreditation.

Under the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Rule 15, lawyers must report 15 MCLE hours annually, with three of those credit hours being devoted to accredited ethics programs and activities. Of those three ethics hours, one must be focused on diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, or the elimination of explicit or implicit bias.

Along with reviewing programs, Duncan has been working with accredited program sponsors, whose programs go through an automatic review process. The Missouri Bar reviews and accredits more than 20,000 programs in an annual reporting year. The once manual process was replaced last year when the bar launched its new online MCLE reporting system which included a digital application for program accreditation. For the last several months, bar staff have worked to set up accredited program sponsors in the new system so the sponsors’ submitted programs can be automatically accredited, improving the speed and ease of accredited sponsor’s requests.

Duncan’s favorite part of the job so far is working with accredited program sponsors and maintaining the spreadsheet of the roll-out progress.

“The more sponsors who are accredited, the less programs that will come into the queue for program-by-program review, so it’ll make our operations and accredited program sponsors’ operations more efficient.”

Duncan’s previous job has helped her transition smoothly into her new role. Working within the teacher certification section at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for more than 28 years, Duncan understood how to verify curriculum meets certain criteria, organize spreadsheets and paperwork, and work with different professional entities. When she became eligible to retire from the department in August 2020, she said she did not think there would be a job out there that would click with her. A few months later, she read the job description for the MCLE accreditation specialist position at The Missouri Bar and was amazed by the similarities.

 “I never anticipated finding anything that would match what I was doing so well,” she said.

Duncan said her main goal currently is to learn as much as she can about the job so she can help relieve some of the work from her coworkers.

Click here to review the MCLE department’s frequently asked questions.