Posted on Dec 31, 2019
Mandatory continuing legal education has now been a part of Australian lawyers' lives for over a decade. Although one of the primary purposes of CPD is to ensure that lawyers stay up-to-date with recent legal developments, taking time to earn the dreaded 10 points can feel like a hindrance for many busy lawyers. Here are a few tips to help you get your compliance back on track for the March 31 deadline and avoid the last-minute rush.
Choose CPD activities that support your career goals
CPD is one of the tools available to lawyers to investigate areas of law that they are curious about, and it should be considered as an opportunity to learn new skills or improve existing ones. Chances are you will find it easier to find the motivation to take the time to attend a seminar, a webinar, or an interactive online course if you know it can support your career and personal goals.
So, if your goal is to someday open up a law practice, or to improve your team’s performance, then selecting courses focusing on practice management or professional skills can help you. If you have a clear vision of how you would like your career to progress, it’s easier to identify potential knowledge gaps and to see how a specific CPD course could help you bridge the gaps. Check out our blog "Reflecting on your career" to get tips on how to establish goals and pinpoint skills for improvement.
Start with a CPD compliance health check
Before you begin to research courses and seminars that will support your career goals, do a quick check on the status of your current legal CPD compliance.
Check 1: Have you covered all your core competencies yet?
Although their names might vary slightly depending on which jurisdiction you practice in, both solicitors and barristers must earn at least 1 CPD point in each of these core competencies: Ethics, Practice Management, Professional Skills, and Substantive Law. If you are yet to earn your CPD points in these core competency areas, make sure to start there!
Check 2: How many points have you earned in total so far?
Between 1 April to 31 March you need to earn 10 CPD points. Check the amount of points you have earned so far, and keep all records of completion in case you are audited. If you have already completed courses with LawCPD, you can easily find your certificates of completion at any time in the "MyCPD" learner dashboard.
Check 3: Are the CPD activities you took recognised in your jurisdiction?
The CPD rules applying in each state and territory vary, so you need to check your local requirements. For example, the interactive online legal CPD courses delivered by LawCPD will enable you to claim an unlimited number of CPD points in all states (except South Australia and Tasmania), whereas the number of points you can claim from other types of online CPD, such as webinars and audio recordings, are capped in many states.
Lawyers practising in Western Australia also need to ensure that their CPD is delivered by a QA Provider accredited by the Legal Practice Board of WA, as they can only earn CPD points from these activities. LawCPD has been approved as a QA Provider by the Board, but if you need to check other providers you can view the full list on the Board’s website.
What’s next? 4 Tips to get back on track
- Get all your core CPD out of the way first
- Don't wait until the last minute to choose how you will earn your CPD points.
- Select CPD options that give you flexibility: online legal CPD is a great way to learn at your own pace at a time that suits you.
- Make sure the CPD activities you select are recognised in your jurisdiction