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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has pledged to scrap its requirement for solicitors to complete 16 hours of continuing professional development (CPD), describing its existing system as little more than a “box ticking” exercise. The SRA believes revoking the current system will provide greater flexibility, but Nicholas Lakeland, partner and head of the employment and pensions team at Silverman Sherliker LLP, fears it may well lead to a real reduction in training.
What effect have the changes to the CPD requirements had in practice?
Nothing has happened yet, because the new regime is going to be phased in slowly. Those who are in charge of training are, however, having to consider what might be appropriate for the future. I’m aware that at least one training provider has ceased trading, so I suspect the market place is in fact expecting a contraction in the demand for training to lawyers.
How have the changes impacted lawyers? Have there been any visible benefits to the changes?
So far, nothing much has happened, so there has been no real impact. Flexibility, I fear, in this context probably means being given the opportunity of doing less training. Those who want to benefit from training already have a vast array of products available to them online and live options, and generally lawyers have been able to tailor their needs to their own practice requirements. As for benefits, I have not yet seen any.
Are there any visible downsides to these changes?
Yes. With a less prescriptive regime, there is loss of certainty as to what is required and that potentially makes complying much harder because busy practitioners will have to spend more time considering what might be appropriate training for them – in real life, I doubt that will happen.
I also suspect that this is what will happen particularly among smalle
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