CPD - Are you ready for the change?

CPDLexisNexis In-house hosted over 60 in-house lawyers for a breakfast workshop on the new SRA regime. Ann Page, previously an in-house solicitor with over 25 years’ experience and now a leading trainer, ran the interactive session which examined what in-house lawyers need to do for the SRA Statement of Solicitor Competence and the tools to make it easier. The event was chaired by Sophie Gould and supported by the C&I Group and Douglas Scott. 

Requirements of the regime

From 1st November 2016 practicing lawyers will no longer be required to complete 16 CPD hours a year. However, the SRA is introducing the responsibility for lawyers to undertake training and development to ensure that they comply with Principle 5 of the SRA Principles (2011) - that they are able ‘to deliver a proper standard of service to their clients’.  This will involve lawyers reflecting on their current performance levels and undertake further development required.

The Competency Statement has the following four parts:

  1. Ethics, professionalism and judgement
  2. Technical legal practice
  3. Managing work themselves and their own work
  4. Working with other people

The Statement is also supported by an underpinning Statement of Legal Knowledge and a Threshold Standard, which reflects the standard at which an individual can practise safely and effectively use the title of solicitor.

What you need to do to be ready for November 2016

  1. Undertake a self-assessment

Competence A2 requires that you reflect on your capability and potential in your day-to-day role for your organisation, and that this is documented. So now there is a requirement for in-house lawyers to self-assess their skills, development needs, and potential.

At a quick survey at the event only 3 in-house lawyers said that their organisation has a competency framework. For this reason LexisNexis has developed a Competency Framework tailored around the new SRA regime which is aimed at allowing in-house lawyers to assess areas and skills that they need to develop.

  1. Create a development plan

Once you have identified areas for improvement and development you will need to complete a development plan. Suggested things to think about include:

  • What you need to do;
  • Why you need to it;
  • When you need to do it;
  • How you will do it;
  • Prioritising your learning and development needs.

This form can help you record how you will address the identified areas for improvement

  1. Maintain a development record

As you work through your learning and development plan, you will need to record your progress on the activities chosen including what you have learnt and applied. The SRA do not prescribe a specific approach, however, for each of your identified learning and development need(s) you may find it useful to record:

  • What you did;
  • How it was related to ensuring your competence;
  • What you learnt;
  • When the activity was completed

The following template can be used to help If you keep a development record.

  1. Make an annual declaration

Whilst the declaration of competence only needs to be submitted once a year it is advisable that you review and update your development plan on a quarterly basis and keep a regular record of development activities.

It’s not all doom and gloom

Getting used to the new SRA regime will have its challenges however as highlighted by Ann it can also have many benefits:

  • save money spent on courses purely to obtain CPD points which have no relevance to work or career
  • align the training to the vision, business goals and specific expertise of your organisation
  • broaden your learning system by recognising learning of many kinds e.g. webinars, books, internet research
  • sharing of expertise helps teams function together more effectively
  • clearer idea of what you want from people and the strengths of your team via a competency framework and assessment
  • Prepare for the future more effectively and be exceptional!

In addition to the Competency Framework LexisNexisPSL has developed guidance specifically tailored for in-house lawyers to help them meet each required SRA competency.

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Over the coming months we will provide regular updates and tools to help you be prepared and make managing the new CPD regime easier.  Simply join to our in-house blog by completing your details in the box on the top right of the screen to receive regular updates as part of our monthly newsletter which includes the top commercial legal news stories and the implications for your business delivered as a 10 min vlog, PDF newsletter or podcast.

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