“We all know that lawyers are time-poor, which is why it is important that they understand all the options that are available to them for completing their CPD,” notes Sarah Mateljan, director of LawCPD.com.au.
Here are five key points all lawyers need to know to help them make the best choices to get CPD compliant in 2019.
1. Know your local CPD requirements
Most lawyers know they need to complete 10 CPD points each year to meet their annual requirements. But some lawyers may not be aware that part of this includes gaining at least 1 CPD point in specific core competency areas – ethics, professional skills, practice management and business skills, as well as substantive law. So it is important to make sure you cover the core competency areas as a part of completing your 10 CPD points. Check your local CPD requirements to see which areas you need to cover – you can use this handy guide or contact your local law society or regulator directly.
2. Keep track of your CPD
Each year, around 5 per cent of lawyers in each state are audited to check for compliance with the local CPD rules. All lawyers are required to keep records of their own CPD activities and evidence of their participation – such as certificates of attendance, signed attendance records, or receipts. You also need to keep these records for at least 3 years in case of an audit, so it is important to find a tracking system that works for you. An increasing number of lawyers are opting to do their CPD online as this provides an easily accessible record of their past CPD activities.
3. Don't limit yourself to face-to-face events
Although seminars and conferences are the traditional way lawyers have earned their CPD points, a growing number of lawyers are turning to online options. These offer lawyers more choice and greater flexibility as they can be completed on-demand, when it suits their busy schedule. Online options are also more time and cost-effective as they do not require time for travel and parking, and can be done outside of your working day (so it doesn’t impact on your billable hours).
4. Choose interactive online CPD instead of recordings
Not all online CPD is created equal! Lawyers can claim an unlimited number of CPD points each year for completing interactive online CPD in most states – including NSW, Victoria, WA and Queensland. In contrast, the number of points you can claim for video and audio recordings is capped at a maximum of 5 per year. This is because interactive online CPD is structured in a way that allows you to engage with the material through interactive tools and quiz questions, while video and audio recordings are static. So it’s important to think about what type of online CPD will best meet your annual requirements.
5. It's not all about the points: upskill with expert content
With the CPD deadline rapidly approaching, it can be difficult to see beyond simply meeting your annual requirements. But CPD also provides you with a valuable opportunity to upskill, develop your knowledge, and keep up to date with the most recent legal developments. So choose CPD activities that will give you the professional tools you need to meet your career goals, as well as satisfying your core CPD requirements.
“Despite the pressure, most lawyers value the learning opportunities they get from their annual CPD, which is why all of our online courses are interactive and developed by leading experts in the law,” adds Sarah Mateljan. If you still need CPD points before the deadline, you can find over one hundred hours of interactive online CPD activities suitable for lawyers Australia-wide at LawCPD.com.au.