Recording solicitors’ CPD
Solicitors’ CPD is no longer a tick-box exercise.
In November 2016, the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) changed the rules around CPD, shifting the practice from an hours-based approach to one focused on learning outcomes. The move has made CPD more flexible, practical and relevant to solicitors. Instead of spending 16 hours a year ‘pretending to learn something', they can identify their own learning gaps and work towards them in their own time.
Unlike the old CPD system, the SRA won’t be actively enforcing the new regulations. The SRA will only ask to see CPD records if they receive a complaint of incompetence against an individual. Some solicitors have used this as an excuse to overlook their CPD obligations, but the new regulations are a huge opportunity to expand learning and development.
What counts towards the new requirements?
CPD is no longer a set number of hours or competencies. It can include a wide range of learning activities – like reading, attending conferences or peer workshops. As long as the activities are linked to a learning need and recorded properly, anything goes.
The new regulations also mean firms and solicitors can be more flexible than ever. Firms can identify any skills gaps and use learning and development to generate the skills they need. The regulations will also help solicitors take responsibility for their own learning while working to meet the goals of the business – creating a culture of learning.
How should CPD be recorded?
Instead of logging hours, solicitors now need to record learning reflections – what they’ve learned, how the activity went, how it met their learning aims and what it means for their practice. It’s best to make these evaluations in real time – just after the learning activity – so it’s fresh in the minds and easy to refer back to.
This new type of continuous learning is new to solicitors’ CPD, so solicitors need an easy way to record entries and keep track of their development.
Luckily, the technology is ready to go.
Continuous learning may be new to the legal sector, but other industries have been recording learning for a while now – so the required tech is already in place.
With a learning software, solicitors can use any device to record learning reflections, evaluate their learning and track their continuous development. They can also identify any learning gaps to create a strategic plan for their development. Gone are the days of never-ending spreadsheets, everything is available at the touch of a button.
At OneFile, our learning software is used by thousands of people to record their learning and development. It has all the features solicitors need to plan, record, evaluate, and reflect on learning – as well as the accessibility firms need to monitor learning, track skills gaps and make strategic decisions for the business.
To find out more about OneFile, how it’s used by solicitors, and how it can make a difference to your firm, download our free guide.
This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.