The Bar Council has slammed the Bar Standards Board’s forthcoming continuing professional development regime as being burdensome, complicated, unfit for purpose, and involving “pointless” self-assessment. It warned that the scheme would lead to “many practitioners” being “likely to fail in their compliance”.
Plans by the Bar Standards Board to introduce a more flexible, outcomes-focused CPD scheme have met with widespread opposition from barristers. Only two of the proposals in its latest consultation received a positive response from individual barristers, while the Chancery Bar Association and Inns of Court expressed concerns
Solicitors should abandon the concept of “perfection” and concentrate instead on improving their performance, a City training chief has said. The legal learning leader at Hogan Lovells said the firm was one of the first big practices to opt into the new non-point based CPD regime introduced in April.
Solicitors will not have to declare on their practicing certificates that they carried out professional training for the year 2015-16, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has admitted. However, they will still have to do their training.
An online poll of 900 solicitors by the Law Society has revealed that 15% failed to do 16 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) last year – the minimum required. The poll found that 17% had already moved to the new hours-free ‘continuing competence’ regime.
Many at the Bar and beyond will be familiar with the ‘10,000 hours’ theory – put forth by Swedish psychologist K Anders Ericsson and further propagated by popular writer Malcolm Gladwell. That is: the formula for success, in any field, is 10,000 hours of practice. Integral to this, but perhaps less well known, is the notion that such practice needs to be deliberate – carefully structured and executed in a way that will have the greatest results for performance. In other words, quality matters just as much as, if not more than, quantity.
A poll of larger commercial law firms has shown that a higher number than expected, around a quarter, have opted to introduce the new ‘hours-free’ continuing competence regime for solicitors.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has said that over 200 law firms of all sizes have opted into its new ‘continuing competence’ regime. From 1 April firms have been able to leave behind the old hours-based continuing professional development system.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority adopted a new way to judge lawyers’ competence yesterday, which will for the first time mean it does not need to rely entirely on expert opinion or case law.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s high-profile move away from the annual minimum 16 hour CPD requirement has been well documented and most in the profession will by now be aware that the change will be phased in from this spring and fully implemented by 1 November 2016. But does this really mean the end of (continuing) professional development training for solicitors?