Two solicitor-advocates have launched a web-based phone app to help other solicitors fulfil their annual continuing professional development (CPD) obligation.
They hope to extend the service – which went live yesterday – to barristers and chartered legal executives shortly, and eventually to professionals in a number of different sectors.
The app, named Prolog, enables individuals and teams to share their CPD experiences with colleagues.
It also allows law firm compliance officers to view reports that show the compliance or otherwise with annual CPD obligations of the lawyers in their firms.
The website promises “a proven workflow that supports every step of the CPD lifecycle” that allows “individuals to take responsibility for their own CPD, in a consistent and professional way that ensure compliance to the [Solicitors Regulatory Authority’s] requirements, using a simple, intuitive interface”.
The price for individuals is 99p per month. Firms can buy licences for staff on a sliding scale from £15 per user per month for up to 10 lawyers down to £5 per month for firms with over 200 lawyers.
Currently, the sharing features are restricted to organisation subscribers and the reporting features for individuals are limited.
Solicitor Richard Stone, one of Prolog’s five directors, told Legal Futures the idea was the brainchild of fellow solicitor Mike Winston.
Both were formerly law firm partners but were now freelance solicitors and trainers in various aspects of legal practice, from client care to litigation skills, he said.
Mr Stone said there was a need to assist solicitors with CPD since the SRA had abolished the annual minimum 16-hours requirement in November 2016 and replaced it with a ‘continuing competence’ scheme.
A “lot of lawyers” were still “in the dark about what is expected of them”, he insisted.
He continued: “They either tend not to do this competency statement or they struggle to do it.”
Mr Stone said the app was unique in the range of CPD activities that could be recorded and shared.
“You can add an entry like, for example, a website, a photograph, note or voice recording. You can add these things and share them with team members or individuals who are using Prolog, or everyone who is using Prolog, so it becomes like a community.”
The founders had spent the past year “planning, devising, and honing” the site.
Law firm subscribers could easily be separated by teams, offices or regions. Presently individuals could register immediately but law firms had to register an interest and Prolog would set up the team structure as desired. Eventually this would be inputted by users, he said.
He added: “We are hoping to expand this quite soon to barristers and legal executives as well. Then we hope to cater to lots of different professions that all have the same sort of [CPD] requirement.”
As well as approaching the SRA to argue “this is actually good for the SRA because it will make it easier for people to become compliant”, he said Prolog would also seek an endorsement from the Law Society.