Summer, and the start of the New Year, usually signals a mad scramble by lawyers looking to meet their CPD (Continuing Professional Development) requirements by the March deadline. Though understandable, this is far from what was intended by imposing mandatory CPD requirements. CPD is an opportunity to skill up in a new area of law, deepen your expertise, or get familiar with new technology or ways of managing your practice. As a major provider of CPD programs to lawyers in Australia and New Zealand, The College of Law is committed to helping lawyers make the most of their CPD. That’s why we have drafted this guide to help you maximise the benefits of your CPD.
Align your CPD activities with longer term goals
Ideally CPD, like any form of professional education, should help you reach your career goals. Taking the time to be more strategic in identifying what you want from your career and what you need to learn to achieve your goals will help guide what CPD you choose. This will also turn what is often seen as a nuisance into a valuable contribution to your career.
It’s important to seek CPD that provides the right mix of units or points that cover substantive law as well as CPD that develops your core practical skills.
Alternatively, you may wish to launch your own firm. Completing a course on practice management, or courses to assist with marketing and business development could help prepare you to launch a firm successfully and cost-effectively.
Start exploring opportunities for peak CPD season in February & March
Once you have identified your development areas, search for courses that fit your criteria. Do this as soon as possible, but be aware that CPD all available all year so it’s useful to keep an eye out for opportunities. This ensures you don’t miss out on programs which may run later in the year, before the annual rush to complete CPD by any means available. Most of all, planning and completing your CPD early allows you to ensure that every course you complete matches your career goals.
Be an active learner
Wherever possible, choose a program which emphasises active over passive learning. Rather than the traditional method of passively listening and taking notes from lectures, active learning prioritises practical tasks, so you should come out of a course knowing how to handle issues specific to an area of law, albeit from a simulated environment. Find a course which focuses on developing your skills as well as your knowledge. The College has both Face to Face CPD programs and interactive online courses are available via CPD Interactive.
Learn from experts
The most important criteria for selecting CPD is the subject matter and the quality of the presenters. Search for courses which allow you to learn from leaders in your field. Not only will this ensure you have the most nuanced and informed understanding of what is being taught, but it will also equip you with the practical experiences of subject matter experts. More reputable institutions are more likely to attract quality educators and the College of Law has a long tradition of working closely with senior, dynamic members of the profession.
Changing your approach and attitude towards CPD can make the whole experience less stressful and more productive – less a mad March scramble for programs and units, and more a purposeful means by which you can progress your career.
Assistant Director Practitioner Education (Professional Development)
The College of Law
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