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Don't leave your CPD too late: Get ahead with these 5 strategic tips
22 November 2022

Don't leave your CPD too late: Get ahead with these 5 strategic tips

Published on 22 November 2022

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The end of CPD season is fast approaching. (Again.) And your hours for the year are… still a work in progress.

So you scramble to enrol in the cheapest courses you can find. Only to discover the material is irrelevant, repetitive or downright dull.

Sound familiar? Then let this be the year you plan your CPD with purpose.

With a little strategic thinking, you can make CPD work for you. To retake control of your career direction, improve your confidence – and realise your professional potential.

1. Identify your skills gaps

When you’re searching for a course, the sheer range of options to choose from can be overwhelming.

So start by assessing your potential growth areas to narrow down your options. How can you identify these opportunities? You might:

  • Think about the day-to-day struggles you regularly face – for example, you might find it difficult to organise your thoughts when drafting
  • Reflect on the parts of your role you don’t enjoy and whether your feelings stem from finding them too challenging
  • Ask colleagues, mentors or senior leaders where they see room for improvement in your work

And remember, when weighing your strengths and weaknesses – be honest and kind to yourself. Your professional development isn’t a sprint. It’s a slow and steady journey towards fulfilling your professional potential.

2. Strengthen the fundamentals 

Many newly practising lawyers have a good understanding of the law but are keen to hone their practical expertise.

For that reason, savvy lawyers treat their CPD obligations as an opportunity to master a range of fundamental skills. 

Some of the most important skills you will need during your career include: 

Presenting and oral advocacy: No matter what legal field you’re in, presenting information coherently and concisely is a vital skill you’ll need throughout your career. By upskilling in this area, you’ll build your communication skills – and your confidence.  

Time to upskill? Sign up for the Guide to advocacy, court etiquette and protocol in NSW, VIC, SA and QLD

Drafting: Preparing documents quickly and accurately is vital to your success as a lawyer. It’s also one of the most daunting areas for new legal professionals – and it’s not something many lawyers learnt how to do at uni. 

Time to upskill? Enrol in Unpacking commercial contracts or learn the fundamental principles involved in drafting a will (NSW)

Managing ethical issues: During your career, you’ll encounter some curly situations and suspicious clients. So knowing how to identify red flags and manage professional scepticism will help you to navigate these grey areas. 

Time to upskill? Enrol in the Guide to professional conduct & discipline for lawyers NSW, VIC, WA, QLD and SA 

Stress management: With tight deadlines and intricate matters to deal with, legal professionals often need to navigate complex, high-pressure environments. And while you may have some resilience training, CPD presents a perfect opportunity to develop this vital skill even further.  

Time to upskill? Enrol in Mental health first aid for legal professionals

3. Reflect on your career goals 

Planning your CPD is the perfect time to take stock of your career goals.  

During your studies, you likely mapped out a rough career trajectory. But that was before you had real-world experience to know whether you would enjoy the field you’re pursuing.  

Are you happy on your chosen path? Then use this opportunity to delve deeper into the skillsets and areas of expertise that will propel your career forward and help you thrive. 

But if you’re questioning the path you’re currently on, then treat your CPD as an opportunity to dip your toes into different areas – without long-term commitment. 

4. Make strategic course choices 

When it comes to selecting your courses, it’s all about working smarter – not just harder. You might: 

  • Bundle your courses: With a Mandatory CPD Bundle, you can tick off all your mandatories in one fell swoop. These popular bundles allow you to complete the three vital points across ethics, practice management and business skills.  
  • Subscribe to 24/7 course library access: With the CPD digital subscription, you gain full access to our suite of courses at one low price. Plus, our eLearning platform is full of interactive activities like flip cards, quizzes and drafting exercises – to keep you interested and engaged. 
  • Complete courses on demand: Want to learn about specific topics, when and where it suits you? If you don’t want to commit to a full-year subscription, our on-demand courses are the answer. With on-demand, you can cover all your mandatories or complete your substantive law points.  
  • Gain half your yearly CPD points withMental Health First Aid training: Not only does this training equip you with a vital skill, it’s also one of the best value courses you’ll find. For $249 you’ll get five hours of training, five CPD points – and lifelong skills to support your colleagues who may be experiencing mental health issues.  

5. Manage your time, accelerate your career 

Your CPD clock starts afresh on 1 April. So next year, do yourself a favour and avoid putting it off until the last minute.

Give yourself time to plan ahead. Find courses you’re genuinely interested in. And leave yourself time to rest and recuperate. 

And if time management isn’t your forte? Sharpen your organisational and energy management skills with our on-demand course Manage your time, manage yourself

Ready to retake control of your learning? Explore our full range of CPD courses to get ahead this year and invest in your professional development.