For Lawyers

SRA Training Regulations - time to reflect

 I once spent a couple of years chairing the Liverpool Law Society's Training committee. One highlight was anticipating the last minute applications from Solicitors who desperately needed to top up their CPD hours before 1st November. Specialist PI Lawyers would book themselves on 'An Update in the Law of Chancel Repairs'! Thankfully those days are gone but this does not mean that training is now a thing of the past. If anything training now demands more thought and planning.

As from 1st November 2016 the whole world of legal training has changed.

At the time of applying for their Practicing Certificate all solicitors will now be required to sign a competency statement which says –

"I have reflected on my practice and addressed any identified learning and development needs."

This is quite straightforward on the face of it, and quite broad. I would like to learn more about the history of Everton FC! In fact, there are now very specific areas which we are expected to address. These cover the following –

A.     Ethics

B.     Technical Legal knowledge

C.     Working with other people

D.     Management of self and work

The requirements are set in more detail by the SRA here –

So we all have to ‘reflect’ on these areas and develop a training plan tailored to our own areas of need. The SRA have published a toolkit with guidance on how this can be achieved. It is clear from the short videos that it is in fact,less onerous than it sounds. Equally it cannot just be ignored. They have also published resources –

But this is not prescriptive. It is up to each solicitor to assess their own needs and plan their training around this. So accumulating 16 training hours on subjects not relevant to your daily work does not meet the objectives!

The SRA have also published a template for a plan which again is not compulsory but might be useful –

The first declaration will be required in October 2017 for the renewal exercise at that time. The SRA will not inspect the plan, you are simply declaring that you have done it.

However firms that are audited annually for LEXCEL might well be asked by their assessor to produce a selection of training plans. In theory Heads of HR might decline to sign of PC applications if there is no training record!!!

Training needs can be addressed at supervision, appraisal or any time by discussion with a supervisor or head of department. There is no rule about how the needs are met. It can be by way of external courses/conferences, in house training, webinars, departmental meetings, your own reading & research including blogs - although I'm not sure that watching Line of Duty on Catch up will count.

The important thing is to plan your training realistically, tailor it to your work and do it...

I am happy to help you plan a training programme and to offer in house training on compliance matters as well as on Law & Practice in Clinical Negligence and disease work.