CPD start date relaxed for new lawyers

The new date will account for law firms' orientation sessions, which may count towards the hours

By Todd Harrison

On Friday May 28th, 2010

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A bit of good news for newly called (and soon-to-be called) lawyers was announced at yesterday’s Convocation.

An amendment to the recently approved Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements will now allow lawyers in their first two years of practice to begin collecting credit for their required 12 hours of Law Society-approved CPD programs immediately after being called to the bar. The original plan was to have new calls wait until January 1, 2011 to begin accumulating hours.

But the Professional Development and Competence Committee has since reconsidered. According to the committee’s report to Convocation [PDF]:

In retrospect, it seems fairer to allow (not require) new lawyers and paralegals to begin calculating their credit hours for their first “year’s” 12 hours at any point following call to the bar or licensing, rather than refusing to allow the accredited CPD they take in the period following their call or licensing but before January 1 to count toward their first 12 hours of the requirement.

This change will allow new calls to apply things like qualifying orientation sessions organized by their firms toward their CPD hours, as well as courses that may not necessarily come up next year.

The CPD requirements, which were approved at February’s Convocation [PDF] and take effect on January 1, 2011, require all lawyers and paralegals in the Law Society’s 100 percent fee paying category to complete 12 hours of activities each year, ranging from continuing education courses and teaching to study groups and writing articles. At least three of the 12 hours need to be activities on “topics related to ethics, professionalism and/or practice management.”

Lawyers and paralegals in their first two years need to ensure that their 12 hours of programming has been accredited by the Law Society. More info about CPD is available on the Society’s website.