With the continuing professional development (CPD) regime due to be overhauled once and for all in November, Central Law Training has launched a ‘one-stop-shop’ online repository to help UK solicitors manage and record their learning development.
The new Competence Gateway enables solicitors to ‘select’ the relevant activities they need to keep their practice up to date; ‘reflect’ on how the activity improved their practice; and ‘collect’ their training record.
These are all steps required under the new, self-regulating approach to competence for law firms and individuals, which was first announced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in May 2014 and has been phased in since then. The new regime is being brought in to give end the ‘tick box’ mentality under which solicitors sign in to a CPD training session and escape by the first coffee break in their bid to show they have gained the mandatory 16 hours of training per year. (We jest, but it’s not far off the truth. You know who you are.)
CLT will offer over 700 courses, conferences, webinars and books on the Gateway, covering all areas of law as well as law firm management and personal skills.
Once an activity has been completed, it is added to a training record, which includes a graph to help users track their development. This training record can be exported to show a manager in preparation for a meeting or appraisal.
Many large law firms have and will continue to have extensive training capability and CLT managing director Lucy Morrison told Legal IT Insider: “The main target audience is small firms and sole practitioners who will not already have learning management systems in place.”
However, she added: “Having said that, so far take-up has come largely from medium sized firms. This may be a reflection of the fact that it is early days for the new regime and many smaller firms are unlikely to be turning their attention to it until they have to. Learning management systems tend to be expensive options so even the larger firms will value access to a free tool to help track their L&D.”