The rise of obtaining CPD requirements online

The requirement for continuing professional development, or CPD, is a reflection of the fact that a career in law is a career of lifelong learning. As the law changes, we must update our knowledge of it to give the right advice to our clients. As lawyers, we are constantly improving our professional skills and knowledge, developing our ability to effectively manage our areas of practice, and honing our application of professional ethical standards.

The origin of CPD can be traced back to medical education. In which an apprenticeship-style program was adopted by doctors to further their training. The American Medical Association created a point-based model of continuing education in 1960. A model which all CPD programmes now reflect.

Continuing Legal Education, or CLE, followed not long after. The first instance of an institutional CLE program was at Monash university in 1975. Other universities then followed with UNSW opening their in-house CLE program not too long after in 1981.

Nowadays, obtaining CPD points doesn’t require long hours in a face to face classroom at university or at a specialised business. With the number of options available, lawyers can easily develop their education in the comfort of home, the office or anywhere else.

As a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Law Society of NSW temporarily lifted restrictions on CPD point caps for individuals who complete their mandatory legal education through online video and audio content. Now, lawyers have become more accustomed to working remotely and are turning to online CPD and e-learning as their primary means of gaining practical information rather than in-person seminars.

The ability to access a greater choice of topics on demand combined with learning activities and material remotely makes online training more appealing compared to the traditional in-person delivery model. So it’s no surprise that lawyers are expressing a preference for the former over the latter.

One wonders where this preference for online delivery will lead in the near future. Will lawyers participate in online CPD activities, sessions, panels and Q&A events over platforms such as Zoom or even in the Metaverse? Or will lawyers prefer to obtain their CPD obligations on their own through private e-learning materials.

Gain CPD hours with Hearsay

For lawyers looking to obtain CPD points or updates on recent Australian legal developments, head over to Hearsay the Legal Podcast. Hearsay The Legal Podcast combines an interview style podcast with mixed media content to enable lawyers to gain CPD hours and obtain their CPD points in a convenient and flexible way. Listen to the podcast on the go, anywhere and anytime.

Hearsay features interviews from leading lawyers and experts such as Justice Lucy McCallum, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, Managing Partner of Clyde & Co Michael Tooma and the University of Sydney Law School Professor Jason Harris.