Training habits of law firms revealed

On the 17th September, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published a research report that revealed the wide range of education and training processes used across the legal profession. IFF Researchers undertook in-depth interviews and surveyed 750 SRA-regulated entities in order to examine the training systems used by a variety of different law firms and ABSs. It was carried out as part of the Authority's work on continuing competence and the development of professional standards.

As the focus for training shifts from hourly CPD obligations to 'outcomes based learning and development', the need for adequate training processes becomes even more important. Without adequate training processes, firms could fail to satisfy the requirement for ‘continuing competence’.

Worryingly, the research revealed that only two-fifths of firms had formal written competency framework/lists which set out the skills that staff should be able to demonstrate at particular points in their career. For firms who had a competency framework, it was more likely to cover solicitors, trainees, legal executives and paralegals, rather than partners, accountancy/finance staff or secretaries.

The research also revealed that:
•Seven out of ten firms have formal training processes in place and monitor staff development through performance appraisal.
•Current planning and management of education and training activities varies depending on organisational size—with Compliance Officers for Legal Practice (COLPs) managing the majority of learning activities. However, in larger firms, a range of people carried responsibility for overseeing training activities.
•Nearly all legal firms, irrespective of size, keep records on the nature and amount of time spent on training.

The report indicates that ongoing professional development is engrained for solicitors across the range of regulated entities. This certainly mirrors our own experience of working with law firms across the country. Interestingly, the research revealed that a significant amount of training takes place on an informal basis – such as through mentoring and work shadowing. This ‘informal’ training will now has a place in the new CPD training regime to be introduced from spring next year.

Now is the perfect opportunity to review the training needed by all those in your firm, from Partners to Trainee solicitors. For more ideas on how we can help give your people the skills they need, take a browse through our Course Directory.


Posted by News Desk