We’re now just over a month into the new continuing competence regime for solicitors. However, I’d hazard a guess there are not that many solicitors out there who have already dutifully reflected on their learning and development needs and drawn up an L&D plan for the year.

Of course, there’s plenty of time yet before the Solicitors Regulation Authority are likely to come knocking on the door asking to see your development records, but ‘little and often’ is certainly a way to make the potential administrative burden a whole lot more manageable.

One of the great advantages of the new regime is that it appreciates that ‘learning’ is a flexible process that doesn’t have to entail sitting in a classroom and being taught. This means that a number of activities that are part of a lawyer’s everyday life can now be ‘counted’: the reading or discussions that keep you up to date on law and practice; or the time spent researching a tricky point of law. If these activities had been counted under the old CPD regime, it’s hard to imagine that any solicitor would not have far exceeded the 16 hours’ requirement!

But, even if it’s true that ‘you learn something new every day’, it’s not practical to be writing all of that down – every day. A pragmatic approach is required. My suggestion would be to set a reminder once a month to spend half an hour reflecting on your practice, noting any emerging learning needs and recording any activities that have helped you to address identified learning needs.

A number of firms have signed up to use Central Law Training’s Competence Gateway to help their fee earners record their learning and development. If your firm hasn’t got a system in place yet, why not take a look?

It’s a simple and intuitive website, accessible from anywhere and on any device, that makes the whole recording process really easy. Registered users can even access free content, including our highly anticipated anti-money laundering training module. The video below provides more detail on how the tool works.