The role of the L&D professional in the brave new (legal) world
At the final session of the CLEAA Conference 2013, we facilitated a discussion around the role of the L&D professional of the future in the legal environment, and what our roles might look like in 5 years’ time.
The collective wisdom from around the room provided us with an excellent starting point for CLEAA members to consider where their businesses and roles might be heading in the future, and the skills we will need to provide the services expected of us.
From that discussion, we have distilled the beginnings of a working document of potential competencies, educational requirements and skill sets for the L&D professional. We would like to see this document evolve into a framework off which we can consider the development needs of CLEAA members, the opportunities for growth and areas for discussion and debate, so please feel free to let either of us (Una: firstname.lastname@example.org or Jan: email@example.com) have your comments and suggestions.
We began with a fundamental question: What is L&D? Some of the thoughts and definitions discussed were:
· Assist people in achieving their learning goals
· Facilitator of adult learning
· Helping people learn from their mistakes
· Developing people – individually, group, firm
· Building curriculum
· Developing the profession you serve
· Supporting core business through the business directive and strategy
Discussion then turned to what delegates thought the L&D professional would be doing in 5 years’ time?
· Delivering CPD remotely
· Individualised learning
· Explicit mandate to stay abreast of change (IT, generational, learning theories)
· Mediating technology for learning
· Curating the wealth of information available for quality
· Social media guru
· Focus on communication
· Influencing skills
· Relationship management
· Move away from “information” CPDs
Based on this overview, we thought about the kinds of qualifications/experience/expertise the L&D professional will need in 5 years’ time?
· Masters of Adult Education
· Range of work experience
· Own approach to learning
· Understanding of/real interest in/passion for law
· Passion or inspiration for people development
· Value to client
· Social intelligence
· Interpersonal skills
· Underpinning values – leading by learning
· Content curator – uber knowledge broker
· Focus on content:
Over the coming months, we hope to continue this discussion, through this newsletter, through local gatherings, and at our Conference in Sydney in 2014.
Meet your Executive
This edition’s featured Executive member is Catherine Kenny.
I have heard the term “reformed lawyer “attributed to those of you, like me, who moved out of practice into the stimulating and ever changing world of education. A chance phone call from my colleague and CLEAA member, Margaret Jolly, in 1988 saw me set upon a path that has been in and around tertiary and professional education, mainly in the institutional context.
I sometimes think I am a gen y trapped inside an x (or is it boomer?) body. After several years as Director of CLE at the Queensland Law Society I then moved into the university sector, teaching particularly in skills programs. I love working from the ground up and project managing the development of the online LLM at UQ was a marvellous opportunity for me to work with online educators and developers. After a variety of other things including setting up a statutory authority to deal with building and constructions disputes I moved to The College of Law, this time with my long time CLEAA colleague Ann Maree David
I am currently the Executive Officer- Business Development of the College of Law Queensland , a job that involves many things but primarily nurturing relationships with universities and their students , firms of all sizes and our alumni. I am constantly challenged to consider the continuum of learning from undergraduate to PLT to practice.
A new skill set has emerged for 21 st century practitioners. Our alumni and their managers have entirely new expectations of what professional education should ideally include for them to progress . We need to respond accordingly. I am thoroughly enjoying working with our alumni to develop a new CPD program for them.
I cannot actually remember when I first joined CLEAA but it must have been around 1989 when I was appointed Director of the CLE Department of the Queensland Law Society .Over those considerable years, CLEAA has given me so much more than professional development. I have vivid memories of wonderful conferences and making friends with colleagues from around Australia. Those bonds of friendship are still strong today. I look forward to forming new friendships, exchanging ideas and growing professionally with you as we build and grow our vibrant membership into the 21st century.
CLEAA Conference 2013: a first-timer’s view
Okay, so they say there’s a first time for everything. For me, 2013 marked a number of firsts:
– First career foray into the legal education space. (I’d previously had a long career in legal publishing with CCH, but never really touched on the education side)
– First foray into running my own small business, along with a business partner
– First-time father. (we had a beautiful baby boy in late August)
– And last but not least, first time becoming a member of CLEAA and attending a CLEAA conference
While I’d love to say that attending a CLEAA conference for the first time tops the list above, I think I may be sleeping on the couch for a while if I wrote that. However, it did afford me a great chance to get to know the industry I now work in. And also gave me a night without a screaming child.
My overall impressions of CLEAA and the Conference:
Sitting in on both the conference and the AGM, it’s clear to me that this is an industry in transition. The traditional methods of delivering education are still valid, and still valued by lawyers, but there are increasingly new ways of delivering education and these will shape the coming years in this space.
It seems to me there’s a lot of uncertainty out there when it comes to the future of legal education.
This is not a bad thing in my humble view. This is an industry that will continue to exist one or two steps outside its comfort zone. This can be scary, but exhilarating at the same time. I think the CLEAA Conference captured a mix of these emotions. Having one foot in the past and one foot in the future doesn’t always make it easy to balance yourself, and this is what I found was the mood at the Conference.
Where to from here for CLEAA?
Given that this was my first CLEAA Conference, I’ve taken the liberty of using the experience as a “snapshot” of where CLEAA is at generally. So, I thought I’d provoke some discussion amongst CLEAA members as to where CLEAA goes from here. Please take these comments and observations as a discussion starter, and the intention here is to provoke and prod a little bit.
For me, I think the biggest challenge for CLEAA moving forward is relevance. It was alarming to sit in on the AGM and see how dramatic the drop in membership numbers has been over recent years.
I feel that the need to expand the membership base will be a key issue for CLEAA in the coming years. (and to put my money where my mouth is, I’ve put my hand up to be part of the membership subcommittee).
I’d ask the question – if CLE/CPD was not mandatory for lawyers, what would CLEAA need to do to continue to be relevant to the marketplace? In an era of budget-cutting (with the training budget usually the first to go in a lot of organisations), what would we need to do to stay relevant as a “nice to have” rather than a “must have” function?
These are uncomfortable questions, but hopefully lead to innovative outcomes for our profession. I look forward to taking the journey with you all over the coming years.
Christmas Stress Less Tips from Mind Gardener®
While Christmas should be a fun and joyful time, it can also be one of stress and pressure. Here are a few tips from Martina Sheehan, co-founder of Mind Gardener® (who gave a great presentation at the 2013 conference) to help you make it a stress-less season.
1. Don’t catch the deadline virus: Before you add something to your to-do list at this time of year, ask yourself why it must be done before Christmas. If there is no good answer, leave it until next year when you have fresh energy and renewed focus.
2. Avoid the perfection pitfall: If you’re trying to create the perfect Christmas, you could be setting yourself up for stress. While it’s fine to have a vision driving your Christmas plans, hold that vision lightly. Reality brings real magic if you’re open to it!
3. Watch for weakened willpower: Willpower runs out throughout the day and can be depleted by over-use. If you are testing your resolve with too many temptations, you could be setting yourself up for a blow out! The silly season is often when healthy choices and good habits fall by the wayside. Make important decisions early in the day that will help you stay strong when temptation beckons.
Get more tips by downloading the Mind Gardener® app (available on iTunes and android). With 60 mind-saving exercises at your fingertips, it’s a must have this Christmas, and a great gift for others. Find out more at www.mindgardener.com
Solicitors Regulatory Authority responds to LETR Report
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority of England and Wales (SRA) is planning a consultation process to obtain feedback on what it describes as ”some of the most far-reaching changes to legal education and training for over 40 years.”(Training for Tomorrow, Ensuring the lawyers of today have the skills for tomorrow). The SRA says that the LETR report of July 2013 “signalled the start of our programme of reform”.
In essence the proposed changes are designed to give greater flexibility in the pathways to qualification as a solicitor, to move to an outcomes- focussed approach built around defined “day-one skills, knowledge and attributes that a new solicitor must possess” and more targeted post-qualification training.
The SRA says that by the end of 2014 it will have developed:
• “A statement of the knowledge, skills and attributes for newly qualified solicitors enabling us to start discussions about radically different ways of delivering the solicitors’ qualification
• A significant reduction in the regulatory burdens within the existing training regulations with more to come at a later date
• Consultation and final decisions on a new CPD scheme for solicitors”.
The full document is worth a read. It can be found at
It is worth locating the pdf version as it is much easier to read than the continuous on-line narrative. Certainly the progress of the SRA on its ambitious plans will be watched with interest not just in England and Wales but around the world in common law jurisdictions, many of which are grappling with similar issues.