July 2014

From the Executive

A vibrant and growing community of CPD professionals is what we all want to see. We are delighted to report that CLEAA ended the financial year with an increased membership, now standing at 90. Membership renewals are now due so we very much hope all members renew and encourage colleagues to consider membership also.

 

To enable more people to take advantage of CLEAA membership this year, if two people from the same organisation are CLEAA members then additional people from the same organisation can join for free. If you have not received the renewal email please contact Geraldine Barro at cleaa@leocussen.vic.edu.au<mailto:cleaa@leocussen.vic.edu.au

 

Significant changes in legal services are already impacting on learning and development strategies and needs of lawyers. CPD professionals need to understand the trends and be prepared to lead and adapt to these changes. This makes our annual conference more important than ever, so note the dates of 16 and 17 October in your diary now. The conference theme focusing on the future, as it does, should provide plenty of stimulation for all of us – no matter how long we have been in the business. You can find out more about the programme below.

 

You may have noticed our new logo- a new look to start a new year. Many thanks to Andy Raubinger of Raubinger Visual Communications, our designer, for his suggestions from which the Executive selected the new logo

 

CLEAA Conference 2014 – Sydney

The CLEAA Conference Committee is looking forward to seeing you in Sydney on 16 and 17 October.  The finishing touches are being put on the programme at the moment, and a flyer for early bird registrations will be coming to members very soon.  The conference theme of 2020: our vision for the future of learning and development for the legal profession, is highly relevant to the legal profession in Australasia as a whole in these days of global expansion, regulatory change, technological impact and generational change within the legal profession, as well as for those of us whose role it is to educate, develop and inspire the legal profession.  Speakers at the conference will include; Justice Michael Slattery (Supreme Court of NSW), Terri Mottershead (Mottershead Consulting and Bond University), Anthony Mitchell (Bendelta), George Hampel QC (Monash University), Justice Felicity Hampel (County Court of Victoria), Hayley Bennett (NSW Bar) and, by popular demand, John Hanley (Legal Aid, Queensland).  The conference will also look at the progress towards a uniform profession being made in Victoria and NSW.

 

Update on CPD in our jurisdictions

A regular feature in each newsletter.

CLEAA recently sent a letter to the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia, which is reviewing the CPD regime in WA, following comments received from members as called for in the last newsletter. Our letter said (with minor edits removing the salutations):

“This response is made on behalf of the members of the Continuing Legal Education Association of Australasia (CLEAA). In the interests of law firms and agencies, CPD consumers (legal practitioners) and CPD providers, CLEAA supports a national approach to mandatory CPD schemes across Australia.

“CLEAA notes that the rules relating to QA providers and the approval of the various forms of CPD activities are unique to the WA CPD scheme. This adds a level of administration to the scheme that adds to the cost of the delivery of CPD which is invariably passed onto the consumers. CLEAA queries if the Board is satisfied that these additional requirements add value to the scheme that is not evident in other Australian schemes and, if so, is there evidence to support this?

“CLEAA notes the difference in the requirement of the accumulation of points in competency areas 1 and 2 for practitioners in practice for more than or less than 5 years and assume that the rules have been structured in this way with particular aims in mind. CLEAA queries if the Board is satisfied that the aims are being met and, if so, is there evidence to support this?

“Ethics is clearly a worthy subject but the question is whether it promotes good learning to mandate it in this way (ie 4 points for the under 5 years in practice, 2 for over 5 years). We observe that while the requirement has produced some good quality ethics sessions, it has also arguably been a bit counterproductive and shaped an attitude that is not healthy (eg compliance via a tick a box mentality, not really engaged with the subject matter). We support reducing the number of points to either 1 point for everyone to align this with other schemes for national consistency or to 2 points so there is no difference between under and over 5 years in practice.

“Further, ethics can be discussed in theory and in terms of rules but it is better considered in context of practice and how ethical questions arise and are resolved in practice. If the number of points is to remain high then we suggest the rules allow that ethics can be taught/learned ‘pervasively’ by being incorporated into other CPD activities. At the moment it is hard to do this in WA because the minimum block of time that counts for points is 30 minutes (0.5 point). We encourage the Board to review the minimum point requirement even if it only applies to relevant or specific competency areas.”

 

State CLEAA events – mark the dates

CPD for you – join in at meetings close to you throughout the year.  Treat yourself with a little personal CPD as well as catch up with CLEAA colleagues over a quick lunch.  Claim these dates in your diaries and we look forward to seeing you there.

Brisbane

Thanks to the Bar Association of Queensland  for hosting a fascinating CLEAA seminar on Copyright, off the back of the NSW and Victorian presentations,  Thanks go to Ross McCaul, Director, Commercial Licensing , CopyrightAgency  who  debunked numerous widely held myths about copyright. We strongly recommend the other states hold this presentation kindly sponsored by the Agency.

Our next gathering is our coffee and a chat – bring an article, book, Utube clip or something else in the training realm that has interested you. the venue is yet to be decided but put it in your diary: 10am, CLEAA, 21 August.

The final event for the year will be the CLEAA lunch and presentation to be hosted by Hopgood Gami , Level 8, Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle Street. 12.30 for 1pm, 27 November.

Feel free to have your say and recommend topics and speakers for our presentations. Please email your suggestions to ckenny@collaw.edu.au

Sydney – Thursday 7 August 12.30pm – 2pm, College of Law, Level 16, St James Centre, 111 Elizabeth Street Sydney.

Melbourne – Wednesday 6 August 12.30pm – 2pm, Herbert Smith Freehills, Level 42, 101 Collins Street Melbourne.

Members in the various jurisdictions will be sent further information on each event closer to the date.

 

Meet our Administrator, Geraldine Barro

As mentioned in the May newsletter, Geraldine has been our administrator, based at Leo Cussen Centre for Law for several months now. You have heard recently from Geraldine with the call for membership renewals, this newsletter and more. Here’s what she has to tell us about herself.

My main role is as the new Program Coordinator of CPD at Leo Cussen Centre for Law. I come from an extensive legal PA/admin background and have spent the last 18 months supporting  a high-profile commercial litigation QC and the previous 10 years assisting the lead partner of a national mid-tier law firm in employment & industrial relations.

I joined Leo’s in April and at the same time took over the Secretariat role for CLEAA. I thrive on being organised and I am enjoying my new role coordinating seminars, conferences, trainee lawyer education and other CPD courses and of course working on CLEAA.

 

Meet a member – Introducing Bella Basilides

I am a perennial student in life, so maintaining an open mind and willingness to learn, try new things and new ways of thinking is my motto. When I started in Professional Development at the Law Society Northern Territory I said to myself “this should be an easy-peasy job” compared to my previous management positions, but pretty soon I realised that it is a huge endeavour.

To develop, implement and maintain a strong and sustainable CPD program takes a lot of time, work and effort whether it is for lawyers or any other profession. I found designing a professional development program for the Society quite challenging at first because I am not a lawyer. My background is in management and educational administration. However, my experience in organising alumni and public events, research, marketing and project management helped me get through the first two years and made a difference. The recipe for success is a balance of creativity, attention to details, flexibility, patience, loads of determination and unique insight into lawyers’ CPD requirements. It also helps to have an extensive professional network to count on when you’re desperately looking for that inspirational keynote speaker.

Yes, an MBA does help when one is thrown out of your comfort zone to deal with all sorts of situations and directions and try to end up with both feet on the ground. Fortunately, the people I work with are a bunch of witty, nutty, tech-savvy, good-humoured and supportive staff who makes me laugh a lot.

My passion for continuing professional development is still growing. I believe that learning does not cease, regardless of age. Commitment to structured skills enhancement and professional development is important to everyone, no matter what role or level of responsibility, in order to ensure that their skills are up to date. However, the onus is always on individuals to take responsibility for developing and directing their own career.

Since the introduction of Mandatory Continuing Professional Development in the Northern Territory in April 2007 the CPD program in the Society has grown.   Keeping up with the requirements is not as onerous for NT lawyer as formerly as there is now a general acceptance that Mandatory CPD simply formalises the process of keeping up with new legislation and technology, understanding changing market environments, improving performance skills and providing a high standard of legal counsel to their clients by learning new skills.

The CPD market is constantly changing. Although there is not one set of skills that would serve one in the foreseeable future, keeping pace with change and constantly thinking of new ways of providing development opportunities for resilient lawyers is important.   Attending the CLEAA Conference in 2012 and 2013 certainly broadened my outlook and I look forward to attending the 2014 CLEAA Conference in Sydney.

 

Delegating is good

We all acknowledge that good delegation is a way of increasing productivity. Here is a short article that is worth a look (even if it is pitched at entrepreneurs) if you think that you could learn more about delegation or if you want to challenge yourself to do it better.

 

A sobering prediction on the future of the legal profession in Australasia

The head of a major Australian consultancy has issued a warning on the “life cycle maturity” of the legal profession and its effects on the income of firms – something that will have a flow-on effect to all of us in the CLE/L&D field. Read more.

 

Lawyers need to embrace technology The COO of Corrs Chambers Westgarth is calling on law firms to embrace technology to enable them to work smarter and faster. Jon Kenton has a tech background and describes the growth and scale of the technical innovation in legal services as a “fascinating time”. He makes the case for being a tech-savvy law firm. His advice, which may appear mainly oriented to IT issues has much wider applicability than that. Read more

Whatever happened to….

Another of our new periodic columns finding out what has happened to past CLEAA members.

Natasha Playne writes from the colourful Cayman Islands!

Greetings from Grand Cayman. Dick Edwards kindly reached out to me in an email recently enquiring about my membership status. So, a few emails from Dick later, I am writing this article for CLEAA from the Caribbean where I moved in 2012.

I was for a few memorable years a member of CLEAA. During my membership I enjoyed the annual conferences. Hobart in 2011 particularly stands out in my memory as a great conference full of excellent discussion about whether we need formal professional standards for CLE, not to mention wonderful camaraderie.

My entrée into the world of CLE was as a presenter at the College of Law in Sydney for about five years. I used to present on the topic of Financial Management as part of the LPMC (Legal Practice Management Course). So about 10 times a year, I would present to lawyers, all of whom had paid quite a substantial fee to be there, at a course that is compulsory if one needs or wants a practising certificate, and usually on a Saturday morning, and on the topic was accounting. My definition of a tough gig!

My challenge was to distil accounting and finance into something comprehensible and practical for those lawyers going into practice. I developed a number of successful workshop exercises and armed with a sense of humour and a trivia quiz on the Simpsons thrown in, I succeeded. But I always thought there could be a better kinaesthetic way of teaching accounting.

The idea of a kinaesthetic accounting training product nagged at me as I used to clean up my son’s Lego. I thought maybe I could devise a game where some people bought Lego blocks from others, built a house and sold it. Alas, real life got in the way, so I shelved the idea.

Then fate intervened. My husband was offered the job of a lifetime heading up EY’s transactions and restructuring group in the Eastern Caribbean. So we packed up and I handed over my College of Law and other CFO work and off we went in August 2012.

In October 2012 I came across an article in my accounting profession’s “Charter” magazine about a product called “Colour Accounting”. Yes I was a bored housewife – so bored I read my accounting magazine! Intrigued I made enquiries and discovered a pair of passionate educators in Peter Frampton (a namesake of the 70s rocker) and Mark Robilliard. They have spent over a decade developing this product and have had much success teaching people from all walks of life, including lawyers, including large firms such as Baker & McKenzie in the US, the UK and Australia.

I am now the Caribbean licensee for Colour Accounting. The product is available in Australia as well as many other places across the world. Peter Frampton is based in Geneva, Switzerland, while Mark Robilliard is based in Noosa, Queensland. As you can see we have all the exotic lifestyle locations picked out!

In Cayman I use the product to teach lawyers who sit as independent directors of hedge funds.   Cayman is the back office for the hedge fund industry with approximately two trillion dollars of funds domiciled here.   We are not in fact a money laundering evil destination, but a well regulated centre for hedge funds.

Many lawyers in Cayman are independent directors of funds. They are employed in this capacity because they understand the intricacies of the contracts that underpin the investment strategies and hedging of risks. They come to me to close the gap in their knowledge of “accounting 101”. Whilst they all have a pretty good understanding of a balance sheet, no one has ever taken the time or effort to tell them the whole story from the beginning! Many a course will start with “debit this” and “credit that” without explaining first what a “debit” is or why we do it.

Colour Accounting not only starts at the beginning, it takes the time to explore and define the language of finance. Lawyers on my course are encouraged to challenge, debate and explore the language of accounting before moving onto the structure and movement of accounting transactions. By adopting this linguistic approach (e.g., what exactly do you mean when you call something an “asset”?) lawyers “get on board” and quickly move on to gain a thorough understanding.

The course is also kinaesthetic and uses a board to explain the structure of accounting, with paper buckets and tickets used to actually show participants what a debit and a credit look and feel like. If you can see it, you can understand it!

I will be travelling back and forth between Cayman and Australia a few times a year as my son enters boarding school in Sydney. I’d be delighted to give CLEAA members a free demonstration on colour accounting, or put members in touch with Mark Robilliard. My email address is natasha.playne@riskpass.com. I am grateful to Dick for reaching out to me and look forward to receiving the CLEAA newsletter – it’s like a little bit of home in my inbox!

Here are a couple of links you might find useful www.coloraccounting.com and www.accountingschool.com

 

Getting the Seasoned Professional to Engage in Training

A common problem. There is nothing life changing in the advice in this article, but it’s worth a read and it may stimulate you to try something different! Read it here.

 

The ROI on L and D

The Return on Investment of education and training is an omnipresent theme in justifying the time and resources dedicated to programmes. This particularly seems so for in-house L and D professionals. If you do not attempt to calculate the ROI or if you do and want to review what you do against what someone else suggests, read more. (Ed’s note – this is slow to download I found).

 

News from the UK

Northern Ireland

The Law Society of Northern Ireland has introduced compulsory CPD specifically for property lawyers.   As from 1 January 2014 all solicitors who complete any type of conveyancing transaction are required to undertake 3 hours of CPD in conveyancing (both as defined by the Law Society). Northern Ireland has had a CPD regime since 2005, covering at first those in their first 10 years of practice but now extending to all solicitors. Professional Indemnity Insurance experience shows that conveyancing continues to be a major issue. The requirement is designed “to reduce the number of conveyancing related claims”. Is this a first for compulsory CPD in a particular practice area not associated with specialist accreditation?

 

The Solicitors Regulatory Authority of England and Wales

Despite criticism from the Law Society and from the Legal Services consumer Panel, the SRA has adopted the most radical option of abolishing the requirement for 16 hours of CPD per year in favour of a declaration honouring the “obligation to be competent and to be able to demonstrate reflection and a learning system”.  Read more here and here.

The Law Society’s Education and Training Committee openly publishes parts of its agenda papers in advance of its meetings. The agenda for its meeting on 5 June included a report from the SRA Director of Education and Training which had annexed an outline of the results of survey of the “CPD behaviours” in 750 regulated entities. It has interesting findings for both in-house and institutional providers. Look for the paper here (listed as item 4). We will publish more on this research report as information becomes available.

 

Continuing challenge to QASA

The appeal to the largely unsuccessful challenge to the radical accreditation for advocates QASA commenced on 9 May and was adjourned till mid-July. Look out for a report on what has happened to QASA in the next newsletter.

 

A three minute 30 sec TED talk

We promise not to bombard you with “TED wisdom”, but here is a short talk that appealed to the editor

http://www.ted.com/playlists/152/redefining_success   Look down the list for the Richard St John’s short talk, 8 Secrets of Success.

 

Contributions to the newsletter

If anyone finds an interesting article that they want to share, or wants to write something for the newsletter please feel free to send that to dick.edwards@lawyerseducation.co.nz We are working towards a deadline of 1 September for receipt of copy for the next newsletter.

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