From the Executive
It seems only right that after spending 2 days at the recent CLEAA Conference focussing on our vision for the future of learning and development for the legal profession, we spend a little time focussing on the future for CLEAA over the coming year. At our annual general meeting, Ronwyn North stepped down as President, and I would like to thank Ronwyn and acknowledge all of her hard work for CLEAA, not only whilst President but for many years before that. I would also like to acknowledge the work done by our 2 outgoing executive committee members: Graham Jobling and Jacquelyn Simon – it has been a pleasure working with both of them.
We have a new president (that would be me) and 2 new executive committee members: Chris D’Aeth (NSW Bar Association) and Jonathan Seifman (Bulletpoints). The committee is looking forward to another busy and challenging year, particularly in light of the Uniform Profession changes and what they might mean for CPD requirements in Australia. I believe that CLEAA is uniquely positioned to provide meaningful input to the discussion from the perspective of all of the participants in the legal education network, as well as being representative of all of the potentially affected jurisdictions.
One of the main things I want to achieve over the coming 12 months is increased interaction with our members, not only at local event and our annual conference (although it is always a pleasure to catch up in person), not only through our newsletters, but through more effective use of social media. I am very pleased to say that Brad Booysen from Storkk is assisting us with rejuvenating our Linkedin profile and creating a Facebook presence, and as Ronwyn reported at our AGM, our new website is not too far away.
Planning for the next year is currently under way, including planning for the work of our subcommittees. If you have expressed an interest in being involved in one of our subcommittees, we will be in touch with you very soon. If you have ideas for local events, we would also love to hear from you. Thank you to those who have provided feedback from the conference – we will be taking all of that into account in preparing for our 2015 conference and will have details of date and venue for you soon.
Hard though it is to believe, the holiday season is nearly here again. I’d like to wish all of our members a very happy Christmas, I look forward to working with you in the new year, and hope you all have a fantastic rest before the silly season that is the lead up to the end of the CPD year.
Update on CPD in our jurisdictions
A regular feature in each newsletter. Contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Legal Practice Board has completed its review of the CPD regime in WA and a range of changes have been adopted by the Board. Details are not available until those changes have been translated into legislative form, but we will keep you informed as we find out more.
It was reported that in September the Law Society of WA has recommended the adoption of the Legal Profession Uniform Law to the State’s Attorney-General. A report of that recommendation is here. The adoption, when it happens, will hold interesting implications for the harmonisation of CPD rules given the potential difference between the new regime in NSW and Victoria and that of WA.
NSW and Victoria
Work has commenced on CPD under the Legal Profession Uniform Law. From a presentation at the conference it would appear that there could possibly be a divergence between the regime for solicitors and that for barristers applying in the two states. For solicitors the process for the development of CPD rules commences with the Law Council and after a period of consultation the rules will be promulgated by the new Legal Services Council. The presentation at the conference suggested that the starting point is the existing rules applying in both states and that “not much change is expected”. The presentation on behalf of the Victorian Bar suggested that it was taking the opportunity presented by the change to look at CPD regimes applying in the UK, Canada and NZ to see whether there are developments in other jurisdictions which might be introduced locally as the new regime beds down. We will watch developments with interest.
It would appear that the draft CPD rules are now ready to go the Legal Services Commissioner (Dale Boucher) who will distribute them shortly for comment. Keep an eye out for them. The CLEAA executive will be considering them.
Meet a member – in this case an Executive Committee member
As noted in Jan’s column above we have two new executive members.
Chris D’Aeth and Jonathan Seifman. Chris was featured in the member profile in July – now it is Jonathan’s turn.
Jonathan Seifman is the CEO and co-founder of Bulletpoints, a one-stop portal that allows lawyers to find a wide range of CPD options, track their CPD points and manage the CPD process. He has previously held senior management positions at CCH, one of Australia’s leading publishing and software providers to lawyers and accountants.
Jonathan says “My career so far has been a series of happy accidents.
I started my working life as a public servant working for the federal Department of Industrial Relations in Canberra, and worked with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. However, a desire to move back to Sydney meant that I had to leave the public service, and so I fell into publishing by getting a job as a legal editor at CCH. By chance at CCH, I got offered the chance to become the General Manager of the Hong Kong office, so moved over there and spent 6 years in Hong Kong, and then moved to Singapore to run CCH across South Asia.
“By the time I moved back to Sydney, I’d decided I wanted to try something different to publishing, and it was at that point that a chance coffee with Jason Elias. Having both spent a long time in legal services, we got talking about what lawyers told us were some of their biggest pain points over the years. One issue that consistently came up was around the CPD space – with many lawyers telling us they found it confusing to search through loads of brochures, catalogues and emails to find CPD courses that worked best for them.
“And so, we decided to do something about it! We set about interviewing as many lawyers as we could about their CPD habits (we ended up doing over 100 hours of face-to-face interviews), and based on what we heard, we launched a new service called Bulletpoints to help lawyers find and book the most relevant CPD courses.
What are my views on CPD? I think that CPD is a good thing for the legal profession. However, I think there’s a good chunk of lawyers out there who view CPD as simply a “tick the box” exercise. I find it a shame that so many lawyers will spend time and money doing CPD courses that they get limited value out of, simply because they make rushed and poor decisions (especially towards the end of March!). Getting these lawyers out of that mindset is, in my view, the biggest issue facing the legal education industry.
Why did I nominate for the CLEAA Executive? I think there’s a lot of potential in the legal education industry, and I really want to see this industry grow, prosper and move forward. Hopefully I can bring a bit of freshness in CLEAA and help the industry think a little bit differently.
One area I’m very keen to explore is in having CLEAA join forces with other like-minded associations and organisations to share resources, experiences and ultimately provide a better platform to service members. There are a number of good organisations in both the legal space, as well as in the education industry, that I think CLEAA can really benefit from by forming good partnerships and alliances.
CLEAA Conference 2014 – Sydney
The feedback on the conference in Sydney both during the two days and from the on-line survey has been very positive. A number of thanks are due. Firstly to the Conference Committee – Jan Christie (convener), Chris D’Aeth, Janelle Eldridge, Angi Zandstra, John Hanley and Anna Larsson. Unfortunately Angie and John were not able to attend to see the fruits of their labours. John, your friends in CLEAA wish you a speedy recovery. Thanks are also due to the NSW Bar Association for hosting us for two days, the NSW Law Society for hosting us to the cocktail function and to Henry Davis York for its support.
There was a considerable range of presentations. One that kept everyone’s attention was on the changing role of L and D professionals in the 21st century presented by Terri Mottershead. Terri has considerable experience of legal practice and L and D in Australia, Asia and the United States. Those who want to keep the “conversation” going that Terri started for us, may be interested in looking at her blog.
We have a few photos from the conference in the newsletter and also a comment upon it below from new member Carl White.
The main volunteer workers at the conference itself – left to right – Bali Kaur (NSW Bar Association) and conference committee members Jenelle Eldridge (Minter Ellison),Chris D’Aeth (NSW Bar Association), and Anna Larsson and Jan Christie (both Henry, Davis York).
It may come as surprise to anyone reading who did not attend conference this year, that the most memorable story from a presenter was arguably one about Tim Tam’s. For those at conference I’m quite sure that if I asked, “do you remember the one about Tim Tam’s?” the result would be an emphatic, “yes!”
As a newcomer to Australia from the UK, Tim Tam’s hold a special place in my heart as my wife frequently received ‘care parcels’ from home which only seemed to contain this popular chocolate; and like the presenter, Dr Hayley Bennett, I had little if any self-control when it came to Tim Tam’s, a biscuit not unlike, but so much better than, the UK alternative called ‘Penguins’. My future wife was none too happy to see another suitcase of Tim Tam’s mysteriously eaten.
Dr Bennett’s use of her own story was also rather appropriate to the broader themes of conference – no, not chocoholic addiction, rather the power of storytelling, rhetoric and narrative in learning and legal proceedings. At conference The Hon Justice Michael Slattery set that context and Dr Bennett who in one quick bite, communicated everything she had told us on topic of ‘The neuroscience of learning’ with a story about temptation and the humble Australian Tim Tam. Case proved.
Bennett’s focus on unconscious experience leading to intelligent decision-making also resonates with our work on ‘client experience in law’. We know from research that there’s what we would call, “fuzzy logic” to client behaviour. In answer to the question: how likely are you to recommend and return to use a law firm?, much of the response has to do with how a firm and its people makes the recipient ‘feel’. You could say, “it’s the vibe of the thing”, to quote The Castle. Being new to Australia, I’d never seen this clip until it was played at the conference.
Arguably ‘good vibrations’ are key to the future value in client relationships: firms’ that focus on their service DNA, client experience skills and behaviours will profit from it. Terri Mottershead told conference delegates that learning professionals have a “box seat” in this development and I couldn’t agree more.
We use what Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey describe as ‘The Ultimate Question’ to help benchmark legal services. So would I return to conference and recommend it? The answer is CLEAA: We were educated and inspired but most importantly, “the vibe of the thing” led me to feel supported and excited to be a part of the legal community here in Australia. Having arrived one week earlier to settle and develop CXINLAW Australasia, that’s exactly what I was looking for.
Carl White is the Founding Director of CXINLAW which supports legal providers in the UK and Australasia in the development of client experience excellence email@example.com, LinkedIn http://linkd.in/1o3pmfA
Dale Boucher (inaugural Commissioner for Legal Services Regulation and CEO of the Uniform Legal Services Council) makes the draw for a bottle of champagne donated by Bulletpoints watched by Jonathan Seifman (CEO of Bulletpoints) and CLEAA President Ronwyn North,at the conference cocktail party hosted by the NSW Law Society.
State CLEAA events – Plan to be there
CPD for you – join in at meetings close to you. Treat yourself with a little personal CPD as well as catch up with CLEAA. In November we look forward to seeing you at:
Lunch meeting 12.30 – 2.00pm Tuesday 11 November – to be held at the Law Society of NSW. Mindfulness explained. Full details have been sent to all NSW CLEAA members – if you have not received that information contact Geraldine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lunch meeting 1.00pm Thursday 13 November – to be held at the Law Institute of Victoria. A range of topics will be discussed. Full details have been sent to all CLEAA members from Victoria – if you have not received that information contact email@example.com
CLEAA Blended Learning Workshop – 10 am – 1 pm, with lunch to follow, Friday 28 November – venue Bond University. At the date of preparing this newsletter notice of the workshop from the CLEAA secretariat was imminent. If you have not received it soon, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
News Jurisdictions, other than Australasia, of interest to L and D professionals
England and Wales
SRA releases consultation on Competencies for Solicitors
As was promised following the Solicitors Regulation Authority adoption of a radically different CPD regime for solicitors, the SRA launched, on 20 October, a three-month consultation setting out the standards for practice as a solicitor. The consultation runs until12 January 2015. The consultation seeks views on a new Competence Statement for solicitors, which defines the standard for admission and continued competence. The Statement is accompanied by a Threshold Standard and underpinning Statement of Legal Knowledge. All have been developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including practitioners, legal educators and consumers. Julie Brannan, Director of Education and Training says: “This consultation is the next step in our Training for Tomorrow programme of educational reform. The proposed Competence Statement and its accompanying documents define the standard for initial qualification and continuing practice as a solicitor. We have already had a high level of engagement from solicitors, consumers of legal services, academics, and training providers in its development”. Read about the consultation process and particularly what the competencies are here. The SRA has also released a short outline of the new regime and the timetable for its implantation here.
Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates
This scheme is the brainchild of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards and was to commence this year. That timing was delayed by judicial review proceedings (which were unsuccessful) and no the appeal against that decision has been dismissed. An article on the appeal is here. Attendees at the conference will possibly remember that Prof The Hon George Hampel SC referred to the scheme in his session and was not absolutely sure that it applied to more than just Barristers. It applies to all those with rights of audience in criminal matters including Solicitor Advocates.
Our Canadian sister organisation the Association of Continuing Legal Education Directors (ACLED) is a collection of CPD and Bar Admission directors from across Canada. There are approximately 40 members. It has a 2 day meeting annually. Eileen Mead, its outgoing president from Manitoba reports that It held is meeting this year in September. Day 1 was focussed on CPD and featured a roundtable on successes and challenges from the past year, an update on how each organisation has responded to anti-spam legislation, a presentation on the harmonisation of CPD requirements across Canada (not yet a project but one that the members would welcome) and its business meeting. Day 2 was the bar admission day (a bit like an APLEC meeting), with reports on ongoing national projects on a common law degree, national admission standards, national mobility and a national committee on accreditation. The day concluded with a presentation from the Institute of Chartered Accounts on how it has achieved in a relatively short time substantial progress towards harmonisation.
Centre for Legal Education
Many CLEAA members will remember the Centre for Legal Education. More so, since we featured its Director, Chris Roper, in our “What happened to…” column in May. Chris has supplied this information on the centre.
The Centre for Legal Education was an initiative of the Law Foundation of New South Wales which had, then, an objective to promote and advance legal education. It decided to funnel its support for that objective into a permanent centre that would conduct policy-oriented research and act as an information clearinghouse. From its inception in 1992 to 2000 the Centre was very active and had a number of projects, including providing a secretariat for CLEAA.
Unfortunately the Law Foundation’s funding was cut and it, in turn, had to focus its support down to work related to access to justice – and so the Centre’s funding eventually ceased, and its work largely came to an end. But the Centre continued to exist and, largely because of the energy of Professor David Barker, it continued to publish the Legal Education Digest, and it continues to be published to this day.
The Centre has been somewhat of an orphan – initially at the University of Newcastle after Law Foundation funding ceased, and then at the University of Technology, Sydney, and now at the University of Western Sydney (UWS). The current Dean at UWS, Professor Michael Adams, wants to see the Centre revived, not to its former ‘glory’ but to some extent, particularly as a research cluster within his School of Law.
One of the research projects which the Centre initiated in the 90s was a study of the career intentions of law students. This study essentially sought an understanding of two questions – which did law students choose to study law and what did they intend to do with their qualification after graduation. This latter question remains of considerable interest, given the number of law schools and law students – even more than there were at the time of the original study.
The Centre, in its new home, is in the process of undertaking this study again, initially of law students at UWS and later, hopefully, of a wider group of students. The project is being undertaken by Mr Paul Rogers and supported by a consultative committee, chaired by Chris Roper, the founding Director of the Centre. Students are now being surveyed and then the results will be analysed and a report prepared.
The Centre’s other major research project was of the career destinations of law graduates. It is hoped to replicate this study also, but it is a much larger project given that it is much harder to track down the graduates.
Continuing legal education continues to be within the Centre’s purview although there are no plans to undertake any work in that area at the moment.
Bringing together items of interest to members to browse
- Thoughts on how the architecture, design and delivery of training in the digital age draws from the past and looks to the future are found in The modern model for learning in the digital age. Read more.
- Mobile devices are a minefield for lawyers according to a new survey. Read more
- Want to become an Outlook expert? Here are the 18 best Outlook tips that can make handling your email and appointments quicker and easier. Read more.
- Old message in a new package – How to ask for things via email – an 8-step programme. Read more.
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