Qualifying as a lawyer is not the end of your education by any means, and continuing professional development (CPD) is a fundamental aspect of the job – particularly as new verdicts set precedents that will shape future law.
In order to stay at the top of your game, you need to be able to work in the context of the current legal landscape – and not just the one that was in place at the time of your initial training.
Meanwhile, if you want to increase the range of services you are able to specialise in, it might mean learning about an area of law that you are not familiar with to any great extent.
In either case, the internet makes it easy to keep up with your CPD online, and there are plenty of areas of law in which courses are available to help you hone your skills.
Property is the bread and butter of many lawyers’ careers, as conveyancing work can often be fairly straightforward, and tends not to involve any victims or vulnerable individuals.
But this is an area in which the legal landscape changes surprisingly quickly, particularly where environmental considerations are concerned.
Recent years have seen Home Information Packs become mandatory and then practically fade from usage altogether – now only an Energy Performance Certificate is needed, but it is important to understand the legalities of this document, what it must say, who can compile it, and how long it remains applicable for.
Compensation claims often get negative coverage in the press, as they have come to be seen as spurious by onlookers; but for people who have suffered a loss of earnings due to personal injury, compensation remains a valid course of redress.
Training in this area covers everything from how to get the highest possible payout for your client, to how to structure your fees in the appropriate way, and there are even related courses that look at issues like damage caused by dogs and horses.
Sessions can be quite brief, covering only the basic information needed to act in an informed manner, but that can make an important difference to your ability to carry out your job to the best of your ability.
One of the less obvious areas of CPD is marketing and PR – disciplines that are not directly related to your role as a lawyer, but which the modern practitioner must be able to master if they are to compete for business in the 21st century.
Sessions on how to sell law effectively as an online service sit alongside guides of how to use social networks like Twitter and even Pinterest in the appropriate manner.
Perhaps the most useful for individual lawyers is training on how to use LinkedIn, the business social network, on which it is well worth maintaining a profile – if only so you can keep track of all of the CPD activities you undertake over the course of several years.