All professionals should keep a plan for their continued professional development; not just for their career development, but to make sure they are always ahead of the game and able to provide the best possible service to their clients. In fact, the Solicitors Regulation Authority mandates it as a requirement for your yearly competency declaration.
If you’re reading this, it means you care about making sure you’re the best lawyer you can be, and perhaps even that you are committed to making a change to the way you carry out your practice. So now is the time to reflect on your work and think: Where am I now and where do I want to be in the next few months or in the next year? (Well done – you’re already crossing off the ‘Reflect’ part of the SRA’s requirements.)
What’s hot right now?
If you work on cases involving financial remedies, or you want/need to work on such cases soon, there are a few key issues you might want to brush up on.
In the recent case of G v C  EWFC B35 (OJ), the judge dismissed a husband and wife’s cross applications to vary a Rose order. This creates a great deal of implications for Rose order cases in future, and you may wish to learn more about the issues surrounding this.
Perhaps you also saw our article about another recent case, RM and TM  EWFC 41. The case makes it clear that you should be aware of how issues of conduct can arise, and how to approach the case when they do.
Financial remedy cases are also impacted by financial abuse. A case where these issues arise could require enforcing proper disclosure, application for Legal Services Payment Orders, and reducing opportunities for further financial abuse, not to mention costs. You may wish to consider some training or revision of this area of work.
There is also the issue of parental relocation – something that could see an increase in cases after the end of lockdown restrictions. Applications by one parent to leave an area to relocate either to another area within the jurisdiction or outside are incredibly difficult emotionally for the clients involved. It is worth considering whether you are prepared to take on cases like this, ensure you know how to make the relocation application and understand the legal principles involved.
There have also been recent court decisions regarding pensions on divorce – an area that you should ensure you are well revised in. There is a significant lack of reported cases involving pensions on divorce, so it is worth ensuring you understand the courts’ approach to apportionment, LTA, offsetting and the continuing role of annuities in pension reports.
Where can I do some training on these issues?
Maybe we’re biased, but we think our virtual CPD event, LAW2021 Online: Family Law, is very good value, and it covers all of the above issues. For £149+vat you receive access to 6 hours of educational content from some of the profession’s most highly renowned speakers: Jonathan Walker-Kane and Elissa Da Costa-Waldman. Unlike other online courses, you don’t have to lock out a great deal of time from your diary, because the main lectures are all pre-recorded. But we still wanted to provide an experience where you can engage with the speakers and ask them questions directly, which is why the event includes a live Q&A session that slots nicely into a lunch break.
Book this Family Law online course here.
Non-Family learning considerations
You’re fully up to speed on your areas of law? Great stuff. You should also consider developing some of your other general lawyers’ skills. The SRA’s Competency Statement provides a comprehensive list of everything solicitors should make sure they can do effectively. Take the time to look through this and highlight anything which might flag as a shortcoming of your current practice.
Here are a few highlights:
First of all, ensure you understand the standards and regulations (STARs) in full. Trevor Hellawell MA (Cantab) delivered an excellent webinar on this subject last year.
If you work with client accounts, you must also ensure you fully understand the SRA’s accounts rules and anti-money laundering. Now is a great time to revise these subjects, so take a look at our Accounts Rules and AML Update webinars.
Pick up a new skill
More lawyers than ever are interested in offering will drafting as a service. Adding this extra string to your professional bow is a great way to bring in additional revenue and expand your overall skillset.
The Solicitors Group just recently held an online Introduction to Wills event, which is now available in recorded form. You can find out more about this course here.
Join the conversation
You can discuss and discover more about learning and development opportunities in our LinkedIn group. Request access here.