| May 12, 2011
It's hard to find a handful of lawyers that agree on anything, much less 1,092 of them. But that's what happened when last month more than 1,400 lawyers weighed in through the Law Society of BC's survey. As it so happens, 78% of lawyers agreed that CPD should be mandatory in British Columbia.
Wow. That's a significant number and one I wasn't expecting. I expected a number of lawyers to balk at the thought of the time away from busy practices or the cost to the bottom line. But upon reflection, I think it says something about how we understand the role of learning in law. Many of us got into law because it gave us a chance to learn for a lifetime. In this dynamic field where the landscape is always changing, we need to be constantly expanding our maps.
What's more, I think that it's more than just what's good for us - it's what's good for the public's confidence in us. When continuing education is mandatory it lets the public know that we are a profession committed to getting better all the time.
So we agree that it's a good thing but how do you practically get this accomplished? Over 70% of lawyers who took the survey agreed that cost was a barrier to accomplishing their credits. The second most commonly cited barrier was time. Overcoming these barriers is something that we here at the Library are really interested in helping with.
We have done our own survey that just closed last week. In this survey we asked you about what kinds of training you were interested in. In particular, we found out that you are most interested in training specific to your practice area or on free or low cost research tools. You also told us that you liked live webinars and in person seminars. You can check out some of the results here:
I want you to know that we have heard you and we will be working over the coming months to deliver just this.
And we've already started. First of all, we have the ability for you to take a free online course for finding cases on point that you can take in your own time for one hour of free credit.
In addition, we are offering free, in person training on LawSource that is tailored to your practice area and needs. Registrations are currently set up for the Vancouver location but we would be happy to talk with you about setting this up in other locations around the province.
We've also started working with various partner organizations and CBA subsections to show you legal research tools that focus on free before fee and will continue to be rolling these out over the coming months. Keep an eye on our website for notices of upcoming sessions.
Although not currently for credit, we also offer you ways to expand your legal research skills with easy to access video tutorials on subjects like legislative note ups and finding precedents.
Finally, we're working behind the scenes to develop training opportunities that are responsive to your needs and would love to hear your ideas.
Whether you're in the 78% that support the mandatory CPD credits or the 12% that wish they would go away, the CPD system appears to be here to stay. So let us help - getting practical, cost effective CPD credits is something we can all agree on.