How to obtain Law CPD points (NSW)
All NSW lawyers must complete a minimum of 10 continuing professional development (CPD) points each year to maintain their practising certificate. CPD points are self-assessed, and it is the lawyer’s responsibility to record their activities. The NSW CPD rules are set out in the Legal Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 (NSW) under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (LPUL). NSW lawyers are required to obtain their 10 CPD points during the CPD year which runs 1st April – 31st March. NSW Lawyers must earn at least 1 CPD point from each of the following compulsory fields:
- Ethics and professional responsibility;
- Practice management and business skills;
- Professional skills; and
- Substantive law.
Under Rule 8.1 of the LPUL, CPD activities include seminars, workshops, lectures, conferences, discussion groups, multimedia or web-based programs, private study of audio/visual material or any other educational activity, research or publication, and postgraduate studies.
Hearsay The Legal Podcast helps lawyers obtain their CPD points by offering subscriptions for lawyers to access audio/visual material (capped at 5 CPD points per year), as well as our web-based multimedia e-learning program and materials, which can be used to obtain the balance of your points. The Hearsay platform keeps track of any CPD points you earn with us, making it easier for lawyers to satisfy their CPD requirements and be prepared in the event of an audit from the Law Society. Our website also includes a Blog where we publish content relevant to our recorded episodes to keep you up to date with legal news. We offer multiple subscription options to suit your CPD needs, including the following:
- Law firms & teams
- 10 episodes, 1 click for lawyers in NSW
- 10 episodes, 1 click for lawyers outside NSW
- 5 episodes, 1 click.
In addition to the mandatory 10, continuing professional development (CPD) points lawyers are required to obtain every CPD year, newly Accredited Specialists in NSW are required to complete an extra 5 CPD points between 1 November – 30 April in their specialist practice area in the year following their accreditation.
To maintain their Specialist Accreditation, Accredited Specialists must complete 10 CPD points for each area of accreditation during the Specialist Accreditation CPD year 1st May – 30th April. CPD points used towards a lawyer’s Special Accreditation renewal cannot also be claimed as part of their mandatory 10 CPD points to renew their practising certificate. As usual, CPD points are self-assessed, and it is the lawyer’s responsibility to record their activities.
The Law Society of NSW recognises Accredited Specialists in the following areas:
- Business law
- Children’s law
- Commercial litigation
- Criminal law
- Dispute resolution
- Employment and industrial
- Family law
- Government and administrative law
- Immigration law
- Local government and planning law
- Personal injury
- Planning and environment
- Property law
- Public law
- Taxation law
- Wills and Estates.
CPD training and online CPD is available through Hearsay The Legal Podcast thanks to our interactive learning content across a range of legal topics and compulsory CPD point areas. Our most popular episode to date is Episode 4 ‘Risky Business: Handling Professional Responsibility Complaints and Claims’ with Jennifer McMillan from Lawcover. In that episode, we discuss your Lawcover professional indemnity policy and how to handle a complaint or claim made against you or your firm. We suggest that this episode is eligible for an ethics and professional responsibility CPD point. Here’s an excerpt from our guest Jennifer McMillan:
“Yeah, we really like to look under the type of claim and try and get to the nub of what could have been done differently to produce a different outcome in a situation. And so, we ask for every claim we ask our claims solicitor to identify what the underlying cause is, and the biggest underlying cause of claims has something to do with poor communication between the solicitor and the client. So, it might be that the instructions weren’t properly followed, or there was a failure to give advice that should have been given, or perhaps a failure to be clear about what the extent of your retainer was. So those sorts of things account for, by far, the largest number of claims, but other causes of claims that frequently occur are things like document problems. So, errors with drafting, not checking documents before they leave the office, or sometimes it’s a document control issue where you might have had a commercial contract go back and forth and back and forth, and then for some reason it’s not the final version that gets executed. And then the third biggest reason why claims are made is something to do with systems, and often that will be a failure to properly manage calendars, a failure to make sure that important dates aren’t missed, it could be hearing dates and they might be costs are thrown away that lead to personal costs orders against a solicitor, or it could be things like the last day for filing a statement of claim, or the last day for exercising an option to purchase property, those sorts of things and not having a system where files are brought up for review consistently, or not having a good system for supervising junior solicitors, those sorts of things can really lead to claims.”
In one of our other popular episodes, Episode 29 ‘The Moment of Decision: How Judges Judge’ with the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, he tells us about the difficult task that begins after closing submissions end – deciding a case according to law – through a deep-dive into one of his more difficult decisions: Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs v B  HCA 20. Here’s an excerpt from our guest the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG:
“And therefore, I learned in my law school days from Professor Julius Stone that judges have leeways for choice. That doesn’t mean that they are free to do whatever they want, but they have a space. And the space will be between outer boundaries that fix where they will be what you might call a more literalistic interpretation and a case where there will be a more purposive interpretation of statutory or constitutional language or of the language of a previous common law decision. So peoples’ inclination to find that space and to recognise it and to see its availability and then to explain why they move the needle a little bit to the right or to the left on a particular occasion, is both an exciting and interesting aspect and it’s the way our legal system has operated for centuries.”