Janet Rieu-Clarke is the Accredited Paralegal member of our Professional Practice team.

I apologise in advance if this week’s blog comes across as a little scolding and a little less chatty than normal but I really feel that we need to address the elephant in the room …. CPD!

As we approach the end of the first month of renewal I have noticed an increase in enquiries about CPD, specifically asking what constitutes CPD, what doesn’t, how many hours are needed and when does the CPD practice year run from and to …. so, I thought we could all do with a little refresher.

What is CPD?

CPD is any training or learning activity which is designed to improve your professional knowledge, understanding and skills. It is a fundamental part of being a professional, along with 'on the job training', CPD helps to ensure competence over the course of your career.

At the moment you are required to undertake ten hours of CPD every practice year – at least five hours must be verifiable and up to five hours can be made up of personal study. This requirement is the same for full-time and part-time paralegals and the CPD year runs from 1 February to 31 January.

In order for an activity to count as verifiable CPD, it should meet the following criteria:

  • Have educational aims and objectives relevant to your development
  • Have clearly anticipated outcomes (e.g. clarity about what you expect to learn from attending the course)
  • Have quality controls (e.g. you should be given the opportunity to give feedback or ask questions).
  • Be verifiable (e.g. able to be evidenced).

 Your verifiable CPD should be relevant to your practice area in order that you can prove you are continually improving your knowledge and understanding of your chosen area.

Personal study may include:

  • Reading relevant reports, journals or legal papers
  • General reading of professional magazines (e.g. The Journal)
  • Non-structured coaching or mentoring sessions
  • Writing on law e.g. law books, journals, publications for clients, clients own publication, newspapers and magazines
  • Research which relates to legal topics or has relevance to the practice/organization which results in some form of written document, precedent, memorandum etc.
What is not CPD?

Generally training such as internal compliance training, case management systems training, departmental or team meetings or other internal meetings would not be counted towards relevant CPD as they have no educational aims. The exception to this rule would be internal AML or GDPR training.

Logging your CPD

It is your responsibility to log your CPD online and this should be completed no later then 31t January in the current practice year. Failure to complete your full CPD can result in membership renewal delays.  

If you are off on maternity leave or long-term sick leave then you may apply to the Accredited Paralegal Committee for a waiver. 

And finally...

I do understand that everyone is busy and it is so easy to let your CPD slide when you are being chased to meet your monthly fee target, or complete that urgent transaction but CPD is important and it is the reason the Law Society can claim that accredited paralegals provide the gold standard for non-solicitor services.  It is our assurance to our employers, future employers and clients that our practice area knowledge is relevant and up to date.

As with anything paralegal  related, if you aren’t sure just ask. I can always be contacted on accreditedparalegals@lawscot.org.uk or 0131 476 8352

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about our Accredited Paralegal scheme and how it works.