In reviewing the previous year’s CPD Plan and activities, the following questions can assist lawyers in their evaluation:
- What activities did I undertake pursuant to last year’s CPD Plan?
- Why did I select this activity and how will it help my practice?
- How did each CPD activity improve my competence as a lawyer?
- Did I meet my goals and objectives?
- Is further learning or professional development required in any of the areas identified?
- What will be carried forward to my future CPD Plan?
Lawyers should regularly assess the implementation of their CPD goals throughout the year. Quarterly reviews are a good start. Lawyers should ask:
- How am I doing with implementing the activities identified in my CPD Plan?
- Were the activities selected beneficial?
- Did the activities selected have the intended effect, tangible or intangible?
- Did the activities selected have unintended consequences, positive or negative?
- Am I meeting my CPD goals as set out in my CPD Plan?
- How are my CPD activities enhancing my competence and the quality of legal services that I deliver to my clients?
Goal setting with measurable outcomes can assist in the above process. It is important, in the development of the CPD plan to plan, implement, evaluate and reflect.
Through its mandatory CPD Requirement, the Society encourages all Nova Scotia lawyers to develop a “reflective practice” – a more engaged method of self-assessment and reflection in assessing competence.
In completing their annual CPD Plans and following through on them, lawyers are expected to reflect on their skills, knowledge and practice; to assess what is done well, deficiencies, areas for improvement and areas of new law or learning to acquire; and to conduct self-reflection on their values and aspirations. By completing these self-assessments when developing a CPD Plan, lawyers should recognize areas for growth that can be built into their lifelong legal learning. Lawyers should ask themselves where they need improvement; if any ethical issues have arisen that should be explored; and what opportunities exist to access education to meet their CPD needs.
In order to meet the requirements of a CPD Plan, lawyers must conduct a needs assessment in order to build their learning objectives and priorities for the year. Taking a reflective practice approach to CPD planning will ensure that the program supports and encourages all lawyers, even those with significant seniority and high knowledge and skill levels, to improve their competence in a way that best addresses their own personal practice needs.
To meet the goal of enhancing lawyer competence in the delivery of legal services, it is necessary for lawyers to plan their CPD activities in accordance with the Rules, implement those activities and then evaluate whether the activities undertaken in the past year were effective in improving and enhancing competence in the delivery of legal services.
If you have questions about how to review your CPD Plan or conduct a needs assessment, please contact the Society by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the NSBS CPD line at 902 422 1491 ext. 371. We will respond to your inquiry within five business days.