Don’t get suspended, do your CPD

Ontario’s lawyers are scrambling to complete their continuing professional development requirement, and the Law Society of Upper Canada is scrambling to help them.

Tom ConwayWith the looming Dec. 31 deadline for the first year of mandatory CPD, Bencher Thomas Conway, who chairs the society’s professional development and competence committee, told Convocation today that many of its remaining CPD offerings are already oversubscribed. But work remains to be done to make sure all lawyers fulfil the necessary requirements.

Any lawyer or paralegal who has been practising for more than two years needs 12 hours of CPD, including a minimum of three hours of professional responsibility and ethics.

To report their hours to the law society, lawyers and paralegals in Ontario must log on and register them on the LSUC’s online portal. However, about 15 per cent have yet to even register on the portal.

“Phone calls are being made, notices are being given, e-mails are being sent,” Conway said. “We want to make sure as few members as possible get an administrative suspension a the end of this. And we certainly don’t want anybody saying nobody told me.”

LSUC CEO Malcolm Heins told benchers that the law society’s CPD offerings have had 80,000 registered attendees for 2011. The previous high for annual registrants was in 2007 was 19,500.

One recent session, Ethical Considerations in an Age of Technology, alone attracted 2,500 attendees for a live Webinar.

According to Heins, about 60 per cent of the attendees were at free sessions put on by the law society.

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