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The ‘great resignation’ is looming for the legal profession, driven in part by the disconnection that many lawyers feel in the current climate. With law firms facing an exodus of talented staff, finding ways to build engagement is critical to retain key team members. Lawyers’ continuing professional development requirements – often dismissed as simple compliance – can actually be a great tool for building a sense of achievement, connection and purpose within your team. Here are some ways you can leverage CPD to strengthen your team.

  1. Help your team feel reinvigorated in their roles

Most of us can relate to the excitement of starting a new job – we’re eager to prove ourselves and keen to learn. But once we’ve been in the same role for some time, everything that was once new has become routine. One of the many benefits of continuing professional development is that it can help to reinvigorate someone’s role and fight career stagnation.

Encourage your lawyers to consider ongoing education as an opportunity to explore new areas of law, learn new skills, and possibly discover new passions. These newfound skills and interests can reignite a sense of achievement. In turn, this can help your team feel more motivated and engaged – and less likely to move on to what appears to be greener pastures.

  1. Encourage skills-based CPD to build confidence and competence

Lawyers often fall into the trap of focusing heavily on substantive law when completing their CPD, and see other areas like building professional skills purely from a compliance standpoint. The truth is that CPD provides lawyers with an excellent opportunity to develop important skills such as self-awareness, communication and leadership. Building on a soft-skills “toolkit” each year is a great way to improve everyday interactions with colleagues and clients, build resilience and improve efficiency.

Encouraging your lawyers to plan their professional development with larger career goals in mind – not just short-term compliance requirements – ensures they build crucial skills as well as legal knowledge. This process will also provide you with a better understanding of their underlying motivations and career goals and how you can satisfy these – so they can continue to build their career with your firm, rather than somewhere else.

  1. Equip your team to manage hybrid work successfully

Almost all law firms have been forced to manage remote work during the past two years due to COVID-19. Now it seems hybrid work is set to become the new normal. Many managing partners report an emerging trend for lawyers to work two out of five days remotely. While hybrid work brings greater flexibility, it also comes with challenges, particularly around communication, culture and wellbeing.

You can be proactive in recommending educational offerings that specifically address these challenges, you can help your lawyers to maximise the benefits of hybrid work while minimising the potential pitfalls to improve connection.

  1. Provide flexible learning options

Although there are twelve months for lawyers to complete their CPD requirements, the reality is that most are time poor and often leave it until the last minute. You can reduce the stress of this last-minute rush by providing lawyers with different options for how they can complete their CPD – including online. The flexibility of online CPD means that lawyers can log in and complete their training from their desk, instead of needing to take half a day or a full day out of the office to travel and attend an in-person event.

Lawyers learning online also often have the opportunity to hear from high profile presenters or experts that may not be available locally. So it can be a great opportunity to hear from someone inspiring, build specific expertise, or learn something new – all of which can build engagement.

About the Author

Sarah Mateljan is Director of LawCPD, a leading provider of online CPD for lawyers in Australia offering individual courses and corporate options for firms. Learn more at LawCPD.com.au/corporate