Legal Career

Get the most from your CPD – with these strategic tips

If you’re relatively new to practising law, the world of continual professional development (CPD) is likely a little foreign to you. 

With the yearly requirements and range of mandatory subjects to tick off, you might even find CPD a little stressful and frustrating.  


Sound familiar? You’re far from alone.  


Many new lawyers share these sentiments. And it sends them down a path of enrolling in the cheapest and fastest courses to get through CPD season. 


The good news? This doesn’t have to be your relationship with CPD. With a little strategic thinking, you can make CPD work for you. You can sharpen your career direction, improve your confidence – and enjoy the process.  


Start with the basics 

Many newly practising lawyers have a good understanding of the law, but feel they still need to hone their soft skills.


For that reason, newly practising savvy lawyers use their CPD as an opportunity to master a range of fundamental practical skills.

Some of the most important skills you will need during your career include:


Drafting: The ability to draft documents quickly and accurately is vital to your success as a lawyer. It’s also one of the most daunting areas for new legal professionals – and it’s not something many lawyers learnt how to do at uni.


Time to upskill?
- Skill series: Unpacking commercial contracts 

- Wills skills workshop: drafting essentials (NSW)


Presenting and oral advocacy: No matter the legal field you’re in, the ability to present coherently and concisely is a vital skill you’ll need on the job. By upskilling in this area, you’ll build your presenting skills – and your confidence. 


Time to upskill? Enrol in The fundamentals of oral advocacy.

Guide to advocacy, court etiquette and protocol NSW VIC SA QLD

Managing ethical issues: Just like death and taxes, you’re certain to encounter some curly situations and suspicious clients at various points in your legal career. Knowing how to identify red flags and manage professional scepticism will help you to navigate these grey areas.


Time to upskill? Enrol in these on-demand CPD programs
- Ethical considerations for family law practitioners

- Guide to professional conduct & discipline for lawyers NSW, VIC, WA QLD SA


Stress management: Medical students receive training in stress management and vicarious trauma. A lawyer’s training in resilience can be variable – depending on what institution they study through. 


And whatever their training to date, many newly practising lawyers feel like there is still room for them to upskill. That’s why CPD presents a perfect opportunity to develop this important skill. 


Time to upskill? Enrol in Mental health first aid for legal professionals.


Identify your skills gaps

The variety of CPD courses available can be overwhelming. A good way to narrow down your options is by assessing your weaknesses.

You can identify these gaps by:


  • Thinking about any day-to-day struggles you consistently face (for example, you might find it difficult to organise your thoughts when drafting – so decide to focus in on this area)
  • Reflecting on any parts of your role you don’t enjoy, and whether your feelings might stem from finding them too challenging
  • Asking any colleagues, work mentors or firm partners where they see room for improvement in your work

And remember, when weighing on your strengths and weakness – be honest and kind to yourself.


Think about your career goals

Planning your CPD is the perfect time to take stock of your career goals. 


During uni and your PLT, it’s likely you mapped out a rough career trajectory – without the real-world experience to know whether you would thrive and enjoy the field you’re pursuing. 


If you’re happy on your chosen path, use this opportunity to delve deeper into CPD courses that will propel you forward.


But if you’re not, and you’re questioning the path you’re currently on, use it to dip your toes into different areas without the commitment.


Make strategic course choices

When it comes to selecting your courses, it’s all about working smarter – not just harder. Here’s how.


Bundling your courses: With a Mandatory CPD Bundle, you can tick off all your mandatories in one fell swoop. These popular bundles allow you to complete the three vital points across ethics, practice management and business skills. 


Relieve time constraints with our new Interactive On-demand CPD Bundles and Subscriptions :  Ideal if your schedule is making it difficult to attend training at a set date or location, 


Complete a specific course of interest: If you don’t want to commit to a full-year subscription – and you’re interested in just one or two specific courses – The College of Law’s On-Demand is the answer.  


On-Demand allows you to cover off all your mandatories or complete your substantive law points.


Nab half your yearly CPD points – with Mental Health First Aid training: Not only does this training equip you with a vital skill in today’s legal world, it’s also one of the best value-for-money courses on our schedule. 


For $249 you’ll get five hours’ worth of training, 5 CPD points – and the skills and confidence to support your colleagues who may be experiencing mental health issues. 


Managing your CPD long-term

CPD runs for a year from 1 April to 31 March.  Avoid putting it off. Space it out. And find time in between to rest and recuperate. 


Time management not your forte? Then why not sharpen organisational and energy management skills with our on-demand course Manage your time, manage yourself .


Ready to explore your CPD options?

Visit The College of Law’s full range of CPD courses, and make some smart, strategic choices.