Continuing professional development: The range of options

The Law Society of BC’s Continuing Professional Development program is set to begin on January 1, 2009. Throughout 2008, the Benchers’ Bulletin is running a series of articles to assist lawyers with meeting their CPD requirements. This is the second article in the series.

The framework of the Law Society’s new Continuing Professional Development program endorses a wide range of learning opportunities.

“One of our goals is to ensure lawyers can meet the requirements of the new program through a variety of educational opportunities,” said Lawyer Education Advisory Committee chair Bruce LeRose, QC of Thompson, LeRose & Brown in Trail. “When the program starts in 2009, we want lawyers to be able to select the type of learning that best suits them and their practices.”

The committee’s recommendations go far beyond conventional, classroom-based courses and endorse non-traditional educational programs, such as CBA section meetings, teaching, in-house seminars, on-line courses and writing.

“We want to encourage, not just education, but also engagement in learning,” said LeRose. “The practice of law requires interaction with other lawyers and discussion of ideas. We want this to become part of our learning culture.”

The committee will make a final report to the Benchers by July 2008 and the program is scheduled to start January 1, 2009. Detailed information will be available before the program begins.

Continuing Professional Development program — approved activities

The Benchers have already approved a wide variety of education activities for the Continuing Professional Development program:

  • attendance in person, as well as online or by telephone, provided there is an opportunity to ask questions, at courses offered by the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, the Trial Lawyers’ Association of BC, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the Law Society of BC or a Canadian law school;
  • attendance in person, as well as online or by telephone, provided there is an opportunity to ask questions, at Law Society-approved, law-related courses offered by other organizations;
  • video repeats of an approved course provided it is done with one or more other lawyers so there is an opportunity for discussion;
  • completion of an online self-study course offered by a provider approved by the Law Society, provided that a testing component is included in the course;
  • teaching a law-related course (one
    hour of teaching will equal three hours of reporting credits to take into account preparation time);
  • attending CBA section meetings or education-related activities offered by
    a local or county Bar association;
  • participation in (including teaching at) an education program offered by a lawyer’s firm or employer provided the program is offered in a group setting;
  • participation in a study group of two or more people provided the group’s study focuses on law-related activities. Guidelines for study groups are still being developed; and
  • writing law books or articles relating to the study or practice of law for publication.

If you have questions or comments about the Law Society’s pending Continuing Professional Development program, please email Alan Treleaven, Director of Education and Practice, at