Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Risk Management Education (RME) can benefit any professional in the present world. When it comes to the legal scenario, the need increases even more. Since the turn of the century, the demand has turned into a requirement.
In a country like Hong Kong, every legal professional practicing as a lawyer needs to fulfill CPD and RME points’ requirements.
You must be wondering, what is CPD and RME? Why is it so important? If it is so necessary, where can we acquire these points?
Let’s take a dive and understand each aspect in-depth:
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)-
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the legal knowledge that continues after a lawyer has completed his/her degree in law, and as in most cases, is practicing as a lawyer.
The current CPD scheme was introduced in 1998 and is mandatory for every lawyer and trainee with a practicing certificate since 1 January 2003. In some cases, exceptions get considered.
CPD is an ongoing process that continues throughout a professional’s career. CPD allows a Lawyer to maintain the existing knowledge and keep evolving with the ever-changing legal environment. It also helps you in measuring how far you have come in your career.
In simpler terms, CPD is essential for a lawyer’s livelihood. Depending on the license, certification, or designation, a professional must earn a certain number of CPD points.
In Hong Kong, a Lawyer must earn 15 CPD accreditation points, whereas a trainee lawyer must get 30 CPD points by the end of his employment period.
To learn is to live. These CPD points enable a lawyer to learn throughout their careers and stay productive for their clients.
Long-Term Benefits of CPD:
1. Fresh skills and knowledge throughout your legal career
CPD provides lawyers a broad perspective on society and the required solutions to take. Lawyers must acquire the necessary CPD points to gain fresh insights and have a proper understanding of what is happening in the world.
It is good to be fluent in your existing knowledge, but you will get left behind in the competition if you fail to cope with the changing legal world.
2. Keep track of your development and growth.
One of the most valuable things that CPD instills in a lawyer is the attitude of- Never settle in less. Since CPD is an ongoing cycle, it will never let a lawyer become complacent with his/her existing knowledge. In contrast, CPD allows you to keep up to date.
In this way, CPD enables you to keep track of your development and shows you how your skills and knowledge have matured over time.
3. Keep up to date with the latest trends and technologies in law.
CPD plays a significant role in helping lawyers keep hold of their existing clients and attract new ones. How? CPD expands a lawyer’s expertise beyond the type of work they were already doing and what they must be doing to keep up with the competition.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain are just a few technologies that you need to be aware of to stay ahead of the power curve and become more productive & effective.
Risk Management Education (RME)
As essential as CPD, Risk Management Education (RME) trains lawyers to avoid and deal with potential risks. These risks can be related to their law firm or their profession. A lawyer must be prepared enough to handle any form of risk.
RME courses prepare a legal professional to manage risk and avoid any negative impact. Indeed, we cannot plan for everything that might happen to us, but we can always minimize such events’ effects. RME trains you to take all the necessary steps to get prepared for the unexpected.
Many changes in the legal world can lead to financial risks as well, and RME can help you ride out those changes.
Long-Term Benefits of RME:
1. Cost Management
One of the critical decisions that any professional faces in their careers is- How to manage cost? RME trains a lawyer to effectively plan and execute the expenses, which helps lawyers avoid any financial risk.
2. Improved Work Environment, More Success
A healthy office environment leads to tremendous success. RME courses train lawyers to take high-quality, timely decisions to avoid the risk of any potential conflicts or stress between the staff. These timely decisions will lead to a more engaged workforce.
3. Loss Prevention
The primary focus of a law firm is to prevent any loss. RME training helps reduce legal incidents, malpractice claims, and ensures IT systems’ security, which leads to data protection.
What happens if you fail to earn CPD points on time?
As mentioned above, earning CPD & RME points will help a legal professional throughout their careers. Therefore, there are strict actions in place for the failure of not achieving them on time.
In Lawyers’ case, their practicing certificated will get delayed or cancelled if they fail to gain the points for the previous CPD year (1 November – 31 October). To avoid this, they can earn the CPD points by 15 December of the following CPD year or give valid reasons for the failure.
For trainees, failure to earn CPD points will lead to a penalty. However, a dishonest answer can even lead to the delay or cancellation of their contract.
What happens if you fail to earn RME points on time?
When a lawyer asks for a renewal of their practicing certificate, they must fulfill their RME needs. Therefore, the failure to earn RME points will lead to the same punishments as failing to earn CPD points for both lawyers and trainees.