News release

SRA research looks into legal firms' training systems

A new research report, to be published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on 17 September, reveals the wide range of education and training processes used across the legal profession.

The SRA commissioned IFF Research to examine training systems used by a variety of different law firms and ABSs. The report is based on in-depth interviews and a survey of 750 SRA-regulated entities and is part of the Authority's work on continuing competence and the development of professional standards.

Other key findings in the report consider the management, recording and monitoring of education and training activities. It found that:

  • Seven out of ten firms already have formal training processes in place and monitor staff development through performance appraisal
  • Current planning and management of education and training activities varies depending on organisational size—with Compliance Officers for Legal Practice (COLPs) managing the majority of learning activities. However, in larger firms, a range of people carried responsibility for overseeing training activities
  • Nearly all legal firms, irrespective of size, keep records on the nature and amount of time spent on training

The report indicates that ongoing professional development is engrained for solicitors across the range of regulated entities. It found that a wide range of less formal training was undertaken, including work shadowing, mentoring or case-file discussions. Given the effectiveness of these on-the-job activities, it recommends that they should be considered an integral part of continuing professional development

Respondents were also asked what they would look for in terms of future guidance on education, training and learning. Common themes which emerged included a broader definition of 'training', clearer guidelines on competency, guidance on implementing training plans, and how to ensure quality and effectiveness of training provision.

Julie Brannan, SRA Director of Education and Training, said: "This report confirms that education and training practices are well-embedded across the profession. It demonstrates the value of less formal approaches to learning and supports our new approach to continuing competence."

The report forms part of the work under the Training for Tomorrow programme.

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