November has finally arrived for all you eager beavers who want to start on the SRA Statement of Solicitor Competence!

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Are you aware of the Solicitor Competence Statement or do you need a quick recap?

There is no longer a need to commit to a specific number of training hours (16 hours) or accredited training (the SRA no longer accredit training). Currently there is a voluntary system in place until November 2016 when it will become compulsory.

Solicitors will now have full responsibility to undertake training and development to ensure that they comply with Principle Five of the SRA Principles (2011), namely that they are able to deliver a proper standard of service in their practice areas. There is also an expectation that solicitors will continue to ensure that they can comply with Principle 5.

To assist solicitors, on the 11th march 2015, the SRA Board approved the publication of a Competence Statement – http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/policy/training-for-tomorrow/work- streams.page#Collection_1

Competencies are characteristic sets of behaviours, which have been shown to be associated with achieving successful outcomes in organisation. They are underlying behaviours, which enable people to shine in a particular role. They are the factors that distinguish ‘the best from the rest’ in a given role.

The SRA have provided Competence Statements in the following four areas that they require Solicitors to assess and develop (where applicable):

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  • A. Ethics, professionalism and judgement (five sections with twenty-two behavioural characteristics)
  • B. Technical legal practice (seven sections with thirty-two behavioural characteristics with a Threshold Statement*)
  • C. Managing themselves and their own work (three sections with twenty-five behavioural characteristics)
  • D. Working with other people (three sections with twelve behavioural characteristics).The full set of behavioural competencies can be found on the SRA website or http://www.yorkshirecoursesforlawyers.co.uk/sra_competence/ *There are also six levels within technical competence B contained in the Threshold Statement as follows:
  1. Functioning knowledge
  2. Standard of work
  3. Autonomy
  4. Complexity
  5. Perception of context
  6. Innovation and originality

levels in the Threshold Statement apply to the seven sections of the Technical Competence B, and you need to assess yourself against the appropriate level. The ‘Threshold Standard’ for newly qualifieds is set at number three – Autonomy.

The SRA have also set out an underpinning Statement of Legal Knowledge that identifies what is required for thirteen specific technical areas that NQ’s will need to review against their current knowledge and understanding – see http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/competence-statement/statement-legal-knowledge.page

From this information you will be able to assess your learning activities for your Technical Legal Competence B) so that you remain up to date to comply with Principle Five.

 Seven Steps to enable you to switch to the new system now that November 2016 is here!

  1. Competence A2 requires that you reflect on your capability and potential in your day-to-day legal practice, and that this is documented. As soon as possible document your self-reflection using whichever method suits your legal practice.

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  1. Check out source material if you don’t have a system to use:
  • The SRA website links above take you to their information.
  • Or you can purchase our highly popular workshop materials which provides an ‘easy to use’ guide to the SRA Statement of Solicitor Competence and the learning and development framework. Our 45 pages of notes include 24 ideas that can be used to train you (and your solicitors) cost effectively. You will also find a section about introducing change which will give you a head start for implementing this new learning and development framework or adapting your own to take into account the SRA method. N.B. If you already have a competency method of learning and development that fits your legal business then you can continue to use this. 

  1. In order to complete any document planning your leaning and development for the next 12 months, the SRA has suggested on their website (6th March 2016) that you think about:
  • What you need to do 

  • Why you need to it 

  • When you need to do it 

  • How you will do it 

  • Prioritising your learning and development needs. 

  1. Once you have answered the above questions complete a development plan. The SRA have provided a Development Plan template for you to complete if you do not have one of your own that suits your legal practice. 
When completing your ‘learning’ planning document or the SRA’s Development Plan, you will need to set out how you are going to address your identified areas for improvement over the next 3/6/12 months.

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  1. Please note that there are now lots of ways to address learning needs that are recognised as appropriate by the SRA. They have listed several on their website from formal to informal training (including shared learning and file reviews) and many more. To assist you I have designed specific coaching and training packages tailored to the Competencies A, C-D called ‘Defining and Documenting your Brilliance’ See http://www.yorkshirecoursesforlawyers.co.uk for further details and pricing.
  1. As you work through your plan, you will need to capture your progress. If you do not have a development record then you can start with the SRA’s base template. We (SRA) do not prescribe a specific approach, however, for each of your identified learning and development need(s) you may find it useful to record:
    1. What you did; 

    2. How it was related to ensuring your competence; 

    3. What you learnt; 

    4. When the activity was completed.’ From SRA website 6th March 2016. 


You may also include what could have been done better and how. What are you going to do differently in the future?

  1. Solicitors have individual responsibility to follow this process so don’t wait for your firm to decide what system they want to apply, start using the SRA base templates. Remember this framework is designed to help your legal practice develop its people to continued to thrive.

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Please contact ann@yorkshirecoursesforlawyers.co.uk if you require more information on:

  •  The Statement of Solicitor Competence and its impact for you and/or
How to introduce a competency based assessment process in to your practice
  • and/or
Cost effective training or coaching package designed to support Competencies A, C and D.

So who am I?

Ann creates and leads powerful, enjoyable and motivational learning experiences.107

Ann Page is a Top 100 Lawyer, with an impressive CV over a 28-year career as a senior in-house lawyer delivering first class legal services. She has over 17 years experience of competence based systems and was instrumental in putting together seven specific competencies for lawyers.

Ann has delivered leadership, management and interpersonal skills training for the last 13 years to nearly 7000 lawyers. She holds an HNLP certificate in coaching as well as being a certified NLP Master Practitioner, a member of the Professional Speakers Association. She set up Yorkshire courses for lawyers in 2015 to bring top quality training and coaching to your doorstep.

 

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