No. Continuing Professional Development should be delivered by associations such as the OBA and FOLA.
The number of CPD hours should be reduced to 4, so that licensees only lose a half day per year, rather than the current 1.5.
Although this is usually the purview of advocacy associations, I believe there is space for the LSO to provide high quality and affordable CPD programs. Several providers are simply too expensive for the average licensee.
In rural and northern communities like mine, without the LSO’s online offerings there are few options for professional development available. That said, I would like to see enhancements to this service – for example, an opportunity for participants to rate sessions so that users have some assessment of quality of presentations and materials. They aren’t cheap – we should be able to assess value up front.
LSO should be in not-for-profit delivery of CPD services to promote professionalism objectives. Leave substantive legal education to lower cost or no cost providers in the private sector. Webinars and their recordings should be the most used delivery method in order to reach all members across Ontario. Lawyers should be enticed by the timely delivery of the subject matter of the webinar containing relevant and useful forms and examples that can be used in their daily practices. Lawyers should not be deterred by the cost of the program and LSO programs should not be priced to deliver profits to LSO. Look at the excellent one hour free webinars offered by larger law firms now. Give lawyers the incentives to sacrifice their valuable time (either office or home) to educate themselves to become better lawyers; low or no cost convenient webinar recordings will incent lawyers to take many courses beyond their LSO requirements. Dissemination of practical and useful precedents will raise the overall quality of lawyering in Ontario. LSO can HELP and SUPPORT lawyers become better legal service providers to the public of Ontario.
Yes. The Law Society properly ensures that CPD is available that advances the mandate of the LSO to ensure competent delivery of legal services. While it is good that there are other providers, there is also value in there being a number of providers and the reality is that some important CPD will not be delivered if the LSO doesn’t provide it. In addition, the LSO provides free CPD in areas where appropriate.
Yes. LSO should offer the more challenging CPD and leave most of the bread-and-butter CPD to its competitors.
I don’t have a problem with the LSO providing high quality CPD where appropriate. Currently, LSO CPD programs are to be charged on a cost recovery basis. I believe that should be reviewed to ensure this is the case and understand that CPR Program review may come up for review in the next Bencher term. In this term, I have advocated strongly for a wide range of free EDI and professionalism CPD as well, and for ensuring that a wide range of education, learning and mentoring (i.e. teaching, equity seeking organization work, etc.) be considered to qualify for substantive CPD credits. In my capacity as Vice-Chair of EAIC I have also advocated to ensure we are providing easy to find information on free and accessible (and high quality) EDI programming.
In addition, I believe it is critical to support meaningful professional development that enhances all lawyers’ skills and knowledge. However, professional development should reflect the diverse needs and challenges of lawyers across the province. Moreover, I believe that the Law Society must assist lawyers across Ontario – working in different practice areas and in different types of practice – in meeting their CPD requirements, as well as offer alternatives to expensive education programmes to meet these requirements.
The LSO should be creating CPDs but at a more affordable rate, however CPD revenue is significant
Given the mandate of the LSO and the CPD requirements, it must make sure that lawyers are able to sustain and improve competencies in a cost effective and accessible manner. CPD should be based on cost of service, and co-ordinated with other providers to reduce duplication. French language CPD needs improvement.
Yes. However, it should pay for itself, and any profits should be used to minimize membership fees. CPDs should be offered live to those who are outside of Toronto either directly by the LSO or in partnership with other providers. The CPD functions also facilitate mentorship and networking opportunities that should be available to those outside of Toronto, in particular, the membership in the Northwest.
Yes. One of the functions of the LSO is professional competence.
Absolutely. At times, for profit. At other times, in support of its membership. Among other things, the Law Society has a host of archived materials that should be made more easily available and accessible for free.
Of course it should, as a provider of accessible and affordable continuing education.
Education is part of LSO’s jurisdiction. Yet, it must do so in a cost effective manner.
I am not opposed to LSO designing and selling CPD programming; however, it must be transparent in respect of how the revenues of these programs are used. I would advocate that the revenue go back into generation of CPD programming. Additionally, I believe that more effort should be made to decentralize programming so that there is equal access of live programming outside of Toronto. Currently, there is a heavy Toronto-focus on the direct access to LSO CPD programs.
Yes, because they are in the competence business.
Yes, but they should be leveraging the County and District Law Libraries to make it more accessible and affordable to lawyers.
I think the LSO does a great job offering CPD’s and should continue offering them to their Licensees. As a regular presenter I think who better to be a presenter but the people who work in that specific area. Besides, the revenue from the various CPD’s goes towards lowering our annual fees.
Yes — core to the LSO’s mandate is to ensure the competency of the profession, and provision of CPD is integral to maintaining skills. With that said, better coordination with other professional associations to avoid duplicated efforts, scheduling conflicts, and topical overlap could help strengthen the CPD opportunities across the province, and the ability of each CPD provider to serve its own constituencies effectively.
Yes. It very much serves the public interest that we provide lifelong learning for our licensees.
The LSO should consider surrendering some CPD market share to volunteer associations in order to allow them to offer greater value to their members and to become stronger advocates for the issues affecting lawyers and paralegals. The LSO should not be their advocate, given its public interest mandate, and recognizing that the LSO enjoys the great, but revocable, privilege of self-regulation. Accordingly, the role of advocate for the legal professions should be surrendered in favour of voluntary associations. Unfortunately, these associations are experiencing declining membership. The LSO must support them indirectly, by allowing them to provide more accredited CPD, without competition from the LSO, so they may increase their membership and become stronger advocates for their interests.
For the LSO to require CPD, then get into the business of selling CPD, is perhaps the most glaring conflict of interest imaginable. But that horse has left the barn.
However, the LSO must evaluate the success or failure of CPD. Have Ontario lawyers become demonstrably better as a result of CPD? If not, why are we doing it?
LSO members should not subsidize CPD. There are several service providers capable of providing excellent legal education at a reasonable cost. LSO should step in where there is an under-serviced area, but where services are being provided in a cost-effective manner, we should likely consider whether it is beneficial for LSO to continue to occupy this space.
Yes. The CPD programming is self-funded (meaning that our law society fees are not directed at providing CPDs).
Yes, but with many more lower cost and free options. The costs of programs are far too high. We need more options to fulfill mandatory CPD hours at lower cost. This is a requirement we have no choice but to fulfill, we should have options regarding costs.
Any CPD can be beneficial. I find that the LSO CPDs are scheduled during lunches and are easily accessible by a large amount of people. The LSO is in the CPD business even with private providers of courses, as the LSO evaluates and assigns the number of hours that the course is worth which takes up time and resources from the LSO. The LSO does have resources that other organizations do not have and I believe that it you learned it from the LSO it is the most accurate information available and possibly worth the extra cost.
Yes, because the provision of CPD is an important element in ensuring professional competency. I am mindful that revenue from CPD contributes to the LSO budget, but the profit motive should not be the driving force. The LSO should focus on making CPD financially accessible, particularly for recent calls. I am fortunate to practice in Toronto where there are ample opportunities for free or low-cost CPD, but that experience is not universal to lawyers across the province.
Yes. The online service delivery of CPDs through LSO is a relatively affordable and accessible means for lawyers practicing outside of Toronto to obtain valuable CPD materials. Competency of the profession is core to the LSO’s mandate. Revenues generated from CPD programs also contributes to the cost of running the Law Society. Without LSO CPD programs annual fees for lawyers will increase.
I am a strong supporter of the LSO being in the CPD business, but it needs to be a provider of CPD at a cost that is accessible to all licencees, and it needs to be of a nature that actually enhances the competency of licencees.
I believe that the LSO should continue to offer CPD Programs, however the cost of these programs should not be increased.
In addition, I believe that the Law Society should offer free mandatory CPD programs for junior lawyers at small firms or with their own practices to ensure that they are properly trained and prepared to complete their first major tasks, such as their first real estate closing, examination for discovery or trial.
To improve our efforts on competency, as a member of the Professional Development and Competency Committee, I supported our decision to expand the range of continuing education programmes. I have spoken out repeatedly on problems with the Articling and LPP programmes and serious concerns that I have with the qualifications of many of the NCA candidates.
Yes, if that’s the only way to get more free continuing education programs. (See my answer to Question #5, above, on the cost of legal education.)
Given the deficit experienced by the LSO, if you think of LSO as a Corporation, we are its shareholders. Let’s ask questions and find out where are dividends are, so to speak. Essentially, there are so many other competent entities offering CPD, does the LSO really need to spend money on creating CPD programs?
In principle, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be, but there are many issues that might remain respect to the implementation. The primary consideration is cost-effectiveness: CPD fees are often quite far out of alignment with what is provided. Whatever measures that can be taken to keep the costs down–particularly for new calls–should be taken.
This is a difficult question. Personally, I would prefer that the LSO not compete against the OBA/CBA and other law associations in the provision of CPD. However, we have to appreciate that for 2019 the LSO is projecting over $8.6 million in top-line (about $4.3 million net) revenue from CPD. That represents 6% of the LSO’s budgeted top-line revenue. Removing that revenue would likely require a fee increase (about $100 per lawyer assuming all costs associated with CPD were also eliminated) and/or a reduction in LSO programs and services. I do not say that this should not happen, but those sorts of hard decisions require broad consultation with the profession.
No. It ought to regulate CPD but not provide it directly.
absolutely. but make it more affordable for the average lawyer or small &/or solo practitioner
I support the LSO providing CPD programs. In this manner the LSO can ensure that appropriate CPD programming is available to members. As well, LSO program pricing is generally more reasonable than some programs offered by other legal groups, and whatever revenue is generated will be used for the benefit of members.
LSO as a provider of CPD should continue as long as it does not dominate or undercut the market. As well, it must partner with local law associations and other providers outside of Toronto to make it accessible and relevant in all parts of Ontario. In addition, it is fit and proper for the LSO to provide low cost CLE to members whose means are limited.
Yes, but it should be free or cost-recovery.
I believe that continuing legal education is vitally important to our profession especially among new calls and young lawyers. I am open to examining more effective and less expensive ways to meet CPD requirements. I would even be open to a continuing competence model for lawyer who have been in practice over five years, in which there is no set requirement to attend courses, no approved providers of CPD courses, and no requirement to complete a certain number of hours of training or of specific allowed activities. Instead, lawyers would address their learning needs through continuing competence activities. They would be asked to reflect on/define their learning needs and look at how they could incorporate these needs into their practice. Any activity undertaken to address the learning requirement would then count towards their continuing competence.
Yes, if LSO wants to shape and influence the profession it must do so not only though regulation but also through, relevant and accessible continuing education. It can work with partners to optimize programs
The Law Society should indeed be in the CPD business, but only to the extent necessary to ensure that adequate multi-subject CPD is going on around the province, and not as an LSO moneymaking venture. The various voluntary lawyers’ associations, and the law schools, could be encouraged to be the main front-line providers of CPD. The Law Society could fill the gaps, and would in any event have to be keeping an eye on things from the standpoint of quality control.
Yes. The LSO, as regulator is an expert in many aspects of practice that lawyers need to know. It is aware of areas that can get lawyers into trouble and it only makes sense that it provides CPD. If people don’t want to use the LSO’s CPD, they don’t have to.
I support the Law Society hosting CPD programs as training and competence of lawyers is directly within its mandate. I am of the view that the Law Society should make CPDs more accessible by charging different levels of fees to lawyers of different categories. For instance, lawyers from large firms and large in-house departments are reimbursed in full or part for their CPD expenses. Sole practitioners and members of smaller practices do not have this luxury.
There are no shortage of CPD programs offered by a number of different organizations. The LSO CPD courses are superb, well attended and fairly priced programs. There is no reason I can think of for the LSO to stop providing these top shelf educational programs.
yes, of course!
Yes. It can and should provide it at a reasonable cost. It should also be required to provide it in French. Oui. Le Barreau peut, et devrait fournir la formation professionnelle à un coût raisonable, ainsi qu`en français.
Yes – At its core, LSO is about competency