Tips on how to create your own training plan in the new era of CPD

 In Gill's Blog

Disclaimer: LawSkills provides training for the legal industry and does not provide legal advice to members of the public. For help or guidance please seek the services of a qualified practitioner.

Taking responsibility for your own training plan

(read my guide and then download your learning log template for free – see below)

You are required by your Regulator to take responsibility for being competent. Even if you are already brilliant never mind competent at what you do, failing to consistently nurture your skills and knowledge means you slip back to the ordinary and even incompetent.

Learning and personal development can be accessed and harnessed in many different ways. You choose an effective blend to suit you. If you have traditionally only regarded courses as a way to learn then you may be surprised at what is out there. Download examples and explore this website for other ways to learn and acquire knowledge.

Getting startedGill Steel Blog pref

To create your own training plan means you need to identify what you would like or need to learn or develop. Reflect on e.g.:

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If you have never tried to establish your vision and goals for the future before or you are a bit rusty there are plenty of tools available in books [e.g. ‘Build your own Rainbow’ (Hopson & Scally) or ‘What Colour is your Parachute 2015?’ (Richard N Boiles)] or a website []

You need to use your imagination here – if you had no restriction, what would be your fantasy:

  • Job?
  • Career?
  • Day?
  • Life?

You can then explore the differences between your current reality and your fantasy.

Think about what barriers might be in the way of achieving some of your fantasies. In particular, note the things you would need to change in order to achieve the fantastic new you.

Focus on your strengths

From your firm’s appraisal reviews, file reviews of your work, client feedback and your colleagues you must have a pretty good idea what you are good at. Build on what you know is a strength with a view to becoming a star.

It may be necessary to address your weaknesses but it takes longer to achieve any real change. Nevertheless, changing poor habits like lack of timeliness or how you manage a file could reduce wasting the expensive time of others or the risk of making mistakes or missing deadlines.

Set an achievable goal

A focused list of realistic goals, over which you (and not anyone else) have control, is likely to get done successfully rather than a long list.

So a single goal might be to:

  • become an expert in the residential nil rate band (good luck with that one!); or
  • manage your team effectively; or
  • plan your retirement; or
  • make better use of your time.

Plan to do it

There is plenty of evidence that if we write down what we plan to do and build in some sensible stepping stones or milestones to achieving it, it is much more likely we will succeed.

Our various Regulators each require you to:

  • be able to produce documentary evidence that you reflected on what you needed to learn or how you needed to develop;
  • set yourself some relevant goals;
  • demonstrate how you approached it;
  • show what you undertook by way of learning and development opportunities; and
  • evaluate what worked well and what didn’t.

You need to create a written plan, in either hard or soft copy, which can be shared with the Regulator and which is also a motivational tool for you as well.


There is no ‘right’ way to approach writing up your plan and having a system for monitoring it. STEP offer an online approach but there is nothing wrong with designing your own way of logging what you did e.g:

First published in STEP Journal March 2016

Date Subject Activity Area What did I learn? How could I apply what I have learnt in practice?
01.02.16 Time recording Read Robert Mowbray’s article on LawSkills website Lack of time recording discipline means I am a busy fool
  • Ensure all previous days’ time records up to date before start new day’s work
  • Set up reminder in Outlook at regular intervals during the day to capture time spent
  • When helping others always ask for file & client matter details
01.03.16 Turnover & profitability Google search produced Legal Services Board analysis Need to be aware of published research


  •  Examine drivers of profitability against firm’s figures
 01.04.16 Understanding financial management Watch video –

Download your free Learning Log template

Edit and adapt to your own requirements

Download this example of how you might record your own learning log so you can determine what you have learned and how you can apply what you’ve learned in practice.  Your competence to practice is paramount and approaching your personal training plan in this way will help both you and the firm.

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