How to Get the Most Out of Your CPD Hours

  • January 29, 2019
  • Julia Werneburg, associate at Gowling WLG; and Jenny Thistle, articling student

Investing time and money into continuing professional development (CPD) can allow you to navigate new technologies, keep up with emerging issues, and make sure that you’re using the best tools and most current information to serve your clients. It is also an opportunity to refresh core competencies.

All Ontario lawyers are required to complete CPD hours, but you can accomplish a lot more than just checking off a box on your to-do list. Below are some tips to get the most out of your commitment to CPD.

1. Wear your networking hat

Get out of your comfort zone – Attend CPD sessions that relate to ethics, practice management or topics outside of your area of specialization. Participating in events in areas outside of your wheelhouse will allow you to meet people you wouldn’t normally encounter and allow you to cast your net wider.

Build your practice – Make sure to attend events that potential clients and/or referring professionals will likely attend. CPD activities can provide you with the perfect opportunity to get new contacts. Don’t forget to also invite your current clients. If you think a particular presentation or event might appeal to a client, consider reaching out and offering them a free ticket – it will show them that you have a meaningful understanding of their business. Remember, busy in-house clients need to fulfill their CPD requirements, too!

Get social – Don’t skip social events when attending conferences! Attending meals, entertainment events, and networking breaks can lead to new contacts and are a great opportunity to discuss the content presented during the substantive sessions. If you can, attend CPD events with colleagues – you will be able to act as each other’s “wing people” with new contacts and discuss the content presented with each other. Bonus: some conferences and webinars offer a group discount!

Be consistent – If there is an annual conference that particularly interests you, try to attend on a regular basis. Soon, you will become a familiar face to fellow attendees and increase the impact of your networking.

Take initiative – Join association committees and help organize CPD events – you’ll get to know the speakers, and you can steer the content towards topics of interest.