“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” — Aristotle
It couldn’t come quickly enough — the end of continuing professional development. OK, so perhaps the SRA’s material seems a bit woolly, but at least it gives lawyers the flexibility to steer a course between the legal from the non-legal, with an acute focus on the needs of the business.
Will lawyers be up for the challenge?
Only time will tell, but I would wager that there’s still a whole swathe of practitioners who: (a) know nothing about the changes; and/or (b) if they do, lament the fact that they’ve got to change in a way that means they can’t count on the de minimus number of hours and say, “phew, job done for another year.”
But actually, I’m wildly excited — not in the sense that it will provide me with more work — but rather we now have a meaningful way of enabling people to realise their full (latent) potential.
What that means is practice is that lawyers have to look at their development with beginner’s mind and realise that soft skills are much more than another faux business innovation but a real game changer — for them and the practice.
I know it will take time for a more reflexive approach to bed in, but I would hope that even such esoteric subjects as emotional intelligence, mindfulness and self-enquiry will find a place and firms won’t get bogged down in the anodyne leadership debate that so afflicts big business. (It’s not that I’m anti-leadership training, but rather it’s meaningless to talk about leadership in a partnership context where no one wants to be lead — too many cooks and all that stuff.)
But it’s not just the inward-facing perspective that I’m enthused by but also the possibility that the exemplars in the industry might start offering real-world training to firms (yes, even competitors) that would not only supplement their fee income but provide them with another USP.
Lastly, I hope that training for lawyers doesn’t just stay with the lawyers, particularly if management/HR buy into the notion that everyone deserves the opportunity to become the most of anything. In other words, every person should have the same opportunity.
What do you think? Are the changes fit for purpose, or do they still have to way to go to prove their worth?