With 16 working days left until the final deadline, just over half of New Zealand's lawyers have still to make their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) declarations.
At 9am on Thursday 16 March, 45% of practising lawyers had made their declarations. This was lower than the same time last year.
"I'm sure many lawyers don't realise they can make the declaration at any time. They seem to think they have to wait until 31 March," New Zealand Law Society Professional Development Manager Ken Trass says.
"The CPD year ends on 31 March and the declaration of completion is due not later than five working days after that - by close of business on 7 April. Information we collect on participation rates over the year shows that many lawyers have completed well over the required 10 hours of CPD but have yet to declare."
To complete the declaration a lawyer logs in to the Law Society Registry with their lawyer ID (included on the practising certificate and also at the bottom of each issue of the weekly LawPoints e-newsletter).
Once logged in, the "CPD" option can be selected, and completion of the process involves selecting the box corresponding to the appropriate CPD year, and clicking to "tick" it. It is necessary to click on "Save" to complete the declaration.
"If you can remember your password, the process will take a few seconds," Mr Trass says. "If you've forgotten the password it takes about a minute to sort that out. We've made it as easy as possible."
Regional variations in declarations
So far a higher proportion of male lawyers have made the declaration - the first time that has happened. There is also an interesting divergence around the country when it comes to declaring compliance with the CPD requirements. Southland (59% declared), Taranaki (57%), Overseas (52%) and Marlborough (49%) have the highest rates of declarations made so far. At the other end of the scale are Gisborne (39% declared), Nelson (41%), Otago (41%) and Whanganui (42%).
Just over 44% of lawyers in Auckland have completed their declarations, but Auckland is furtherest behind the same time in 2016 - at the same time in 2016, nearly 9% more Auckland lawyers had completed their declarations. Manawatu lawyers are further ahead this year than last year, with 3% more having made their declarations in 2017 (overall 47% of Manawatu lawyers have completed a declaration).