New Zealand Law Society - Leading growth through reflective CPD and self-review

Leading growth through reflective CPD and self-review

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Like individual CPD plans, whole-of-firm self-review and subsequent planning is based around a reflective process. The NZLS CPD Rules – a practical guide, outlines a reflective approach that can lead to effective learning. This approach can also be successfully applied to firm’s self-review processes.

Self-review in this context mirrors the approach taken in planning your individual Continuing Professional Development Plan and Reflection document (CPDPR). It is a process of back-mapping; identifying your desired outcomes then creating a priority list of developmental goals based on evidence, taking appropriate action and questioning your progress towards these goals.

Just like individuals’ CPD, a firm’s self-review is an ongoing process required at different times and serving different purposes.

Types of self-review

Strategic self-review is an overarching form of review, focusing on evaluating evidence on how well your practice is achieving its overall mission and vision. Strategic review will support decisions about direction and priorities.

Planned self-reviews are checkpoints that assist in meeting targets. They are smaller, focused and ongoing. Data from planned self-review feeds evidence to support strategic self-review decisions.

Emergent self-reviews are often in response to unforeseen events and occur as needs must. Even so, evidence from these review types can be useful for identifying emerging issues and should still align with your overall goals and feed into other reviews.

Aligning elements of individuals’ CPD plans with the overall aims of the firm can aid in identifying areas of development required and areas of expertise that are developing within your practice. Many firms have already identified the benefits of this, applying for self-auditing status.

Self-auditing firms, who are responsible for ensuring lawyers comply with the CPD rules, could find that keeping closely connected to individuals’ CPD documentation provides evidence to:

  • inform appraisal discussions;
  • restructure resource allocation to support learning;
  • identify and promote the unique positioning of their firm; and
  • ultimately, ensure that their practice stays competitive in our ever-changing profession.

Maintaining oversight of staff CPD in your leadership role, therefore, is an essential part of maintaining the holistic growth your firm and its goals.

For the guide to the CPD rules or to apply for self-auditing status and to know more about the requirements for self-auditing firms go to

Ken Trass is the New Zealand Law Society’s Continuing Professional Development Manager.


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