New Zealand Law Society - Stepping Up course

Stepping Up course

Lawyers intending to be:

  • a partner in a law firm; or
  • a director of an incorporated law firm; or
  • a sole practitioner (barrister and solicitor); or
  • a barrister on own account

must complete a Stepping Up course prior to applying for approval to practise on own account as a barrister and solicitor or as a barrister.

The Stepping Up course assists candidates to:

  • Run the business of a law practice
  • Be responsible for the obligations of the practice
  • Understand and apply the relevant rules of conduct and client care
  • Understand the principles and rules of trust accounting. Please note that it is important to have an understanding whether you intend to operate a trust account or not.

Stepping Up courses are held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Search for details of a course near you and apply online.

Please note that the Stepping Up course includes 40 to 50 hours of preparation work prior to attending the three-day workshop.

If you are also seeking to qualify as a Trust Account Supervisor (TAS), please note that the TAS course also requires approximately 40 to 50 hours of preparation prior to attending the 1 day workshop. TAS courses are held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

Further information about Stepping Up

While completion of Stepping Up will be compulsory for those wishing to go into practice on their own account, it is also an opportunity for each candidate to learn how to lift their firm (or chambers for barristers) to the highest level of practice and maintain those standards during a lawyer’s working life.

Candidates will work through a series of self-taught modules covering professional conduct and client care, managing clients’ funds, leadership, business planning, marketing legal services, the people component, finances, administering a practice, dealing with clients’ instructions and risk management.

Candidates are encouraged, through a self-assessment process to identify what they know and what they may need to learn from Stepping Up. With a list of those matters they may have identified as gaps in their knowledge, candidates are expected to arrive at the three-day workshop with a clear idea of where to focus. The three-day workshop will comprise a series of sessions mirroring most of the modules referred to above.

For one section of the course, there will be three concurrent sessions, one for those planning to set up as a barrister and solicitor in sole practice, one for those going into an existing partnership and another for barristers sole.

A key component in each of the sessions will be the knowledge and experience of the presenters/facilitators.

All candidates are expected to participate actively in the sessions and at the same time will have the opportunity to fill any gaps they have identified in their knowledge by learning from the experienced presenters.

Please note that a lawyer who completes a Stepping Up course can allow no more than two years to elapse before they commence practice on own account.

Barristers sole (Barristers on own account)

Stepping Up is a prerequisite for lawyers applying to be barristers sole. The course is aimed at ensuring all lawyers are properly prepared to practise on their own and has a separate module for those intending to practise as barristers.