REFOTRA project started in June 2018

August 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

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Current situation

The recognition of foreign training activities for lawyers (i.e. training pursued by EU lawyers in a Member State other than the one where they are registered) has been an issue discussed for some years by the Council of Bars and Law Societies (CCBE) and its Training Committee.

The CCBE represents over one million European lawyers through their national Bars and Law Societies, and its Training Committee is composed of lawyers who are experts on training issues affecting the legal profession in Europe. A recent product of its work is the CCBE Memorandum on Mutual Recognition of Lawyers’ Cross-Border Continuing Professional Development, signed by 40 European Bars and Law Societies in February 2017. Through this Memorandum, the signatory parties agreed that:

The number of CPD course hours attended or CPD credits of the training courses obtained by lawyers enrolled in a Bar or Law Society of a member country, should be considered in their signatory jurisdiction of origin to help fulfil their requirements of CPD obligations, in accordance with national, regional or local rules or regulations and without prejudice to each national, regional or local evaluation system.”

The Memorandum was an important step towards mutual recognition; however, in practice the Memorandum expresses a desire, and does not lead to automatic recognition, as the signatory parties will still check the training carried out in another Member State against their own continuing training criteria (which may differ from the criteria and requirements of the state where the training was delivered).

 

Needs that the project aims to address

In order to go to the next stage of recognition of cross-border training, further work needs to be carried out with the objective of easing the recognition process in a cross-border context, to be of benefit to Bars and Law Societies and lawyers.

There will be in-depth research undertaken of the regimes for such training and recognition in the Member States, in order to identify the common points and the points where the regimes do not match. There will then be in-depth discussion of how a system of automatic recognition could be built, in the light of the findings of the research. Finally, an evaluation will be established of how automatic recognition might work in this area.

Major objectives to be attained

The project is divided into 3 different phases, and each phase deals with an important objective:

  1. to complete the research undertaken by the CCBE in 2015 and 2016 on national mandatory continuing training regimes in order to have a full understanding of the current situation of mutual recognition of cross-border training in EU Member States;
  1. to produce recommendation(s) that will aim at the principle of automatic recognition of training in another Member State;
  1. to evaluate with Bars and Law Societies of some EU Member States as to how recognition based on the recommendation(s) would work.

Each of these activities, which pursue the specific objective of each phase, will be translated into the project’s deliverables.

 

Target group

The target group of this project are Bars and Law Societies and lawyers since the issue to be addressed is the recognition of training undertaken by lawyers in other EU Member States. This is a very specific issue that affects lawyers and their continuing legal education, and for that reason the project is focused on what Bars and Law Societies may have to put into practice to facilitate the recognition of training pursued by lawyers in other EU Member States other than those where they are registered as lawyers.

The REFOTRA project is implemented by the European Lawyers Foundation and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).

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This project is financed with the support of the Justice Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the project’s partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.

The Diploma Centre of the Law Society of Ireland’s Use of Technology

July 21st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

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Rory O'Boyle, Diploma Manager, Law Society of Ireland

Rory O’Boyle, Diploma Manager, Law Society of Ireland

In 2014 the Diploma Centre launched the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in Aviation. This course ran for six weeks and covered an introduction to aviation leasing and finance and its beginnings in Ireland, technical basics, legal, financial and commercial.  In 2015 we focused on the growing area of Technology Law. Technology has brought exponential change not only in our personal lives but also in professional practice, in terms of how legal practice is managed, the software used and the legal issues confronting clients in business. The MOOC, ‘Understanding the law in a digital age’, explored emerging issues of relevance to entrepreneurs who seek to exploit opportunities in this digital age and to existing organisations who must engage online to prosper. It also examined the importance of regulation, data protection, online privacy and the legal implications of rapidly-growing use of social media.

Dr Freda Grealy, Head of Diplomas, Law Society of Ireland

Dr Freda Grealy, Head of Diplomas, Law Society of Ireland

Our 2016 MOOC ‘Privacy, a human right for the digital age’, was delivered online over five weeks and comprised presentations from experts in data protection and digital privacy, live online discussions and assessments, and the balance between an individual’s right to privacy and the efficient use of data by companies and other organisations. Specific content such as cyber security threats, the EU-US Privacy Shield – or the ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement as it is known – and the impact of emerging technology, including drones and ‘the internet of things’, are extremely topical and of interest to a wide range of people.
In 2017 we delivered a MOOC on the topic of ‘Employment Law in the digital era: Brexit, borders and offices without walls; challenges and impacts in uncertain times’. This was our biggest free online course to date, and attracted over 3,200 students. The course explored contemporary employment issues including social media in the workplace, equality and the law, dispute resolution mechanisms and hiring post-Brexit: why Ireland works as an alternative.
The MOOC has vastly increased our ability to provide free, accessible, on-demand and insightful content to our members and the wider community. However, it is the international dimension that has been truly game-changing. Participants from countries as wide-ranging as Botswana, Brazil, Latvia and Australia are now – digitally, at least – sitting side-by-side engaging with our Irish legal experts,” “The great number of participants illustrates how relevant and up to date the course material is,” according to Law Society Director of Education T P Kennedy.
We will also be running a new MOOC in 2018, Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for more information early next year.

The training of lawyers in the 21st century

January 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

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Jarkko Männistö, Asianajaja presenting his paper in Brussels at the CCNE Training conference on 14th December 2017

Jarkko Männistö, Asianajaja presenting his paper in Brussels at the CCBE Training conference on 14th December 2017

This is a short blog by Jarkko Männistö, Asianajaja, OTT outlining key points from his intervention at the CCBE conference on Training of Lawyers, challenges and opportunities, Brussels, 14 December 2017.

I have been teaching advocacy to students, bar exam candidates, and experienced attorneys for almost 15 years. What I have learned, through a series of trials and errors, is that students learn what they want to learn. And only what they want to learn.

Based on this experience I argue that continuing legal education in the 21st century should, above all, be a positive experience to those we wish to educate.

The following are, what I consider, the four cornerstones of the positive learning experience.

Go online, go live
Lawyers are chronically time constrained. So take legal education online whenever you can. If a lawyer can save an hour or two of travel time, he or she just might spend a good part of the time saved learning something new.

If you want to lecture, broadcast it live. Livestream lecture with a real time chat is a great way on engaging students from the comfort of their own office or home.

Show, don’t tell
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. If you do not agree with this, show your students how it’s done. It’s easy enough to say that you should write clearly and concisely. Following that instruction is the hard part.

Lawyers must apply law to concrete problems. Continuing legal education should help them do that, which is why continuing legal education should be all about application.

Doing is learning
Sitting still and listening someone talk about the law is, even for most lawyers, dreadfully boring. Don’t put your students’ brain into hibernation.

Instead, activate your students. Ask questions. Create problems. Make them do the work, because that’s what learning requires. Hard work. Doing stuff with your brain. Not having it done for you by someone else (the teacher).

Be a coach
People avoid things which cause them embarrasment. Never make people feel bad about themselves, because most of them will not study harder to avoid further embarrasment. Instead, they will take the easy way out, which is to avoid your lectures.

So, accept everyone come in “as is”. You have succeeded as a teacher, if they leave equipped with more knowledge than they came in. And more importantly, with a hunger to learn more.

Jarkko Männistö
Attorney, LL.D.

This posting is an adaptation of the speech Jarkko gave on 14 December in Brussels in the CCBE Seminar titled “Training of lawyers, challenges and opportunities”.

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Jarkko

You can now register for the CCBE Training Conference!

October 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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14 December 2017, L42 – Rue de la Loi 42, Brussels

The Conference which will discuss ‘Training of lawyers: challenges and opportunities’ is now open for registration.

The programme includes panels on the transforming management of the law firm in the digital era, neuroscience and new discoveries on effective learning, innovative training tools such as MOOC, virtual reality, webinar, and finally guides to financing training projects. Furthermore, the conference will give an introduction to the European Training Platform on the e-Justice portal, and will represent a valuable opportunity for training providers and legal professionals to share best practices and innovative solutions for legal training.

Please register your participation by 20 November 2017 at event@ccbe.eu.

Please find the detailed programme for the conference here.

The conference language is English.

Save the Date: CCBE Training Conference, 14 Dec. 2017, Brussels

August 24th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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Please note that the Conference will be held in English.

Further information will follow in the coming weeks.

England and Wales: SRA to launch super-exam in 2020

April 25th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will introduce its planned super-exam, the Solicitors Qualification Examination, despite opposition from the profession…

For more information, please read the ‘The Lawyer‘ (25 April 2017).

Update on national continuous training rules

May 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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In 2015/2016, the CCBE updated its information on national continuous training rules, which were first gathered in 2011.

19 CCBE full member countries have a specific mandatory continuous training regime. In most of these countries, it has been introduced in the past 15 years.

12 full member countries have no specific mandatory continuous training regime; however, in all of these countries various continuous training opportunities exist.

In most countries, the extent of the training obligation is counted in hours, credits or points, though in some in events and days. The average extent of the training obligation is approximately 14 hours/points/credits annually, ranging from four academic hours in Bulgaria to 20 hours in France. In most countries, foreign training activities are recognised. The majority of member countries have opted for “regular control” which means that lawyers are obliged to submit a record of their training activities to the Bar/Law Society on an annual basis. In some member countries, compliance is exclusively monitored via “random control” which means that only a certain number of lawyers/law firms are checked. There are also member countries in which both “regular control” and “random control” are carried out.

The CCBE has prepared a brief layout and a summary detailing the regimes’ specificities by using the following categories: extent of training; activities (courses, language courses, teaching, writing/publishing, other); recognition of foreign training activities; availability of e-methods; provider (bar/law society, accredited providers, free market providers); supervision (regular and/or random control); and sanctions (non-disciplinary and/or disciplinary).

All relevant information on the national rules – including country overviews – can be found here.

National Rules on Specialisation

December 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Specialization drawing

In order to develop a better understanding of how lawyers’ specialisation works throughout the European Union the CCBE has been collecting information about specialisation regimes in 44 European jurisdictions from its CCBE members.

Most European jurisdictions (34) do not have a specific specialisation regime, however lawyers can often indicate their preferred areas of practice. 10 jurisdictions have a specialisation regime: Belgium (OBFG), Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (solicitors in both England and Wales, and Scotland). Such jurisdictions tend to have precise rules regulating the bestowing and use of a specialist’s title, usually including minimum prior practice in the field, theoretical expertise, and obligations of continuing training.

The number of specialisation fields varies, but it usually is around 20. Across all the jurisdictions surveyed, the most common fields for specialisation are: family law, criminal law, commercial law, labour law, social law, intellectual property law, tax law, IT law, banking law, administrative/public law, and the law of insurance.

The local Regional Chamber of Legal Advisers of Katowice in Poland will be holding a Workshop on Lawyers’ Specialisation on 15 April 2016 in Katowice. Experts from across Europe will participate in this workshop to discuss the pros and cons of introducing Lawyers’ Specialisation and exchanging experiences.

Further information: 

Comparative Note on national regimes of specialisation

National rules of specialisation

Workshop on Lawyers’ Specialisation, Katowice