CPD sparks big increase in training budgets

TRAINING in marketing, technology and languages is expected to rise in law firms as the Law Society's Continuous Professional Development increases its presence.

In a survey carried out by legal publisher FT Law & Tax, 60 per cent of managers or partners anticipated an increase in their training and personnel budgets.

For firms of more than 50 partners the figures show a 70 per cent increase in budgets and a 82 per cent increase in use of non-legal training.

Since 1985, when CPD was established, only those qualified from that year were required to do it.

But from 1998 every solicitor will have to complete 48 hours of CPD every three years. This is expected to bring an additional 15,000 solicitors to the scheme.

Managers and partners in more than 60 per cent of firms are already making plans for these new people, although just over one third of respondents said they were not.

Again, the larger the firm the more likely it is to be gearing up for 1998.

Marie Staunton, publishing director of FT Law & Tax, said: “Non-legal training is preferred by many respondents because areas such as management and marketing are now seen as more relevant to senior partners, who usually have responsibility for these issues.

“IT skills are also seen as essential, because of competitive pressures.

“As one respondent said: 'You have to have business skills to survive today'.”