Press Release – on CPD
School of Law Hosts the, ‘First National Conference on CPD in Law’
31st August’ 2013
The School of Law hosted the “First National Conference on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Law”, on 31st August 2013.
His Excellency, the Honourable, Governor of Punjab, Mr. Muhammad Sarwar Chaudhary kindly consented to be the distinguished Chief Guest at the Conference.
This Conference – the first of its kind in Pakistan – was an initiative for introducing the concept of “Continuing Professional Development” to the legal fraternity and the Bar Councils.
The success of the Conference lies in the fact that it attracted a number of participants and distinguished speakers from all across Pakistan. The panel of speakers comprised of distinguished practicing lawyers and academics from the fraternity in Pakistan and abroad, including:
- Mr. Ijaz Ahmed
- Ms. Maira Sheikh
- Ms. Maira Sheikh
- Mr. Jawad Sarwana
- Barrister Usman G. Rashid
- Mr. Ahmed Warraich
- Mr. Ahmed Abbas
- Mr. Nasim Ahmed
- Mr. Ehsan Chughtai
Mr. Ijaz Ahmed shed light on the requirement of completing CPD Hours and the need for continued development and education of our lawyers to be able to compete internationally. Mr. Ahmed stressed the need for the reform and development of the current system for both the delivery of due process, as well as the economic prosperity of Pakistan.
Ms. Maira Sheikh, having attained her Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame in the United States, spoke about the US Model on CPD in Law. She traced the introduction of CPD hours into the legal regime, the methods of completing CPD hours and also drew a state-by-state analysis of varying CPD requirements. Ms. Sheikh also provided an insightful analogy of the compliance mechanisms, the cost factor in attaining CPD hours and the various benefits for lawyers as well as their employers.
Mr. Jawad Sarwana presented a theory based learning cycle model – developed by Peter Adler. He related this to the lack of CPD culture in Pakistan. The theory portrayed four stages of learning, namely “unconscious incompetence”, “conscious incompetence”, “conscious competence” and “unconscious competence”. He spoke about the “sole practitioner” trend in Pakistan and suggested that in order to develop a “CPD culture” for local lawyers, personal benefit must be highlighted. In terms of training, various learning techniques such as case studies, brain storming sessions etc. need to be introduced and courses need to be designed both for, beginners as well as advanced level professionals.
Barrister Usman G. Rashid raised important questions regarding the ability of the average lawyer in Pakistan. He narrated the “mushroom growth” of law colleges and the lack of these institutes to scholastic development of students. He stressed the importance of acquiring legal skills and knowledge and drew comparisons from various jurisdictions regarding CPD. For instance it is recommended in Malaysia and Israel, where as it is a compulsory requirement in other states such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Acknowledging that so far, the local Bar Councils and Law Societies have not established a CPD regime, Barrister Usman suggested those CPD hours must be made compulsory for all active members of the bar and recommended for the bench.
Mr. Ahmed Nazir Warriach began by looking at the existing legal framework in Pakistan. He defined CPD as the ongoing training of professional throughout his career. He stressed the need to inculcate the CPD requirement into the existing regime in a systemized way. Mr. Warraich provided a very thorough analysis of the gaps in the regulatory framework and suggested precise changes that could be incorporated into the Legal Practitioner’s and Bar Councils Acts and provincial Bar Council Rules. He also made suggestions as to what means need to be adopted to conduct CPD trainings locally.
Mr. Ahmed Abbas discussed “Continuing Professional Development” as a part of a three-stage process; a lawyer’s development at the academic stage; a lawyer’s development at the earlier stage of his/her training and lastly, CPD throughout his/her career. He spoke about the wide array of duties of a practicing lawyer and how CPD will sharpen a lawyer’s competitive edge and in turn stimulate public interest in the legal profession. Mr. Abbas suggested that legal education must focus of developing research, presentation and legal skills of students enrolled on the LL.B course.
Mr. Nasim Ahmed spoke about why CPD is considered as a vital part of any legal system, how such programs work in other jurisdictions and lastly, how this objective can be achieved locally. Mr. Nasim outlined the minimum CPD requirements of the Law Society of England and Wales and the Solicitors Regulation Authority for legal practitioners. He praised the School of Law’s commitment towards the professional development of legal professionals in Pakistan. In order to compete internationally, he stated that Pakistan must construct a National Continued Professional Development framework through which lays down requirements for lawyers to develop their legal skills as part of their careers. He praised the chief guest, His Excellency, the Honourable Governor of Punjab for his commitment to improving the education system in Punjab and extended tremendous support on behalf of the School of Law in achieving this.
Justice (R) Syed Asghar Haider, Principal, School of Law shed light on the aim in setting up the School of Law as not just a coaching centre for future lawyers, but also as an institution to provide training and workshops for existing professionals. He acknowledged the gap in the current legal regime for continuing professional development. Justice (R) Haider thanked His Excellency and all the participants for showing their support in this initiative.
Mr. Ehsan Chughtai, Chairman School of Law, thanked all the participants and speakers for attending the conference and showing their commitment towards this initiative. He made the point that if a professional is not competent, he is potentially dangerous towards the society and that lawyer’s represent the law societies.
The Chief Guest gave the closing remarks on the conference and expressed his pleasure at attending the “First National Conference on Continuing Professional Development on Law” at the School of Law. He was interested to know that the current legal framework does not accommodate the CPD requirement and the pressing need for reform. He appreciated the School of Law’s efforts in introducing a novel approach to education and introducing international trends in legal training to Pakistan. His Excellency assured his full support to School of Law’s academic endeavours and its initiatives aimed at the development of the legal fraternity. His Excellency also expressed his commitment to the enhancement of the education system not only in Punjab, but all over Pakistan.
The First National Conference on CPD in Law concluded with the signing of the School of Law Resolution on Continued Professional Development by the Chairman, School of Law and the Principal. The text of the Resolution is available here.
The distinguished speakers were presented with certificates to acknowledge their contribution to the conference. The speakers on the panel were happy to answers questions of the participants in an informal session during refreshments.