FEBRUARY 2024 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST

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FEBRUARY 2024 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST

The Legal Quality Standard of Ireland

FEBRUARY 2024 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST

2024 CPD CYCLE

In the January/February edition of the Law Society Gazette, there is an article on CPD titled ‘New Year, New Scheme, New Regime’.

It states the annual CPD requirement has increased for the first time since 2017, to reflect the critical role that continuous development of professional knowledge and skills play in ensuring solicitors remain competent and up-to-date in their practice area, in protecting clients, and also aiding in reducing complaints about standards of service.

It states ‘all solicitors must complete minimum requirements in the new mandatory categories of ‘professional development and solicitor wellbeing’ and ‘client care and professional standards’.  If a solicitor fulfils the role of a sole practitioner or a compliance partner and/or an anti-money-laundering compliance partner, they must also complete mandatory training in ‘accounting and anti-money-laundering compliance’. ‘Once the minimum requirements of the mandatory categories have been met, solicitors are then free to choose a wide variety of topics for their balance of CPD requirements.

It explains the reasons for the new categories and it also contains a section on proof of compliance, setting out how to prove compliance and what happens if you do not comply.

The article contains a useful table setting out the main differences between the new and the old scheme:-

New CPD requirements (from 1 January 2024) Previous CPD requirements
25 hours 20 hours
   
Senior practitioners: eight hours Senior practitioners: three hours
   
Five hours of ‘professional development and solicitor wellbeing’ Three hours of ‘management and professional  development’
   
Three hours of ‘client care and professional standards’ Two hours of ‘regulatory matters’
   
One hour of ‘accounting and anti-money-laundering compliance’ (as part of the ‘client care and professional standards’ component) for a solicitor who is a sole practitioner or compliance partner and/or anti-money laundering compliance partner Two hours of ‘accounting and anti-money-laundering compliance; (as part fo the ‘regulatory matters’ component) for a solicitor who is a sole practitioner or compliance partner and/or anti-money laundering compliance partner
   
Minimum five hours/20% must be completed in g group study format; and a maximum of

20 hours/80% of the annual requirement (modified or otherwise) may be completed

by e-learning

Maximum 50% of the annual requirement (modified or otherwise) may be completed by

e-learning

To view this article in full see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2024/jan-feb-2024-gazette.pdf#page=57

TIPS TO GET YOUR CPD RIGHT

This month’s Law Society Gazette sets out tips you need to get your CPD right.

  • Keep your CPD record card as you go along – it is easier to refer to your record than to try and compile it possibly a year later.
  • Keep a tally of what type of CPD you have completed. You could have 50 hours of very useful general CPD, but you won’t be fully compliant without the specified mandatory hours.
  • Remember that a minimum of five hours’ group-study training must be completed.
  • Be aware that a maximum of 80% of your CPD requirement may be completed online.
  • Join your local bar association. This is useful, not just for CPD points, but also as a useful networking opportunity with colleagues.
  • Remember to ‘tick the box’! Failure to certify that you have completed your CPD requirements on your practising certificate application form may lead to audit.
  • Make sure you get certificates of attendance for every seminar or training event you attend, and/or online course you complete. No certificate = no CPD.
  • All certificates must have the following information: –
    • Headed notepaper,
    • Your name,
    • Date of training,
    • Subject matter of training,
    • Type of CPD claimed,
    • Number of hours of actual training (excluding breaks and/or registration times), –
    • Signed by the course provider.

To view this in the Gazette see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2024/jan-feb-2024-gazette.pdf#page=60

NEW DATA PROTECTION COMMISSIONERS

On the 20 January 2024, Dr. Des Hogan and Mr. Dale Sunderland commenced their roles as Commissioners with the Irish Data Protection Commission.  Dr Hogan will be the Chair of the Commission.

To view this article see https://www.dataprotection.ie/index.php/en/news-media/press-releases/new-data-protection-commissioners-take-their-new-roles

RISE IN LAWYERS BEING BULLIED AT WORK

On the 6 February 2024, the Irish Legal News published an article stating there has been an increase in the number of lawyers reporting workplace bullying, according to legal mental health charity LawCare.

Its 2023 report records that 92 people who contacted LawCare for mental health support said that workplace bullying, harassment, or discrimination was their primary reason for seeking support.  This number was 47 in 2022.

Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said:

I would urge individuals and organisations to start taking active steps to create working environments which better protect mental health and where bullying and harassment are not tolerated.”

 

“We need to drive a collective responsibility in our sector to tackle bullying and harassment by identifying the workplace factors that can lead to it, such as low psychological safety and managers with little or no training and support, and taking positive action to address these.”

 

“We need to continue to challenge the stigma that prevents many still from speaking up about their mental health and seeking support.  Each single act of storytelling, awareness raising, or advocacy contributes to transforming legal culture.”

 

“You may never know the impact of your voice — you may give someone the confidence to seek help, provide them with the comfort of feeling less alone, or enable them to speak up too.

To view this see https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/rise-in-lawyers-being-bullied-at-work

SUBSIDISED PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELLING FOR SOLICITORS

This month’s Law Society Gazette published an article by Sorcha Corcoran on Law Society Psychological Services and how it has turbocharged its ‘LegalMind’ service by partnering with the Clanwilliam Institute to offer attractively subsidised psychotherapy and counselling for solicitors.

Over the past nine years, psychological development has been integrated into the Professional Practice Course curriculum through the ‘Complete Lawyer’ module.

Antionette Moriarty, Head of Psychological Services in the Law Society states “The idea that psychological strength is part-and-parcel of being a good professional is well established among our trainee and recently qualified solicitors”.  “It is particularly helpful in creating ease and balance in our relationships, behaviour, and communication” and she says “Intense relationships at work might mean solicitors are depleted and have nothing left in the tank for personal relationships, or perhaps they’re relying on unhealthy habits to manage stress. This new approach with LegalMind will help people to make sense of how they find themselves in the position they’re in – and give them hope, choices and a renewed sense of their own value” and “The more we reflect and the better we know ourselves, the better service we can give to our clients, as we are enabled to see their struggles differently.

Available since 15 January, LegalMind clients can avail of eight 55-minute therapeutic sessions per calendar year, heavily subsidised by the Law Society.  The first appointment is free and, after that, there is a reduced fee of €30 plus VAT (that is, €34.50) per session. The Law Society pays the balance of €100, plus VAT (that is, €113.50) per session for the LegalMind client.

Systemic psychotherapy looks at how we communicate in relationships – personal and professional.  It can transform a person’s understanding of themselves as embedded in a social and emotional world in which we are influenced by and, of course, influence others.

The LegalMind service is there for solicitors who want to discuss specific issues, including stress and anxiety, bereavement and loss, family conflict, and coping mechanisms.

To view this article in full see  https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2024/jan-feb-2024-gazette.pdf#page=63

AML – COMPONENTS OF GOOD CDD

On the 15 February 2024 there was an article titled ‘CDD is more than just ID’ featured on the Law Society of England and Wales website, which generally discusses AML and sets out the components of good CDD namely:-

  • Procedures to facilitate a clear understanding of the client’s source of wealth and funds in relation to a transaction, and the level of evidence required, in line with the risk profile of the client/matter;
  • Procedures to facilitate reporting of discrepancies between beneficial ownership information obtained through due diligence checks and what is held on the Companies House register;
  • Enhanced due diligence (EDD) procedures – including the provision of adequate controls to manage higher risk clients/transactions, and measures to establish source of funds/source of wealth where appropriate;
  • The practice’s position on the use and application of simplified due diligence;
  • The timing of any due diligence procedures;
  • The practice’s position on the use of regulation 39 reliance and any related procedures;
  • The ongoing monitoring of clients and their matters;
  • The identification of instances where it is required or appropriate to re-apply or renew CDD or EDD on a client;
  • Dealing with the return of un-solicited or apparently accidentally deposited funds;
  • Identification and scrutiny of any complex or unusually large transactions, or an unusual pattern of transactions, or those which serve no apparent economic or legal purpose;
  • Any additional measures to prevent products/transactions that support anonymity being used for ML/TF;
  • Identification of politically exposed persons (PEPs), their relatives or close associates and the control of any associated risks.

To view this article in full see https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/anti-money-laundering/partner-content/cdd-is-more-than-id

LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND – ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) GUIDE

On the 29 February 2024 the Law Society of Ireland announced the Law Society Library has now added artificial intelligence (AI) to the list of subject guides currently available.

To view this article and links to the AI Guide see https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2024/february/law-society-librarys-ai-guide-goes-live