Professional Development

What are my CPD requirements?

CPD is a statutory condition imposed on all Australian practising certificates, pursuant to s 52 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW). This statutory condition requires the certificate holder to comply with the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015.

The CPD year runs from 1 April to 31 March the following year. You must declare whether you have complied with your CPD obligations in each practising certificate renewal application (CPD Rule 13). 

How do I satisfy my CPD requirements?

You are required to complete ten (10) CPD units each year. This includes at least one (1) CPD unit in each of the following compulsory fields:

  1. Ethics and professional responsibility
  2. Practice management and business skills
  3. Professional skills
  4. Substantive law

(CPD Rule 6).

You can carry over a maximum of three (3) units from the previous CPD year if these 3 units were completed between January and March. These units cannot be double counted for current and future CPD year.

Do I need to keep a record of my CPD activities?

Yes. You must maintain a record of your activities and evidence in support of those activities having been completed, for at least 3 years (CPD Rule 12). 

The Society provides the Record of CPD activities template to assist you. You can use this form to record your CPD activities. Evidence can include attendance records, receipts, in house CPD records, and emails confirming registration.

Members of the Law Society can maintain their CPD records online through LawInform.

What kind of activities can I claim?

There are a variety of ways to meet your CPD requirements. These include seminars, workshops, lectures, conferences, discussion groups, multimedia or web-based programs, private study of audio/visual material, postgraduate study, research, preparation and editing of articles, membership and attendance at committees of professional bodies, successful completion of specialist accreditation assessment process, and the preparation and presentation of seminars. The complete list can be found in CPD Rule 8.

CPD is based on self-assessment of educational activities. If you assess that an activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you can claim the activity towards your CPD requirements (CPD Rule 7).

Is there a cap on claiming certain activities?


The following table sets out the maximum number of units that can be claimed per activity (CPD Rule 9).

  Relevant rules  

CPD activity

Calculation of 1 CPD unit for the activity

Maximum units that can be undertaken

8.1.1 & 9.1.1

seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, discussion group, multimedia or web-based program etc.

1 hour

no limit

8.1.1 & 9.2.4

private study of audio/visual material

1 hour

5 units (or 5 hours)

8.1.2, 9.1.2 & 9.2.1


8.1.3 & 9.2.2

research, preparation or editing of a legal article


preparation or presentation of CPD activities

1000 words


1 hour

5 units (or 5000 words)


5 units (or 5 hours) & 9.2.3

membership of a legal committee, taskforce or practice section

2 hours

3 units (or 6 hours)

8.1.5 & 9.1.1

post-graduate study

1 hour

no limit

Online and virtual activities

When completing activities online or virtually, be aware of the difference between web-based programs (uncapped) and private study of audio/visual material (capped at 5 units). The distinction is that:

  • web-based programs provide opportunities for interaction with the material; whereas
  • private study of audio/visual material is passive and does not provide opportunities for interaction.

Examples of web-based programmes include:

  • real-time discussion among participants in ‘break-out’ rooms;
  • a chat function or other facility to ask questions or post comments during an online seminar;
  • quizzes, tests and polls to test existing knowledge of a topic, comprehension of the material being discussed, or ability to apply concepts in practice;
  • scenarios that require a choice from various options to proceed.

Commencing legal practice part-way through the CPD year?

If you commence or recommence legal practice part-way through the CPD year (1 April to 31 March), you must complete your CPD requirements on a pro rata basis, as set out below:

Where a pro rata calculation applies, CPD compulsory fields must be completed as part of the remaining units (CPD Rule 6.2).

Month commencing or recommencing practice

CPD units to complete

























What if I need an exemption from completing CPD?

There are certain grounds you may apply in writing, for an exemption from your CPD requirements, in whole or in part (CPD Rule 16.3) These grounds include:

  • illness or disability;
  • the location of your legal practice;
  • being absent from legal practice due to parenting leave or unemployment;
  • reduced hours of practice owing to part time or causal employment;
  • your circumstances are such that you are required to hold a practising certificate but are not engaged in legal practice;
  • you have been in practice for a period exceeding 40 years but do not practise as a principal; or
  • hardship or other special circumstances.

An application for exemption must be made in writing by lodging an online Application for exemption from CPD requirements.

What if I need more time to complete my CPD?

If you declare in your practising certificate renewal application that you have not complied with your CPD requirements and you are not otherwise eligible to make a CPD exemption application, then you must complete and submit an online Rectification of non-compliance CPD plan. This plan details the courses and steps that you will complete to comply with your outstanding CPD requirements (CPD Rule 15). We recommend that you submit a plan and complete your outstanding CPD units as soon as possible.

Does the Law Society audit legal practitioners?


The Law Society conducts an annual audit of solicitors each year. If you are selected for the audit, we will contact you. You will be required to provide your CPD records and evidence in support of your record within twenty one (21) days of our request (CPD Rule 14).

Accredited Specialists are not required to provide records or evidence of the ten (10) units they have attained for the purpose of renewing their specialist accreditation.

Do I need to attain CPD units if I am practising overseas?


You may attain your CPD units in the overseas jurisdiction in which you are practising.

An exemption from your CPD requirements under CPD rule 16.3.2 (the location of your legal practice) relates to limitations on accessibility to CPD activities due to the remoteness of location of a solicitor.

Notes for CPD providers

The system of self-assessment underpinning CPD requires individual practitioners to determine the number of CPD units for which they will claim. Providers may wish to use one of the following statements:

Version A - long version
CPD activities are not accredited by the Law Society. If this particular activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you should claim one (1) "unit”. Please refer to the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 to understand the relevant cap on units claimed for this activity. 

The annual requirement is ten (10) CPD units each year from 1 April to 31 March.

Version B - short version
If this particular educational activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you should claim one (1) "unit”. Please refer to the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 to understand the relevant cap on units claimed for this activity.