Professional Development


The Law Society of NSW is aware that COVID-19 has affected some solicitors’ ability to satisfy their continuing professional development (CPD) obligations for the CPD year ending 31 March 2020. This may be due to cancellation of face-to-face CPD delivery or concern about attending CPD events.

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Condition 1 is a statutory condition imposed on an Australian practising certificate pursuant to s 52 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW). This condition requires the certificate holder to comply with applicable requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015.

CPD year

The CPD year runs from 1 April to 31 March the following year.

CPD requirements

You are required to complete ten (10) CPD units each year. Within those ten (10) units you must include at least one (1) CPD unit every year in each of the following compulsory fields:
1. Ethics and professional responsibility
2. Practice management and business skills
3. Professional skills
4. Substantive law

Newly admitted solicitors and solicitors returning from a break in practice

If you have recently commenced holding a practising certificate for the first time or have recommenced practice after a break you may have different CPD requirements for the initial period. See CPD Rule 10.

Attaining your CPD units

The CPD scheme 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 satisfaction of the CPD requirements. See CPD Rule 7.

There are a variety of ways to meet your CPD requirements. These include seminars, workshops, lectures, conference, 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, preparation and presentation of seminars. The complete list can be found in CPD Rule 8.

Cap on certain activities

The following table details the calculation of CPD Units and the maximum number of units that can be claimed per activity undertaken in accordance with 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

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


5 units & 9.2.3

membership of a legal committee, taskforce or practice section

2 hours

3 units

8.1.5 & 9.1.1

post-graduate study

1 hour

no limit

Commencing legal practice after the start of the CPD year

If you commence or recommence holding a practising certificate after the 1 April you must complete, on a pro rata basis, the balance of the CPD units as set out below:

Reapplication month

CPD units

























Please note that where a partial exemption or pro rata calculation applies, compulsory fields must be completed as part of the remaining units to be satisfied.

Compulsory fields

Unless exempted in the whole or in part from attaining CPD units, you must include at least one (1) unit in each of the following fields every CPD year.

  • ethics and professional responsibility
  • practice management and business skills
  • professional skills
  • substantive law

A CPD audit is conducted each year and practitioners may be required to submit details of the CPD activities completed.

CPD record keeping

The CPD rules require solicitors to keep their own record of their CPD activities. The Society provides the Record of CPD activities template to assist you. 

Please use the form to list your CPD activities and the associated CPD points for the year. Please keep the form as your own record and provide a copy to the Society upon request.

Please review the record at the end of the CPD year and ensure that you have complied with all the units including the compulsory fields. You must also keep evidence in support of the activities noted on this form. Evidence can include attendance records, receipts, in house CPD records, emails confirming registration etc.

Please note that members of the Law Society are able to keep their CPD record online through LawInform.

CPD rectification of non compliance

If you have been absent from practice (parental leave, sick leave, unemployment etc) or your personal circumstances have made it difficult for you to meet your CPD requirements for the year you may be entitled to an exemption. If you have been in practice for 40 years or more and do not practise as a principal you may be entitled to an ongoing exemption. Requests for Exemptions are not granted automatically and the Licensing Committee must be satisfied that there are extenuating circumstances warranting the exemption. See: Request for exemption from CPD requirements.

If you have been unable to comply with the CPD requirements but are not eligible for an exemption you can apply to request an extension of time to complete the requirements. Please note that you will need to submit a CPD rectification plan for approval by the Licensing Committee. See: Request for extension of time to comply with CPD requirements.

CPD verification (audit)

The Law Society verifies compliance with the CPD scheme by a random audit of solicitors each year. The initial contact is by email from the Registry Compliance Team and requires the solicitor to provide their CPD record and evidence in support of the record within twenty one (21) days.

Accredited Specialists selected for the audit are only required to provide a list of the ten (10) units that they attained for the purpose of renewing their practising certificate not the ten (10) units they have attained for the purpose of renewing their specialist accreditation.

Other information

You may carry over a maximum of three (3) units from the previous CPD year if you attained the extra units between January and March. These units can only be counted towards one (1) CPD year.

Notes for providers

The system of self-assessment underpinning the CPD scheme requires individual practitioners to determine the number of CPD units for which they will claim credit. The Society suggests that providers use one of the following statements on brochures in preference to making any specific reference to CPD points or units.

Version A - long version
CPD activities are not accredited by the Law Society. 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” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.
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” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.