The deadline for submission of responses to the draft Competency Framework for Solicitors in Ireland has been extended to 30 November 2022.
The Society’s Education Committee has for some time been engaged in a process of developing a Competency Framework for Solicitors in Ireland (CFS). This work has been facilitated by staff from the Society’s Education Department together with international consultants Paul Maharg, Jenny Crew and Angela Yenssen. At its September 2022 meeting, the Society’s Education Committee approved the draft CFS as a consultation document, to be circulated to the profession and other relevant stakeholders. The Chairperson of the Education Committee, Richard Hammond S.C., is pleased that the CFS draws on international best practices in professional education. Following consideration of the submissions made during the consultation process, a final CFS will be adopted, and even after adoption shall be very much a ‘living’ document, subject to further review and amendment so as to remain up-to-date and to fully reflect the rapidly changing environment in which solicitors practice.
By way of background, Professor Maharg advises that the CFS sets out day one competence in the practice of solicitors in Ireland. It also provides an advisory framework for continuing competence. Recognising the diverse and changing nature of the profession, the document focuses upon the threshold competences that might be expected of solicitors now and in the near future.
The CFS begins with a threshold definition of Professionalism which establishes a holistic baseline level of competence that should be achieved by all solicitors at the point of qualification. The definition sets out expectations that clients and other stakeholders can reasonably assume of all Irish solicitors wherever they practice. It informs the articulation of the more granular competencies in Professional Ethics and Standards, in Professional Communications, and in Understanding of the Law and its Practical Application, which also forms an essential part of the CFS. Professor Maharg concludes that the CFS can be developed for many different types of educational interventions, and for formative and summative assessment in both pre-qualification training, and CPD programmes, an issue that is further developed in Part 3 of the CFS.
Interested parties are requested to respond to this consultation by setting out in writing their observations/ comments on the CFS to Rory O’Boyle, Education Standards Manager (R.OBoyle@LawSociety.ie) by Wednesday 30 November 2022.