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Sir Terence O'Rort
2 September, 2005  
QLS' brisk trade in the "knowledge" biz

Mark Twain said “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”. Inspired by that notion the Queensland Law Society’s points system for Continuing Professional Development does not interfere with members’ understanding of the law


imageI’m happy to report that the questing souls at the Queensland Law Society have conjured up some fresh tricks.

After former Queensland attorney general “Rocket” Rod Welford stripped the QLS of its disciplinary powers the fidelity fund honey pot was essentially removed from its podgy grasp.

It was the good old FF that for many years propped up the lavish lifestyle around at the Ann Street HQ.

Thrashing about for something to do the QLS came up with a rigorous Continuing Professional Development program for the rank and file. Better still, it is compulsory for practitioners with less than 40 years in the harness to obtain 10 CPD points each year.

Prior to running out of money there wasn’t too much concern from the worthies at the QLS about the havoc being wreaked on customers by incompetent lawyers in a state that had one of the worst claims records in Australia.

Importantly, the CPD program attracts funds from the Law Foundation slush fund, plus all the money from the poor sods that have to pay for their “education”. The cash registers are ringing and things are back to normal at QLS House. And why shouldn’t they be when you consider the quality program on offer.

For instance, practitioners can earn 1.5 CPD points for attending “The Year in Review – Christmas Breakfast with chief justice de Jersey” at the Brisbane Club for the bargain price of $121 for members and $143 for non-members.

As the QLS CLE Events Calendar puts it:

“Come join the chief justice as he provides his reflections on the 2005 year. Fast becoming a QLS tradition, this event provides practitioners with a chance to network in a festive and relaxed breakfast setting. In the spirit of Christmas a number of ‘Christmas Cheer’ lucky door prizes will be presented at this event.”

Sounds like a pretty gruelling educative experience.

One of the compulsory units deals with trust accounts, entitled “Making it all add up”. The lecturer comes from the QLS itself and the event is worth two points (slightly more than brekka with Daphnis).

However, one could be excused for not being too full of confidence about this affair since an examination of the QLS accounts over the past 10 years shows that they have never been able to make things add up. The 2005 Annual General Meeting, attended by the usual claqueurs, had to be adjourned because the accounts weren’t even ready.

Fortunately, members don’t actually have to work up too much of a sweat attending seminars in order to muster vital CPD points. DVDs can be purchased from the QLS so that students can “attend a CLE event in the comfort of their home or office”.

Other rigorous topics that attract CPD points include: Personal Wealth Creation, Communicating for Diversity, Communicating with Challenging Clients and Initial Client Interview.

If members are too stretched to attend a two-day knees-up or splash out on DVDs then there is always the option of throwing themselves into the richly textured life of the QLS committee system and earning one CPD point for every two hours spent on committee “participation”.

Then again if “committee world” is not to your taste one CPD point can be notched up for every two hours of “private study”.

The CPD rules also permit the QLS to determine that points may be allocated for courses the content of which is coyly described as “not of a direct legal nature”, viz. speed reading and public speaking.

This is all too gruelling for words.

Thank heavens that the QLS remains, in the words of Daphnis de Jersey at last year’s educational Christmas bash, “a strong, efficient and significant professional body”.

Sir Terence O’Rort signing off for now...