22 November 2017
One of the best things members can do to both verify and improve their skills is to undertake a Specialist Accreditation course in their particular area of expertise. Specialist Accreditation involves completing an advanced, peer-reviewed assessment program specific to an area of expertise, requiring the demonstration of a very high level of knowledge and skills in that area.
Undertaking the course focuses a participant’s mind and forces them to delve into their knowledge base and really work through the subject. Having undertaken the training myself to gain my Specialist Accreditation in Succession Law, I can tell you that however well you think you know your area, you’ll know it twice as well at the end of the course!
The great benefit of the course is it pushes you to a higher standard, because it is a very full-on and comprehensive examination of your knowledge and ability-in other words, not for the faint-hearted! The assessment varies from course to course, but generally involves take-home assignments, supervised written examinations and a peer interview. This last can be daunting. Conducted by a panel of expert assessors from the relevant committee, questions are asked regarding a given fact scenario and/or general legal principles and practice; the interview is recorded and often time limited.
At first glance this may seem harsh or over the top, but the standard is deliberately very high, and for good reason: Specialist Accreditation is your Society’s recognition that you are a specialist in a chosen practice area, and held in the same regard as the Bar holds its Queens Counsel/Senior Counsel. By backing that accreditation with a transparent, peer-reviewed and rigorous assessment, the Society ensures that the accreditation has credibility throughout the profession and the justice system itself.
Those who pass the course are allowed to call themselves Specialist Accredited in their area, and utilise post nominals and trademarked logos. These are, of course, very beneficial when marketing to clients, but this accreditation is more than that – a Specialist Accredited solicitor is expected to be a leader in the profession. They set an example and an aspiration for new practitioners and should be the epitome of the ethical solicitor all practitioners should aspire to be.
It isn’t all hard work, however. We do appreciate the work of Specialist Accredited solicitors in keeping the standards of the profession at the highest level, and acknowledge their efforts at end-of-year breakfasts. This week I will be speaking at a breakfast in Cairns to honour our Specialist Accredited solicitors, and the President-elect will be at a similar event in his home town of Townsville.
Any members interested in applying for Specialist Accreditation should check out our Specialist Accreditation Information Page on the website. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep up to date with all things QLS weekly newsletter, our monthly magazine Proctor or via social media. The Society is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and I am personally on LinkedIn and Twitter.