Over the last year, the Law Society has made increased use of digital media in order to expand and improve the service that it is able to offer to solicitors and other legal professionals.
On the publishing side, in response to the feedback we received from a customer survey, we have been trialling the conversion of some of our existing print publications into ebook formats. Titles now available as ebooks include Assessment of Mental Capacity (3rd Ed), which is a practical guide for doctors and lawyers on this topic produced in conjunction with the BMA, Family Law Protocol (3rd Ed) which sets out the Society’s best practice guidelines for this area of practice and Leadership for Law Firms, which offers practical guidance on the particular challenges faced by contemporary law firm leaders. As an ebook customer, you will receive an email within minutes of placing your order containing a link from which you download the ebook. You will need to have a copy of Adobe Digital Editions installed in order to read the books and, if you do not already have this free software, you will also be prompted to download this at the same time. Once you have registered an Adobe ID the books can be transferred and shared with other dedicated e-reader devices or apps including the Sony Reader, Bluefire (for iPad) or Aldiko (for Android devices) so that you can access the publication from your desk or on the move.
Having successfully converted a number of backlist titles to ebooks we are also looking to publish new titles in both print and electronic formats with Knowledge Management Handbook (due out in September) being the first that will be available in both formats from publication. We have also made some changes to our online bookshop so that our ebook range is now easily located in a separate category in the catalogue as well as each being listed under the area of practice that they cover. We are actively expanding our offering and, if there are any Law Society titles that you would particularly like to see in electronic format, please get in touch and we will consider making these available.
We have expanded the range of digital training products that are available through the CPD Centre. This online training portal was launched in April 2010 but 2012 has witnessed a significant increase in the volume of practitioners who are using it as a resource with which to plan and record their CPD activity as well as book onto the Society’s online training.
Initially we used the CPD Centre as a platform to offer a series of in-depth online training courses (typically lasting 2 to 3 hours) and we recently added to this portfolio with the launch of two new courses “CQS – Standard Practice and Procedure” and “CQS – Understanding Mortgage Fraud” in June to support the Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme. However, we have also developed a range of shorter webinars offering timely training on a range of practice areas including property law, private client work, practice management and advocacy. These last one hour and are broadcast live at lunchtimes, following which they remain accessible as recordings to enable practitioners to revisit them to refresh their knowledge. We have a programme of over 50 webinars scheduled for 2012 and they are competitively priced at £35 each, although many of them are free as a benefit to anyone joining one of the Society’s membership networks (known as sections). You can see details of the full range here.
Finally, we have also recently started offering podcasts through the CPD Centre as an additional training medium. These are audio recordings that can either be played through your PC or downloaded as an mp3 file for CPD hours on the move. The podcasts we have made available to date are recordings of conferences or events that we have held, such as the Family Justice Review Summit or annual Private Client and Criminal Law Conferences and provide an opportunity for practitioners to listen to contributions from key figures in the legal world such as the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, as well as leading practitioners if they have not been able to attend these events in person. If you are not familiar with this format you can try our free podcast on the Family Justice Review.
We are always seeking to expand and update our range of information and training products so look out for further developments in 2013.
Stephen Honey is Publishing Manager for The Law Society.