Are you [in-] house trained?

Part I: Pros and cons from the pros: When sourcing conveyancing training, the traditional training option used to be  external courses. More recently, e-learning (such as webinars) has become popular, but what about training’s rising star: in-house training?

The Lexsure Academy is seeing increasing numbers of law firms considering in-house training courses but is this the perfect solution? Does it suit all types of firms? Is it better for firms of one size or another? What other factors should be taken into account?

In this post, we give you the benefit of our experience of training hundreds of conveyancers a year. We’ll lay out the advantages, disadvantages and other considerations you might like to have in mind when considering in-house training, so you know if it’s the right path for you and your firm and we’ll give you some useful hints and tips along the way.

The advantages of in-house

E-learning’s drawbacks – For some needs, e-learning can be a good option but its drawbacks are fairly obvious and none apply to in-house. It’s pretty easy for lawyers to be distracted by calls and emails etc without a ‘real person’ in front of them. It’s an impersonal setting that doesn’t lend itself to a quality return on your training budget.

Training costs – In-house usually carries a lower cost per delegate than external  scheduled courses due to the fact the training company only has to send a trainer to you rather than pay for a suitable professional environment themselves. Of course, this only works if there are enough attendees. We generally find that 4 lawyers is the break-even point – and if you have more attendees, the savings can be significant. As can be seen towards the end of this blog some service providers are offering free in-house training.

Travel cost savings – You don’t have to pay travel costs to get your lawyers from home / the office to the training centre. Depending on circumstances (how far, whether taxis are required, how many delegates) this could also save you a meaningful sum.

Travel time – Feedback to Lexsure suggests that in larger firms, travel cost savings are not particularly valued, but by contrast, firms of all sizes appreciate fee-earners’ time and bringing the trainer to your office is a huge time-saver, which, of course, makes a big impact on bottom line.

Personalised approach – In-house training is, by definition, just for your firm, unlike external or e-learning, where your team may be in a room (or virtual room) with delegates from any number of firms. So instead of a generic approach, when the in-house trainer is skilled and from a reputable company, you can expect them to focus the training on the specific topics that are pertinent to your firm or the ones your attendees are most interested in delving into.

Real world examples – Training in-house means the courses can be prepared to fix issues your firm has actually faced, using real life cases without fear of breaching confidentiality or commercial sensitivities. This can be very powerful. Lexsure has found that lawyers are keen to discuss examples of problematic current or historic cases and review them in an open and non-judgemental forum. This is much more valuable than talking about  generic, fictional examples, which can fall into the opposing camps of being either too mundane or too ‘wacky’ for the attendees to feel they are truly benefiting.

Convenience – Organising training for a group of conveyancers all with their own deadlines and pressures can be a very difficult task. However, having in-house training courses in your own building can make working around lawyers’ schedules a lot easier as you are cutting out logistical issues (no travel time, no contingencies for delays on transport etc) as well as the fact that replacement delegates can be easily accessed in case something arises that needs to be addressed quickly, or perhaps to provide an additional perspective on a topic that arises.

Team building – Having a room full of conveyancers, especially from different offices or floors, can encourage teamwork. This is a fantastic result as it is often in this social learning that the best learning is done, when ideas are bounced off each other. This will also likely lead to increased awareness and understanding of each other’s roles as well as staff morale. A friendly workplace is always a good thing!

Lawyer retention – Conveyancing firms struggle with keeping their best people and staffing merry-go-rounds are disruptive and expensive. Bringing in trainers is a statement by a law firm that they believe in investing in lawyers and your fee-earners will feel that you care about their career development, not just box-ticking for ‘points’. An edge in this arena is valuable as this is a very real business concern for most firms.

The disadvantages

Extra administration – Although you save money by lessening the organisation needed by the training company, you do take on this burden yourself. Someone needs to find a suitable room and whatever refreshments you think suitable. It’s not onerous, but it does need to be done.

Delegates stay on site – As much as this is a benefit, it is also a disadvantage to in-house training. It’s easier to withdraw the attendees from  the training if they’re not 45 minutes away, which makes it tempting when there’s an urgent exchange or completion. Interruptions disturb everyone in the room, so your firm needs to be very disciplined about this. Helpfully, the time commitment is shorter because of the lack of travel time, which does make it easier.

Networking – Your staff will not meet anyone from other companies if the training course is done in-house. They miss out on networking and learning from the different ethos and style of another company.

Searches UK and free in-house training

The Lexsure Academy offers a range of one hour in-house training sessions, which cost £750+VAT. However, for a limited period, your firm’s session can be sponsored by Searches UK, meaning you receive expert training for conveyancers for free. To take advantage of this offer, simply contact Searches UK on 0800 043 1815 or email info@searchesuk.co.uk to speak to one of their dedicated team today.

Terms and conditions

Strictly subject to availability, please book early to avoid disappointment

Only available for firms with minimum 15 attendees

If you are a small firm and would like to participate, let Searches UK know and they will try to consolidate a session with other local firms.

 

Kindly shared by Simon Seaton, non-practising solicitor