IQ Legal Training CEO, Ian Quayle, discusses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education, and his experience of delivering online training to the legal profession.
Having spent the last 17 years spending my time travelling the length and breadth of the country delivering training courses to the legal profession at conferences, training courses and for the last five years or so webinars on behalf of the largest legal training provider in the country, I have found 2020 and 2021 so far to have been the most turbulent time I have encountered.
I recall the last recession when training courses were cancelled, and the property sector of the legal profession decimated, but nothing compares to the current level of uncertainty. Whilst it is impossible to predict the property market generally, I am seeing a number of very positive things in what have been some very dark times.
Firstly it has been refreshing to see the “can do attitude” of the legal profession despite all the problems of lockdown and working from home.
Secondly most conveyancers and property lawyers are extremely busy. As an aside, once again the profession are frequently and unfairly blamed for delays and problems in the process heightened of course by the rush to complete during the SDLT window.
Thirdly we have seen innovation such as the development of the acceptance of electronic signatures and the use of Zoom and other platforms to permit virtual meetings.
Finally, there is an appetite for training. In lockdown training was seen as a useful exercise for staff unable to undertake their normal activities. Surprisingly despite a return for work for some and uncertainty as to prospects for others that hunger for training is continues unabated.
In lockdown training was seen as a useful exercise for staff unable to undertake their normal activities
It seems the format of a one hour long live webinar works. For example, I have delivered webinars recently with over 500 delegates attending and a series of webinars with delegate numbers exceeding 200 for each training session. In addition, my inbox fills on a daily basis with requests for training and requests for assistance or guidance.
Feedback is generally and pleasantly positive. Virtual training seems to allow more delegate participation with the use of the chat box and building in time for questions generating far more opportunities than with old face to face training courses. This interaction assists with training.
The volume of questions benefits me as it shows that delegates are listening to and engaging with me. I am beginning to think I am scary face to face or I bore delegates so that they just want to get home or back to the office as there is not the same interaction with face to face training.
The live webinar model seems to be the way forward
The live webinar model seems the way forward with the use of sponsorship and sheer number of delegates attending enable the training to be delivered in a very cost effective manner plus there are environmental and time savings relating to travel to venues.
Whether face to to face training is going to return in 2021 is looking more and more doubtful. The effect has been my expenses have become non-existent and my travel to work a 80 metre dash past the alpine garden up the steps across the lawn and to the home office at the top of the garden. I hope to (virtually) see you there soon.
Ian Quayle qualified as a solicitor and worked in private practice for 12 years specialising in property law matters. He has since delivered over 1500 training courses to legal professionals in city and regional firms, local law societies, local authorities and students. Connect with Ian on LinkedIn here.