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Stepping Up - foundation for practising on own account 2021

Stepping Up - foundation for practising on own account 2021
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1 September 2021 - In the current uncertain environment, the decision has been made to hold the Wellington session of the Stepping Up Training Programme scheduled for 23 - 25 September live online, via Zoom. Current registrants have been emailed directly.  Registrations for Wellington are closed, however we welcome registrations for the remaining session in November. 

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All lawyers wishing to practise on their own account, whether alone or in partnership or in an incorporated practice, and some in-house counsel, will be required to complete the course. To complete Stepping Up you must do approximately 50 hours of self-directed distance learning and workshop preparation and then attend a two and a half day workshop. Please note that before you attend the workshop you must sign an undertaking that you have completed all the distance learning and preparatory work. There are six courses offered in 2021. However, there is no guarantee of acceptance to any particular course as maximum numbers apply to each session.

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Stepping Up - due diligence

Many graduates of Stepping Up wish they had considered the implications of practising on own account, in whatever form, before they did Stepping Up. We’ve got something to help you with that – our own series of videos called So you are thinking of practising on own account? Click here for more information

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Topping Up Stepping Up

Topping Up Stepping Up is a revision course for practitioners who have previously completed Stepping Up satisfactorily, but who have not commenced practice on their own account within the required two years of the expiry date. Click here for more information

Completing the course

The course will comprise:

  • Modular, self-directed, distance-learning tasks
  • Preparation work for the two-and-a-half day workshop
  • An undertaking
  • Attendance at the two-and-a-half day workshop
  • Some assessment.

The learning modules include background information, examples, practice exercises and questions, and preparatory work for the workshop. You must work through each module at your own pace – read, and then answer questions and/or carry out practice exercises as required. As a guide, we estimate that all pre-course work will take about 50 hours.

All your written work for each module must be handed in to the course executive before the course begins.

The course will include modules on


  • What it means and why it is important
  • How to be a leader in your professional and private life.

Business planning

  • The key choices owners must make regarding business models, practice structure and business planning
  • How to develop a business plan.


  • Why a professional services firm is different
  • How to develop a plan to grow your firm/practice.

The people dimension

  • Recruiting the right people
  • Motivating and retaining staff
  • Delegating, supervising and managing staff
  • Handling stress.

Financial management

  • Profit drivers and profitability
  • Cash flow, lock-up, WIP, debtors and related billing matters
  • Cost of production
  • Key financial concepts and key tax concepts.

Managing the business

  • Appropriate systems and procedures
  • Physical assets.

Professional conduct

  • Complying with the Act, Regulations and Rules of Conduct and Client Care
  • Dealing with clients, other members of the profession, and members of the public
  • Conflicts of interest, trust-based issues and undertakings.

Managing client’s instructions

  • Managing your relationships with your clients
  • Pricing.

Risk management

  • The concepts and process of risk management
  • Identifying the risks and how to minimise them
  • The professional indemnity disclosure requirement and common PI insurance issues.

Managing clients’ funds

  • The fundamentals of trust accounting
  • Responsibilities of partners who are not Trust Account Supervisors
  • Detecting and dealing with fraud.

NOTE: In the background booklet there will be a chapter on how to manage the practical aspects of running an office, for example managing the physical assets, client files, administration systems and technology.

There will also be concurrent workshop sessions according to the candidate’s intended career path:

  • Barrister sole
  • Sole practitioner or partner/ director in a two-partner firm
  • Partner/director in a firm of three or more partners.

Learning objectives

Stepping Up is a major building block in the Society’s competence and professional development programme.
You will:

  • Be better able to run the business of a law practice.
  • Be qualified to assume responsibility for the obligations of the practice.
  • Understand and be able to more confidently apply the relevant Rules of Conduct and Client Care.
  • Understand the principles and rules of trust accounting.

Those lawyers who wish to practise on their own and run a trust account will also have to complete the Trust Account Supervisors’ course.


The booklet and the workfolder will be couriered to registrants. These materials will be available approximately three months before each workshop begins.


Before participants attend the workshop, they must sign and hand to the course executive a declaration that they have completed all background reading and pre-course work to the required standard.

Disclosure of information

Stepping Up candidates for practice on own account will be required to give NZLS CLE and the Course Director written authority to disclose to the New Zealand Law Society and NZLS CLE anything they consider relevant to the candidate’s application to practise on own account.


The course assessment will be based on:

  • All prescribed work being completed, including a written report of a trust account.
  • Active participation in all workshop sessions.

In the event of failure of any assessed part of the course, there is a process for reassessment.

Applying to practise on your own account

Stepping Up is a compulsory prerequisite for lawyers applying to be barristers sole.
Stepping Up is the first step in the process towards qualifying to practise on your own account. If you do not commence practice on own account within two years from the date you completed Stepping Up, the qualification lapses. When you intend to practise on your own account you should make a formal application to your local NZLS branch. The relevant information is available on the NZLS website – see here.

The process of application to practise on own account takes six to eight weeks. This is to allow time for your name to be advertised to the profession, for you to attend an interview (if required) and for reference checks to be made.

Course Director

  • Warwick Deuchrass, Wanaka

Pre-course work and undertaking

  • Download the electronic version of all Answer sections, either as a PDF here or a Word document here.
  • Download the electronic version of undertaking with the corresponding checklist here.  

Observation Report

  • Download the Observation Report Template here

Fee (incl GST)

Fee includes materials (booklet and workfolder), and catering on the two-and-a-half days. Accommodation is not included.


  • Course Fee: $1,650
  • Reassessment of any part: $110
  • Reconsideration of any part: $65

Do you want to register more than one person for this course? Click here

View full content and PDF registration brochure here.


  • Day one - 8.45am - 6.00pm
  • Day two - 8.30am - 6.00pm
  • Day three - 8.15am - 12.45pm

2021 dates

Auckland 1 11 - 13 February 2021 
Live Online 25 - 27 March 2021
Christchurch 13 - 15 May 2021 
Auckland 2 29 - 31 July 2021 Registrations for this session have closed. Please register for the next available session.
Wellington 23 - 25 September 2021
Auckland 3 25 - 27 November 2021

2022 dates

Registrations open soon - Would you like to be notified when registrations open?
Auckland 1 10 - 12 February 2022
Live Online 7 - 9 April 2022
Christchurch 26 - 28 May 2022
Auckland 2 28 - 30 July 2022
Wellington 22 - 24 September 2022
Auckland 3 17 - 19 November 2022

Closing date

Registrations close four weeks prior to each session as candidates must register to allow enough time to receive the materials and be able to complete the pre-course reading and written work, and the workshop preparation (estimated to be about 50 hours) in order to file an undertaking before the workshop commences. Late registrations will be considered on an individual basis if space permits.

Cancellation policy

This workshop has a ‘No transfer policy’. Therefore, if you are unable to attend the workshop you must cancel your registration. If you cancel your registration at least 15 working days before the workshop begins, you will receive a refund of $880. No refunds will be given for any cancellations made less than 15 working days prior to the course.


Development funded by:

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Registrant Details

Use this window to add all the registrants you wish to register on behalf of. If you want to attend the course also, ensure you add yourself as one of the registrants. Make sure you press ‘save’ after adding each new registrant.

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Stepping Up - foundation for practising on own account - Auckland 3

25 - 27 November - Ellerslie Event Centre

NZ $1,650.00
Please indicate on what basis you intend practising on own account

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freephone (within NZ)
0800 333 111

[email protected]

04 472 7837

04 463 2986
Level 4, 17-21 Whitmore Street
Wellington 6011

DX SP 20202
PO Box 5041
Wellington 6140
New Zealand