Continuing professional development is often seen as a means of protecting professional autonomy and maintaining privileged status. This article explores recent debates. A missing perspective on how professional learning occurs is explored using practice-based learning. The purposeful practice of professionals is considered with particular attention to instances of `hot' action, situations where professionals are required to make on-the-spot decisions with little time for deliberation. We demonstrate that it is at such moments that, through articulation and in dialogic relations, professionals can arrive at new understandings of their work; this we term `CPD-on-the-run'. Our research findings are from a collaborative study of lawyers and we report some of the significant ways in which these professionals learn and the context. Our findings suggest there is a need to shift policies away from the predominant focus on individuals towards a concern with informal and spontaneous collective interaction in practice.