Continuing Professional Development
2013 CPD Plan Declaration Due Date For All Active Lawyers
Your 2013 CPD Plan declaration is due starting January 1, 2013 and must be made on or before March 15, 2013.
The Law Society of Alberta’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program is a regulatory program of the Law Society. It is a mandatory requirement for all active lawyers in Alberta to annually make a CPD Plan declaration. The goal of CPD Program is to enhance lawyer competence and to be accountable to the public for the ongoing professional development and competence of lawyers.
The aim is to ensure that each lawyer in Alberta strives for excellence in their practice through the mandatory annual planning and implementation of an effective CPD Plan. To this end, the Rules and Code of Conduct require every active lawyer to:
- Annually prepare and make a record of a CPD Plan in writing or electronic form;
- On or before March 15 of each year, make a declaration to the Law Society that their annual CPD Plan has been made; and
- Retain the written or electronic record of the CPD Plan for 5 years and produce the CPD Plan to the Law Society upon request.
Although there is no mandatory minimum hourly requirement, the annual planning, declaration and implementation of a CPD Plan is mandatory for all active lawyers practising in Alberta.
Create and Declare a CPD Plan
Each active lawyer is accountable for developing, implementing and declaring their CPD Plan. Rule 67.2 requires that each lawyer record and keep their CPD Plans for 5 years and provide their plans to the Law Society upon request.
The Law Society is focusing on developing a more robust regulatory framework to ensure that lawyers are held accountable for developing and implementing high quality CPD Plans.
Continuing Professional Development Activities
It is not necessary to have your CPD activities accredited by the Law Society of Alberta. It is your obligation to ensure that the CPD activities you undertake and incorporate into your CPD Plan meet Rule 67.1.
For CLE Providers:
It is important for CLE providers to develop and market the courses they offer to Alberta lawyers as being activities that may be included in an Alberta lawyer’s annual mandatory CPD Plan. Below is the suggested wording to place your CLE brochure:
For Alberta lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development Plan as required by the Law Society of Alberta.
Unlike other jurisdictions, the Law Society of Alberta's CPD Program does not have a mandatory minimum number of accredited hours to be counted towards CPD. It is mandatory however, that lawyers in Alberta make an annual CPD declaration that they have made a CPD Plan including a range of learning activities relevant to their professional development.
Rule 67. 1 defines continuing professional development as any learning activity that is:
- relevant to the professional needs of a lawyer;
- pertinent to long-term career interests as a lawyer;
- in the interests of the employer of a lawyer or
- related to the professional ethics and responsibilities of lawyers.
Continuing professional development must contain significant substantive, technical, practical or intellectual content. It is each lawyer’s responsibility to determine whether a learning activity meets these criteria and therefore qualifies as continuing professional development.
The Law Society of Alberta does not accredit courses offered by CLE providers nor assign hours to a course. It is the decision of each lawyer whether a CPD course or activity meets the requirements of Rule 67.1 and whether to include it in their CPD Plan.
Online Tools & Resources
Online tools and CPD resources for the development and declaration of a CPD Plan are available at the CPD Alberta website at CPDAlberta.ca.
The Online Tools
The CPD Program is a flexible and convenient method to ensure lawyers meet their professional duty of competence and meets the Law Society’s public interest mandate by implementing a regulatory program to ensure the ongoing competence and professionalism of lawyers in Alberta. The Law Society of Alberta regulates lawyers in the public interest. It is important to be accountable and demonstrate to the public that lawyers maintain and strive for high levels of professionalism and competence in the practice of law. The Law Society of Alberta is committed to self-regulation of the legal profession, and to establishing the highest standards of governance and protection of the public.
CPD Rules and the Code of Conduct
Charis CPD Summary Report