CPD Filing Requirement Suspended for Additional Year

October 1, 2021

In February 2020, the Law Society suspended the mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) filing requirement for the profession for the years 2020 and 2021. The suspension was to allow the Law Society time to build a new competence model that will aspire to empower and equip lawyers to provide the best legal services they can to Albertans.

The Lawyer Competence Committee (LCC) was established, in part, to review and revise the CPD program. Work is underway to develop a new competency profile that will establish the foundation for lawyer competence in Alberta. However, the work required to develop the competency profile and to implement a new CPD planning tool is substantial and will not be complete by May 2022. The Benchers have approved an extension to suspend the mandatory CPD filing requirement for an additional year to May 2023.

Our goal was to have a new CPD program ready to launch in 2022, but we quickly realized that this is an important undertaking that requires thorough engagement with the profession and time to build a program that goes beyond setting a minimum standard for competence and offers an enhanced experience for lawyers. The Law Society is actively engaging with the profession to develop the competency profile that will serve as the foundation for the new CPD program and planning tool that support the approach to lawyer competence for all Alberta lawyers.

We are looking to develop competency requirements that are relevant and proportionate to lawyers at all stages of their careers. We are also looking to broaden the concept of competency to extend into non-traditional areas such as technology, wellness, and general cultural competence.

For more background information on the decision to suspend the mandatory filing requirement, please read the message from past president, Kent Teskey.

Encouraging lifelong learning

Although the mandatory filing requirement has been lifted for an additional year until 2023, CPD activities remain crucial for lawyers in fulfilling their Code of Conduct obligations respecting competent legal service delivery.  Lawyers are still encouraged to develop an annual CPD plan, whether on their own or by using the CPD planning tool through the Lawyer Portal, which continues to be available to track and declare professional development activities.

As a reminder, the Indigenous Cultural Competency education, The Path (Law Society of Alberta), was launched to provide lawyers with ongoing professional development. For most lawyers, The Path (Law Society of Alberta) training must be complete by October 2022, or within the 18-month timeframe for completion.

Learning doesn’t stop once law school ends. Like other professions, lawyers must stay up to speed with technology, issues, and consumer needs. Taking the time to schedule professional development benefits you as a lawyer, your law firm or organization and your clients.