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There are ways to change articling locations and/or principals during your articling term. Note that any change must be approved by the Law Society prior to working with your new firm or principal.
Change in Working Arrangements
The student-at-law and the principal must promptly notify the Law Society where the student-at-law is no longer working as originally planned (Rules of the Law Society of Alberta Rule 57.1) . You do not need to notify the Law Society if:
- the student-at-law is on a leave of absence with the approval of the principal;
- both the student-at-law and the principal expect that the student-at-law will resume working with the principal upon the conclusion of the leave of absence;
- the student-at-law will not be providing legal services of any type during the leave of absence; and
- the reason for the leave of absence does not in any way reflect on (i) the integrity, or (ii) the competence, as that term is defined in Chapter 3 of the Code of Conduct, of the student-at-law.
It is the responsibility of the student-at-law and the principal to keep track of any time that the student is away and not performing their duties. This is to ensure that the minimum requirements are met with respect to the length of articles.
You may choose to advise the Law Society of any change in working arrangements to receive further direction on meeting the articling requirements.
Assignment of Articles
An Assignment of Articles assigns your current Articling Agreement and Education plan to a new principal with no break in the articling term. For example, if you need to transition to a new principal, an assignment is the way the articles are transferred.
To do so, you must complete and submit an Assignment of Articles Application in the Lawyer Portal. When your application is submitted, the current and proposed principal will be notified to accept the assignment. Please ensure the application is submitted and approved prior to the assignment taking effect as the Law Society requires advanced notice. Please note that a new principal is subject to the Law Society’s approval process.
Termination of Articles
The termination of articles is addressed by the Rules (see Rule 57.3). There are two ways for a student-at-law or principal to terminate articles. Firstly, a mutual termination which would require the following:
- Joint letter of termination submitted to Membership (this can be sent via email, no original required) outlining that both parties agree to terminate the articles and an effective date of termination – this must be signed by both student-at-law and principal; and
- In the event of a joint termination, principals must complete the principal certification of articling period in the Lawyer Portal. This certification will be available once the Law Society has received and processed the termination.
Alternatively, one party can terminate with written notice to the other, which requires the following:
- Letter from either student-at-law or principal outlining the termination effective date and confirmation/proof that notice was provided to the other party; and
- Principal certification of the articling period in the Lawyer Portal. This certification will be available once the Law Society has received and processed the termination. Please note that if a principal will not complete this for any reason, we require an explanation as to why they are unwilling to sign these forms.
Recommencement of Articles
A recommencement of articles allows you to:
- resume your articles in the event your articles have been terminated; or,
- resume your articles once you have reached the end of a composite articling term.
To apply for a recommencement of your articles, please submit a new Articling Agreement Application through the Lawyer Portal at least 30-days prior to when you wish to commence work. Membership will email you about your application once it has been reviewed.