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Outside of the traditional article, students-at-law can choose composite articles to fulfil the articling requirement of becoming a lawyer in Alberta.
Composite articles are articles that are made up of a variety of practice settings that accumulate to fulfill the minimum articling requirement in Alberta. They can be an amalgamation of multiple short- or long-term articling positions.
Each time you change practice settings, you also change to a new principal. For example, you could have five practice settings, in five different practice areas, with a new principal in each setting.
Students-at-law considering composite articles should:
- Ensure the articles meet the education plan requirements.
- Ensure they have an agreement in place with each articling principal to ensure a common understanding of practice area(s), articling term start and end dates, expectations, salary and any other relevant items.
- Ensure they submit the education plan and articles of clerkship to Membership with every composite arrangement so that any potential concerns can be raised early on and resolved, if necessary.
- Ensure evaluation certificate and certificate of principal are submitted after completion of every composite term for articling credit.
- Ensure Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) applications and fees are completed and submitted in accordance with the requirements of the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP).
As a helpful resource for further information, read our article Rising to the Challenge about another student’s experience with composite articles.
The student-at-law is responsible for arranging their own articling program, however a principal is welcome to provide guidance and suggestions to a student-at-law and assist with networking.
In a composite article, each principal will pay for the portion of articles the student-at-law spends with him or her during the articling term. It is up to each student-at-law and principal to determine salary and any benefits in accordance with legal requirements.
The student is responsible to pay the application and admission fees at the time of submitting their application.
The student is responsible to pay the CPLED admission fees at the time of enrolment.
The eight-month articling requirement does not require continuous practice. The articling term and PREP must be completed within three years of admission as as student-at-law. If an extension is needed, it must be requested prior to the expiry of the student-at-law status. Please review Rule 58.1 and s. 44 of the Legal Profession Act.
A composite article will generally range from one to seven months to meet the eight-month total requirement.
The applicant is required to complete an Application for Admission as a student-at-law and an Education Plan through their Lawyer Portal.
When moving from the first articling portion to each subsequent portion, a new Articles of Clerkship must be submitted to Membership. An amended or updated education plan must be completed for each articling portion as well.
In addition, when you as the student-at-law leave each articling portion, your principal must certify your articles through the Lawyer Portal on the “My Students” page. If you applied prior to April 1, 2019 by submitting paper forms, a Certificate of Principal must be submitted by each principal you have articled with.