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The Law Society has been working with the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) to develop a mandatory Principal Training Course (the course), and we are pleased to announce the course is now available to Alberta lawyers. Visit https://www.lesaonline.org/product/principal-training-course/ to enrol in the course and see the second FAQ below for instructions on how to register.
The course is a requirement for all lawyers who want to be principals, however, the course is also valuable to anyone in a mentorship or supervisory role, or those who may consider being a principal in the future. If the course is completed when a lawyer is not acting as a principal, the requirement will be considered fulfilled if the lawyer applies to take on a principal role in the future.
The course is designed to take between 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. We encourage lawyers to work through the materials at their own pace. The course includes eight lessons covering such topics as Law Society duties/requirements, how to be an effective mentor, dealing with difficult conversations and cultural competency to name a few. Topics covered were developed in response to the 2019 articling survey and a 2021 survey of current and recent principals, articling students and mentors specifically regarding the course content.
The Law Society has worked with LESA to keep the cost of the course reasonable as it is a mandatory requirement for principals. There is a registration fee of $125 to cover LESA’s costs to deliver the course. When you sign up for the course, you are required to use your member number so the Law Society can track the completion of your training.
For further details, read the Feb. 1, 2022 announcement or view the FAQ below.
Frequently Asked Questions
In 2019, we conducted surveys of articling students, new lawyers, principals and mentors to better understand the state of the articling system. The results raised concerns about the inconsistency of articling experiences from both the perspective of students and principals. While the reasons for inconsistency are complex, a few of the issues highlighted were the varying quality of the articling experience and a lack of training or resources for principals.
One of the strategies to address these issues was the development of mandatory principal training. In 2021, the Benchers approved both the development of the training and the Rule amendments to allow the Law Society to apply the mandatory requirement for principals to complete the course, regardless of previous experience.
While many principals are doing a very good job supervising and mentoring articling students, it is important that the Law Society works towards consistency in the articling experience for all students and principals.
You can register for the course by following these steps:
- Visit https://www.lesaonline.org/product/principal-training-course/ to enrol in the course. If you have a LESA account, you will be prompted to login to complete the purchase. If you do not yet have a LESA account, you must create one on checkout.
- If you are a lawyer, for completion tracking purposes, the billing email address you use for your LESA account must be the same email address registered with the Law Society.
- If you are a LESA Classroom account holder, the Principal Training Course will automatically be added to the My Courses tab on your account shortly following registration. If you are not yet an account holder, an account will automatically be created for you with the credentials sent to your email address shortly following registration. You can access the LESA Classroom here.
- You are required to provide your full name, email address, and Law Society of Alberta ID # before starting the Principal Training Course. Please use the Pre-Questionnaire link in the course to provide this information. Participants who do not have a Law Society of Alberta ID #, such as non-lawyer supervisors or mentors, should insert 00000 to complete the field.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any registration or login questions.
The course includes eight lessons covering such topics as Law Society duties/requirements, how to be an effective mentor, dealing with difficult conversations and cultural competency to name a few. Topics covered were developed in response to the 2019 articling survey and a 2021 survey of current and recent principals and students specifically regarding the course content.
The Lawyer Competence Committee (LCC) and Lawyer Competence Advisory Committee (LCAC) along with Law Society staff, LESA staff and external subject matter experts contributed to the course content.
No. In December 2021, the Board approved amendments to the Law Society of Alberta Rules to support the decision at the June 2021 Bencher meeting which established that lawyers will not be eligible to be approved as principals unless they have completed the course.
To be eligible and approved to be a principal, lawyers must complete the course. If you want to be a principal, it is a good idea to complete the course before the student applies for student-at-law status to avoid disrupting their start date.
When a student submits their online articling forms and selects their principal, a notice is automatically generated for the lawyer to sign into the lawyer portal and confirm acceptance of the Articling Agreement, which states the requirement to complete the course.
The articling student cannot commence their articles until the principal has completed the course, unless the Law Society grants more time due to the course not being available at the time the principal was approved. See question below for additional information.
Supervisors involved in secondments exceeding 30 days are required to complete the course prior to the secondment being approved by the Law Society.
Yes. Any new principals who were approved between December 2, 2021 (the date the rule changes came into effect) and February 1, 2022, will receive a notice from the Membership department that they have 30 days to complete the course.
Principals whose applications were submitted before February 1, 2022, but are not approved by the course launch, will have 30 days to complete the course once the articles are approved. The Membership department will notify these principals of this requirement.
Yes. Lawyers can take the course at any time. When the lawyer’s eligibility to be a principal is considered, the requirement will be considered fulfilled.
Yes. While three of the eight modules focus specifically on acting as a principal in Alberta, the Law Society believes this course is valuable for anyone in a mentorship or supervisory role. We believe the course provides a leadership opportunity for all lawyers to demonstrate their commitment professional development and the success of future lawyers.
The Law Society has worked with LESA to keep the cost of the course reasonable as it is a mandatory requirement for principals. There is a registration fee of $125 to cover LESA’s costs to deliver the course.
The course is built on the Moodle platform, whose Accessibility Conformance Report can be found here. LESA has also partnered with Access Armada for targeted accessibility audits and testing of common user flows and representative page templates. Some features are not available on all browsers. For optimal accessibility, we recommend completing the course using Chrome as your browser.
The course is designed to take 3 to 3.5 hours. Lawyers are encouraged to work through the materials at their own pace. The course consists of a variety of lessons including readings and pre-recorded presentations. There are knowledge checks for most of the lessons and some self-reflection opportunities.
No. This is an on-demand course that you don’t have to complete in one sitting. Your progress is saved as you advance through the course.
Lawyers are not eligible to be approved as principals unless they have completed the course, except for those who were approved in the two-month window before the course was available.
Those lawyers have 30 days to complete the course once the course becomes available.
Principals whose applications were submitted before February 1, 2022 but have not been approved by the course launch will have 30 days to complete the course once the articles have been approved. The Membership department will notify these principals of this requirement.
The course includes a supplemental resource package that principals can use as a guide throughout the articling term, as needed.
A new template also accompanies the course to guide principals and their students in making an Articling Learning Plan that addresses learning objectives specific to that student’s articling experience.
No. Once the course is complete, the principal is not required to take the training again if they become a principal in subsequent years. However, if new modules are added, or content is updated, principals may be required to complete the new material as an extension of their original training.
LESA, who administers the course, will send regular completion reports to the Law Society so the training completion can be tracked in the Lawyer Portal.