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Principals are responsible to supervise their student(s)-at-law.
It is important to note that students-at-law are not covered under the Alberta Lawyers Indemnity Association (ALIA) Group Policy, which is the mandatory professional liability indemnity program for lawyers in private practice in Alberta. The Group Policy only covers members of the Law Society. However, the Group Policy provides coverage to principals (or other supervising lawyers) to the extent that they are liable for the activities of the articling student under their supervision and control.
The Group Policy does not apply to in-house lawyers. If any part of the student-at-law’s articling term involves an in-house position, the articling student must ensure they are indemnified or insured for errors and/or omissions by the employer or under the principal’s or supervisor’s insurance policy.
Students-at-law and principals should review the Group Policy in its entirety, to familiarize themselves with the coverage it provides. For example, there is no coverage available for acting as a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths in the absence of the provision of professional services as defined by the Group Policy. Contact ALIA to ask any questions about coverage.
This is why it is so important for students-at-law to be supervised and performing work at the direction of their principal.
Please review the responsibilities and obligations of principals in the Articling Agreement (including the Education Plan) available in the Lawyer Portal.
Once confirmed by the Law Society as a registered student-at-law, a student-at-law can provide most legal services. That means a student-at-law can do almost whatever a lawyer can, except those things that are not permitted by the Rules.
This article brings to focus some of what students-at-law can and cannot do to serve the public. This article will not review the technical articling obligations, or the rights and duties owed by students-at-law to the Law Society or CPLED.
Be aware that this is not an exhaustive discussion. Principals and students-at-law should familiarize themselves with any applicable legislation or restrictions before providing legal services to the public.
Overall work hours and time spent on student-at-law duties can be factored in when considering a student-at-law’s time off request.
By the end of the articling term the principal must ensure that the student-at-law has met the minimum requirements for time served during their articles. Any significant absence from their articles should be taken into consideration when calculating their articling period.
Do I need to give my student-at-law time off for the bar admission program (the PREP program administered through CPLED)?
It is the expectation of the Law Society and CPLED that principals allow their students-at-law an appropriate amount of time to work on the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP). Detailed information about the PREP schedule and workloads can be found on the CPLED website.