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As responsible lawyers, you have the key accountability for the trust accounting and safety of your firm. The following information will help you as you navigate through this responsibility.
Our Trust Safety Responsible Lawyer and Trust Account Approval Protocol was developed as a reference for you regarding the Responsible Lawyer application process. It provides information on the requirements set out in the Rules, factors that are considered in both applications and revocations, the process to follow to apply, and appeals.
The Law Society in conjunction with the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) has developed two online courses that the Responsible Lawyer must take before being approved by the Law Society. The courses are not pass/fail, but rather educational in purpose.
The courses can be found on the LESA website. In order to sign on, however, LESA must provide you with access with a sign-on and password. Currently this process is being facilitated by the Law Society. Please contact Trust Safety and request access to the courses.
Changing Responsible Lawyer
If the Responsible Lawyer at your law firm has changed, your law firm may be required to file a final Law Firm Self-Report within 14 days of the Responsible Lawyer’s departure date. Please contact Trust Safety to determine whether this requirement applies to you.
As per Rule 119.7:
“If a responsible lawyer is unable or unwilling to discharge the duties of a responsible lawyer, he or she shall, minimum of 14 days before the date he or she intends to cease to be responsible lawyer;
- advise the Society of
- the intention to cease to be the responsible lawyer, and
- the effective date of the responsible lawyer’s departure (the “responsible lawyer departure date”);
- ensure the preparation of a final Law Firm Self-Report;
- comply with any outstanding audit requirements;
- ensure a replacement responsible lawyer by confirming
- the necessary application has been filed with the Society, and
- the necessary steps have been taken to enable the transfer of the responsible lawyer designation to another qualified member of the law firm.”
Closing Trust Accounts or a Law Firm
As per Rule 119.30 (6-7):
“The duty of a law firm to comply with subrules (3), (4) and (5), as applicable, ceases only when
- the law firm’s trust accounts and prescribed financial records are closed, and
- the final Law Firm Self-Report and the final Accountant’s Report are provided in accordance with subrule (8).
A law firm that terminates its practice shall file with the Executive Director written notice of:
- termination of the law firm practice before or forthwith after the date on which the firm’s prescribed financial records are closed, and
- the effective date of the law firm’s termination of practice, which becomes the law firm’s new designated filing date.”
For issues regarding undisbursable trust funds, as well as questions about accounting procedures or practices, see our Undisbursable Trust Money forms.
Please note that the preferred method of submission is that forms be completed electronically, printed, signed, scanned and emailed.