Leading a New Era of Lawyer Competency

February 27, 2020

CPD Requirement Suspended for 2020 & 2021

The Law Society is suspending the mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) filing requirement for the profession for the years 2020 and 2021. This will allow us to dedicate our efforts to rebuilding a new competence model that will aspire to empower and equip lawyers to provide the best legal services they can to Albertans.

“We want to go beyond setting a minimum standard for competence,” says Kent Teskey, President of the Law Society of Alberta. “A modern and dynamic competence framework may look entirely different from what is in place today and that is why we have created a space to cultivate a new era of lawyer competency.”

To find out more about the reasons for this decision, read the President’s Message or this FAQ.

Encouraging life-long learning

Although the mandatory filing requirement has been lifted for the years 2020 and 2021, lawyers are still encouraged to develop an annual CPD plan. The CPD planning tool through the Lawyer portal will continue to be available to track and declare professional development activities in 2020 and 2021.

Learning doesn’t stop once law school ends. Like other professions, lawyers must stay up to speed with technology, issues and consumer needs. Taking the time to schedule professional development benefits you as a lawyer, your law firm or organization and your clients.

The Law Society Code of Conduct, Chapter 3, also imposes an ethical responsibility on lawyers to be competent in all legal services undertaken on a client’s behalf. It remains the responsibility of every Alberta lawyer to maintain their own competence and self-assess areas for improvement.

The path forward

Through this work, the Law Society of Alberta will promote high standards of competence and wellness. We want to:

  • be sure that competency requirements are relevant and proportionate to the stage and setting of a lawyer’s career;
  • broaden the concept of competency to extend into non-traditional areas such as technology and general cultural competence; and
  • reduce stigma related to mental and physical health issues by creating a supportive environment for lawyers to ask for help or resources.

We will invite Alberta lawyers and students, as well as legal organizations, to participate in the conversations to come around the next phase of lawyer competency. This work will include two major projects:

  1. Develop a new competence framework for a lawyer’s entire career that is proportionate, effective and dynamic, and incorporates wellness as a key component.
  2. Establish an Indigenous cultural competency program for all Alberta lawyers to meaningfully address our obligation arising from the TRC’s calls to action.

We want to raise the bar on competence requirements to better support the 21st century lawyer in providing legal services to Albertans.

Questions? View our FAQ or email us.