- Learning Centre
- Lawyer Programs
- Key Resources
- Legal Practice
- Continuous Improvement
- Cultural Competence & Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Lawyer-Client Relationships
- Practice Management
- Retirement Guide
- Business Continuity and Succession Plan Guide and Checklist
- Practice Management Assessment Tool
- Professional Conduct
- Professional Contributions
- Truth and Reconciliation
- Sole Practitioner Resources
- Student Resources
- Public Resources
- Disaster Planning and Recovery
- Upcoming Events
- Media Room
- Latest from the Law Society
Running a law firm involves more than just being good at the law—you also need to understand how to start and run a business, which includes bookkeeping.
To aide sole practitioners, information and resources in these important areas have been organized in one place to help you easily access what you need when you need it. All resources listed are available at no additional cost for Alberta lawyers. Consider engaging with these resources and supports as part of your annual Continuing Professional Development plan.
Before beginning to operate a law firm, you must get approval from the Law Society to be designated as a Responsible Lawyer (RL) and to either operate or be exempt from operating a trust account. RLs must complete three free online courses on trust accounting and client identification and verification rules before they will be approved. Once approved, RLs have further requirements to maintain their designation. See the Approval for Firms and Lawyers page for more information.
The Law Society has the following popular resources to help navigate your responsibilities as an RL:
- Your Role as a Responsible Lawyer
- Trust Bank Reconciliations
- Trust Shortage and Reporting
- Disbursing the Undisbursable: What to Do with Unclaimed Trust Funds
- Employee Theft on the Rise: Are You at Risk?
- Client Identification and Verification Intake Template
- Client Identification and Verification Flowchart
The Law Society provides the following services and programs to help you realize your potential and provide competent and ethical legal services.
- Practice Management Consultations – One-on-one consultations with our Practice Management team to identify potential areas of risk before problems develop and client relations suffer.
- Practice Advisor Support – Confidential service to help you with legal, ethical and practice inquiries and resolve inter-lawyer disputes.
- Mentorship Programs – Various programs that provide unique opportunities to network and discuss important topics that affect lawyers.
- AdvisorLink – Service that links you to more experienced counsel to answer one-off inquiries in a wide range of practice areas.
- SoloNet – Trusted online network for sole and small firm practitioners to share professional knowledge, ideas and experience.
- Locum Connect – Program that connects you with other lawyers who can help with a variety of tasks or oversee your practice while you are away.
To support your well-being, the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist) is also available to provide free and confidential professional counselling, peer support, well-being education and awareness, and community programming to lawyers and members of their family. Assist is an independent charitable organization that does not disclose or share any personal information about people using their services with the Law Society or any other entity. Visit their website or call 1.877.498.6898 for more information.
The Law Society offers the following self-directed resources to help you learn about topics important to your practice.
- Law Practice Essentials Course – Designed to assist lawyers in learning about key areas applicable to all lawyers in private practice.
- Law Business Essentials Course – Designed to assist lawyers in learning about key areas applicable to running a law firm.
- Reflective Practice Course – Designed to help lawyers understand what reflective practice is, the different kinds of reflection, why it is important to lawyers, how it applies to professional development and what it takes to become a reflective practitioner.
- Key Resources – Includes individual resources on a variety of legal topics and in a variety of formats.
Managing practice and business continuity risks is a critical component of being a sole practitioner. The Law Society offers the following assessment and planning resources to help you get started in this area:
- Practice Management Assessment Tool – Designed to help you examine your practice management systems, evaluate your policies and processes, and access a curated list of free resources to help address gaps and manage risks.
- Business Continuity and Succession Planning resources – Includes considerations when developing your business continuity and succession plan, a checklist that identifies possible information to include in your plan and action items to implement your plan. Templates are also provided to assist with developing and customizing a plan that meets your unique circumstances.
- Retirement Guide – Includes considerations around the decision to retire or wind up your practice, information regarding the process of winding up and a checklist of tasks to work through.