Retention and Re-engagement
The Retention and Re-engagement Task Force (RRTF) was conceived as an access to justice strategy. The RRTF was initially directed by the Benchers in 2010 to advance the strategic goal as articulated in the Law Society’s Strategic Plan 2010-2013 of Access to Justice by promoting diversity within a competent legal profession that serves a diverse public. This was directed to meet the public interest goal of promoting diversity and equity among those who provide legal services to enhance the public’s equal access to justice.
The RRTF was determined to make its recommendations based on sound data and information gathering. This Final Report of the RRTF details the research strategy and the research outcomes upon which it based the final recommendations. The research includes an analysis of demographic data, consultant reports on Exit Survey data, Smaller Communities Survey data, a background environmental scan on other jurisdictions approaches and data on legal service delivery in Alberta.
Progress on the implementation of strategies has been achieved during the course of the work of the RRTF including: a comprehensive Communications Plan of existing Law Society retention and reengagement initiatives; the implementation of the Justicia Project Phase 1 and the adoption of Justicia Phase 2; and collaboration with the Canadian Bar Association and the Faculties of Law at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary to attract summer students, articling students and lawyers to centres outside Edmonton and Calgary.
The mandate of the RRTF was to ultimately make recommendations regarding the retention of lawyers in the private practice of law; and in particular the retention of women lawyers and lawyers outside of Edmonton and Calgary where the problems of retention are most acute. During the course of the RRTF’s work, other retention issues were identified including the high attrition rates from the private practice of law for both women and men; impediments in the regulatory requirements could be contributing to retention issues; and the challenges in the transition to small firm and sole practice.
The strategies suggested by the RRTF are comprehensive. The RRTF was of the opinion that a range of strategies will be required to shift the trend of lawyers leaving the private practice of law and that no one recommendation or strategy alone would be enough to shift the high attrition rates of women and men leaving the private practice of law. The strategies for consideration and implementation are:
- Make retention and reengagement issues a strategic priority;
- Implement a comprehensive Communications Plan regarding issues and programs relating to retention and reengagement;
- Further support the implementation of the Justicia Project;
- Continue to collaborate in smaller communities and rural development initiatives;
- Review strategies related to insurance and member fees;
- Continue to collect data on the legal profession with an emphasis on a longitudinal approach that tracks and monitors trends;
- Implement a regulatory review to identify impediments and barriers to retention such as barriers to entry of the legal profession and re-instatement rules;
- Continue initiatives that assist foreign trained lawyers;
- Develop enhanced proactive programs to support lawyers who transition to small firm or sole practice; and
- Facilitate outreach and education to the legal profession on retention and re-engagement issues.
>> Read the full report