The Advisory: Volume 10, Issue 2, April 2012

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Why Does the Law Society Gather Information from Lawyers?

By Jocelyn Frazer, Equity Ombudsperson, Law Society of Alberta

Each year, the Law Society of Alberta gathers information from lawyers on the Member Information Update Form. Not only does the Law Society seek updated information for its records, such as current business contact details and email addresses, but it also collects statistics for its policy work.

Information from the form helps the Law Society to maintain accurate and up-to-date information regarding lawyers. Current contact details assists in our communications with lawyers.

Understanding the Composition of the Profession

As well, the Law Society has begun to collect statistics on the composition of the profession to better understand demographic and practice trends. This information assists in the development of policies and programs to promote access to justice by enhancing legal services provided by and for all the diverse communities in Alberta.

For example, some of the information collected relates to areas of practice, languages spoken and membership in other law societies. This information is vital to the work of the Benchers and Law Society in determining retention and re-engagement of lawyers in the practice of law. Any lawyer who is not comfortable providing this information is not required to do so. Accurate self-identification will, however, help to show where there are gaps relating to representation as well as to demonstrate changes over time. Gender and age are not included on the form because that information was provided upon admission.

Pro Bono Hours

The form also allows the Law Society to better understand the extent of pro bono practice in Alberta. Pro bono legal services are free legal services delivered to clients of limited means without the expectation of a fee. As well it collects information about languages spoken, areas of practice, and membership in other law societies.

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