In this issue:
• Message from the President: Determining Priorities for the Year
• Declaring Your CPD Plan to the Law Society
Message from the President: Determining Priorities for the Year
By Steve Raby, QC, President, Law Society of Alberta
As the world is rapidly changing, the Law Society of Alberta needs to be nimble and ready to act. The Law Society is an independent regulator of the legal profession serving in the public interest, and is one of the few independent regulators of the legal profession remaining in the world.
The Executive Committee* has identified the following as priorities and expected outcomes for 2012:
- Enhancement of Law Society conduct processes: Since the necessary legislative amendments were passed in late 2011, the Conduct Process Implementation Task Force will be requested to put into place in 2012 those changes to the conduct process which can be implemented in the short term. Further, any longer term projects which require significant Rule and/or Guideline amendments will commence in 2012. The goal of these changes is to streamline and create efficiencies in our conduct processes without impacting the fairness or transparency of such processes.
- Code of Conduct: Have the Benchers confirm the principles upon which the conflict provisions in the Alberta Code of Conduct should be based, having regard to adoption of the conflict provisions in the Model Code of Conduct by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and, where necessary, amend our current Code to reflect those principles.
- Trust Safety: Complete an evaluation of the program now that it has been in place for a full one-year cycle and recommend changes to forms and rules where valid and constructive criticism has been provided by lawyers. Secondly, analyze moving from an assurance model to an insurance model or a hybrid assurance/insurance model to deal with Assurance Fund claims. Finally, begin an analysis as to whether a Trust Transaction Levy would be appropriate and desirable to partially offset existing costs of the Trust Safety program and other Audit programs of the Law Society.
- Access to Justice Matters: Obtain Bencher approval for a concrete strategy as to how the Law Society will choose Access to Justice projects. Obtain a recommendation from the Retention and Re Engagement Task Force as to recommended initiatives that would be anticipated to have a positive impact on retention and re engagement of lawyers in the practice and, in particular, women lawyers and lawyers practising in rural areas. If requested by the Minister of Justice, deal with the implementation of recommendations from the final report of the Alternative Delivery of Legal Services Task Force.
- Finance Committee: As a pilot project for 2012, we will differentiate the two functions of the Finance Committee, namely dealing with Assurance Fund claims and acting as the budget and financial oversight committee.
- Strategic Plan: Begin a discussion of where the Law Society should go with the current Strategic Plan which expires in November of 2013.
The work before the Law Society will require the collaborative efforts of Benchers, lawyer volunteers, the Courts, Alberta Justice, the Federation of Law Societies, other law societies, other stakeholders and staff. I look forward to working with everyone to accomplish these priorities. I also look forward to hearing any comments or questions you may have and can be reached by email at Steve.Raby@nortonrose.com.
*Executive Committee for 2012-2013 is comprised of: Steve Raby, QC, President; Carsten Jensen, QC, President-Elect; Rose Carter, QC; Jim Eamon, QC; Kevin Feth, QC; Jim Glass, QC; and Miriam Carey, Public Representative.
Declaring Your CPD Plan to the Law Society
Before or on March 15, 2012, you must declare to the Law Society that you have made your 2012 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) plan.
Best Practices – Evaluate your 2011 CPD Activities
It is a best practice in preparing your plan to first evaluate your professional development over the past year by reviewing the CPD activities undertaken in 2011. Ask yourself the following four questions:
- What activities did I undertake pursuant to last year’s CPD Plan?
- How did this activity improve my competence as a lawyer?
- How much time did I spend on these CPD activities in 2011?
- What will be carried forward to my 2012 CPD Plan?
For those using the CPD Alberta template at www.cpdalberta.ca, these questions are incorporated into the CPD Plan template. For lawyers doing their own CPD planning, these questions should be answered and documented before making a 2012 CPD Plan.
Importance of Maintaining a Record
The CPD Rule 67.2 indicates that, in addition to making and declaring a CPD plan, lawyers must maintain a record of the plan for five years from the date of declaration and produce a copy of the record of the plan to the Law Society upon request. Your CPD Plan may be requested in the event of proceedings under Legal Profession Act (such as in conduct, practice review or other regulatory processes of the Law Society).
In the event you are asked to produce your CPD Plan, you may be asked to explain the steps you have implemented pursuant to your CPD Plan. For example, the Practice Review department is currently requesting those lawyers who have been referred to Practice Review to provide their CPD Plans for the past two years including the aspects of their CPD Plan they have implemented.
How to Declare – Two Ways
Your 2012 CPD Plan declaration can be made in one of two ways:
- Online at www.CPDAlberta.ca, or
- On your Member Information Update Form which is being mailed to you with your annual fee invoice.
Online Tools & Resources
Online tools and CPD resources for the development and declaration of a CPD Plan are available at the CPD Alberta website at www.CPDAlberta.ca.
Striving for Excellence
The best practices involved in creating a CPD plan demonstrates to the public that Alberta lawyers strive for excellence in their practice of law. To this end, the Rules and Code of Conduct require every active lawyer to:
- Annually prepare and make a record of a CPD plan in writing or electronic form;
- On or before March 15 of each year, make a declaration to the Law Society that their annual CPD plan has been made; and
- Retain the written or electronic record of the CPD plan for 5 years and produce the CPD plan to the Law Society upon request.
For more information on the CPD program, please visit www.lawsociety.ab.ca or contact the Law Society of Alberta by email at CPD@lawsociety.ab.ca or by phone 403-229-4766.
Welcome to New Executive and Benchers
The Benchers of the Law Society of Alberta extended a warm welcome to six new Benchers and the incoming Executive at its Bencher meeting on Thursday, February 2, 2012.
The new Benchers are W.E. Brett Code, QC; Nancy Dilts, QC; Robert G. Harvie, QC; Anne Kirker, QC; Gillian D. Marriott, QC; and Kathleen Ryan, QC.
The Law Society of Alberta thanks the outgoing president Doug Mah, QC, and outgoing Benchers for their invaluable and immeasurable volunteer contributions to the Society and the legal profession as a whole. The outgoing Benchers are Dale Spackman, QC; Ron Everard, QC; Adam Letourneau; Scott Watson, QC; and Roy Nickerson, QC.
The upcoming issue of the Advisory will include more details on the new President, President-Elect and incoming Benchers.
Student Recruitment Dates
The 2012 recruitment period will be June 4 to June 15.
An employer may, any time after the commencement of the recruitment period, give notice to a student
that it intends to make an offer of employment. However, employers may only make offers of employment on June 12, 13 and 14 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Those offers must remain open for acceptance until 12:00 noon the following day. An offer of employment may be made at any time after the recruitment period.
Alberta Law Libraries' Navigating Legal Information Series presents:
Learn About Free Online Legal Resources - UK and US
When: Wednesday, March 7, 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 - 3:30 p.m. (repeated session)
Where: Alberta Law Libraries, Edmonton Law Courts, 2nd Floor (South)
Do you find yourself looking for case law and statutory resources from the United States and United Kingdom to supplement your Canadian research? Subscribing to UK and US resources can be very expensive. Thankfully there are a number of free online resources for this kind of legal research, and Alberta Law Libraries can help you locate them.
This half-hour session runs at 12:00 noon, and is repeated at 3:00 p.m. There is no cost to attend these sessions.
To register, contact the library or call 780-422-2342.