CPD Frequently Asked Questions
This page is under revision to reflect the program changes approved at the September 2016 Bencher meeting.
For Law Office Administrators, Education Directors and Law Librarians
1. I am a law office administrator/librarian/director of education and would like access to the Lawyer Portal website. Can I get access to the online tools to assist the lawyers in my office?
The Lawyer Portal website provides access to lawyers to update their information and pay invoices. The website does feature a firm administrator feature which will allow authorized individuals to pay fees on behalf of a lawyer. This feature allows firm administrators to pay for their member’s invoices but does not permit access to the CPD template. Each individual lawyer has to prepare, record and declare his or her CPD plan.
2. Our firm has an in-house Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program. Do those courses count as CPD?
Each year, all active Alberta lawyers must:
- Prepare an annual CPD Plan in electronic form;
- Declare to the Law Society of Alberta that they have made a CPD Plan on or before March 15;
- Implement and evaluate the CPD Plan and activities from the previous year;
- Retain the CPD Plan for five years;
- Produce the CPD Plan to the Law Society upon request.
The learning activities in the CPD Plan must comply with Rule 67.1. Attending in-house CLE does not fulfill the requirement to make a CPD Plan although attending and presenting seminars for in-house CLE likely complies with the CPD definition and can be included in a lawyer’s CPD Plan.
3. All lawyers at our firm fill out a professional development plan as part of the annual performance review. Do they have to do another CPD Plan to satisfy the Law Society of Alberta requirement?
All active lawyers must use the CPD plan template available on the lawyer portal in order to fulfill all competency requirements. A lawyer can use the information provided on their firm CPD plan to populate the Law Society's online CPD requirement. Keep in mind that activities must meet the definition of continuing professional development pursuant to the Law Society Rule 67.1.
4. Do all lawyers have to prepare, record and declare an annual CPD Plan?
The Law Society CPD rules apply to all active members of the Law Society of Alberta. Lawyers going on leave who remain in the active member category will still be required to comply with the CPD rules. All members of the Law Society, active and otherwise, can use the online CPD
5. What about students-at-law? Are they required to comply with the CPD rules?
Striving to continually enhance competence in the practice of law by planning to excel is one of the keys to a satisfying legal career. All newly admitted students are therefore encouraged to create a CPD Plan early after their admission as a member of the Law Society.
The development of a CPD Plan and CPD Plan Declaration is required for lawyers who are called to the Bar on or before March 16 of each year. Therefore, if an articling student is called:
- before March 15, the newly admitted lawyer will be required to develop and declare a CPD Plan by the March 15 deadline in accordance with the Rules;
6. Can a law firm make a group declaration to the Law Society of Alberta, advising that all lawyers in the office have made their CPD Plan?
No, the CPD Plan Declaration is the responsibility of each individual lawyer and must be made personally by each lawyer in the firm.
7. How can a law office manager ensure that all lawyers have complied with the rule?
Law office managers can ensure compliance by developing internal systems that assist the lawyer in creating, recording, implementing and declaring their CPD Plan. CPD Plans must be kept for five years.
8. One of the lawyers in my office refuses to use a computer. Does a lawyer have to use the online tools to create and declare their CPD Plan?
The online tools are mandatory, as of the 2016 year, and all CPD declarations must be made online.
9. More information?
contact the Continuing Professional Development Department by phone at 403-229-4766; or via email at CPD@lawsociety.ab.ca.