CPD-Logo_2015_150pxContinuing Professional Development Activities

This page is under revision to reflect the program changes approved at the September 2016 Bencher meeting.   

There are a range of activities that are considered as continuing professional development and includes any learning activity that is:

  1. relevant to the professional needs of a lawyer;
  2. pertinent to long-term career interests as a lawyer;
  3. in the interests of the employer of a lawyer or
  4. related to the professional ethics and responsibilities of lawyers.

CPD activities may include a wide range of activities such as:

  • Traditional CPD activities such as attendance at live continuing legal education courses. These courses can be offered by:
    • The Legal Education Society of Alberta
    • A law firm
    • Corporate legal department
    • Government agency or department
    • Local bar association
    • The Canadian Bar Association or CBA sections 
    • For profit CLE providers
  • Attendance at legal education courses outside Alberta relevant to your practice area
  • Attendance at legally related conferences
  • Participation in courses delivered by law schools, including LLM programs
  • On-line interactive self-study
  • Teaching or chairing a continuing legal education course
  • Teaching at the Bar admission course
  • Writing, editing and publishing legally related articles or books
  • Study groups
  • Mentoring a junior lawyer

CPD Suggestions and Ideas

These are suggestions for:

Lawyer Starting Solo Practice

  • Get and complete the Start-Up Manual from the Law Society of Alberta Practice Advisors
  • Thoroughly review CPLED materials
  • Learn new law firm practice software
  • Attend LESA boot camps on Real Estate, Wills and Estates, Small Claims, Family Law, Criminal Law, Trust Safety
  • Sign up and attend CBA subsection meetings either in person or by webcast
  • Sign up for SoloNet, an online forum for solo and small firm practitioners

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Junior Lawyer

  • Regularly review your CPD goals to make your professional development a lifelong habit
  • Attend courses on ethics, civility and professionalism
  • Join and attend a Canadian Bar Association section meeting
  • Develop and learn practice management skills
  • Incorporate excellent client communications as a CPD goal
  • Enroll in ADR training
  • Seek out and formalize a mentor relationship with a senior practitioner in your area of practice

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Mid-Career Lawyer

  • Develop a formal CPD Program for your law firm
  • Attend national legal conferences with CPD offerings
  • Formalize a mentoring relationship with a junior lawyer
  • Training and volunteering for new areas of law offered by a pro bono clinic in your community
  • Write and publish a legal paper
  • Attend or teach at LESA course
  • Teach at the CPLED bar admission course
  • Develop and teach a lunch and learn program at your law firm 

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Research Lawyer

  • Faculty/panel member: LESA Advanced Legal Research seminar
  • Present a luncheon seminar on an area of law at a Canadian Bar Association subsection meetings
  • Join the CBA Research lawyers section
  • Develop a research bank in various areas of law
  • Develop project management skills for large scale files

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In-House Counsel

  • Develop lunch and learn in-house seminars for in-house legal department lawyers
  • Review and become updated on employment law and privacy law
  • Join and attend relevant Canadian Corporate Counsel Association events
  • Review CBA Alberta’s Legislative Update for recent legislation that may affect the company
  • Join and attend the CBA In-House Counsel section

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Senior Lawyer

  • Formalize a Mentoring relationship with a junior lawyer
  • Develop and teach an ethics and professionalism lunch and learn for your law firm
  • Teach at LESA courses
  • Write an academic article for a legal publication
  • Deliver a seminar in your area of practice
  • Learning new technologies which apply to the practice of law 

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Lawyer about to go on leave

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Semi-Retired Lawyer

  • Plan for the succession, sale or closing of your practice
  • If sitting on a Board of Directors, become aware of the obligations and duties when acting as a director
  • Mediation and arbitration require currency in the law, and also new skills, or old skills honed in new ways
  • A lawyer who contemplates part-time “post-retirement” work as a consultant, contract lawyer, pro bono, or simply for selected clients and lawyers may need to become proficient in matters they have never had to think about before, such as conflicts, GST, staffing or document retention and destruction

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New Call to the Bar

  • A duty of competence is required by the Code of Conduct Chapter 2. The identification of continuing professional development goals, the development and implementation of a CPD Plan are all required by the Rules of the Law Society. Striving to continually enhance your competence in the practice of law by planning to excel throughout your career is one of the keys to a satisfying legal career.
  • The development of a CPD Plan and CPD declaration is required on or before March 15 of each year. In the calendar year you are called:
    • if you are called to the Bar before March 15, you will be required to develop and declare a CPD Plan by the March 15 deadline in accordance with the Rules;
    • if you are called to the Bar after March 15, although you can develop your CPD Plan at any time, you will be required to declare your plan after January 1 but before March 15 of the following year.

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