February 1, 2022
Training for Principals Launches Today
The Law Society has been working with the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) to develop a mandatory Principal Training Course (the course), and we are pleased to announce the course is now available to Alberta lawyers.

The course is a requirement for all lawyers who want to be principals, however, the course is also valuable to anyone in a mentorship or supervisory role, or those who may consider being a principal in the future. If the course is completed when a lawyer is not acting as a principal, the requirement will be considered fulfilled if the lawyer applies to take on a principal role in the future.

The course is designed to take between 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. We encourage lawyers to work through the materials at their own pace. The course includes eight lessons covering such topics as Law Society duties/requirements, how to be an effective mentor, dealing with difficult conversations and cultural competency to name a few. Topics covered were developed in response to the 2019 articling survey and a 2021 survey of current and recent principals, articling students and mentors specifically regarding the course content.

The Law Society has worked with LESA to keep the cost of the course reasonable as it is a mandatory requirement for principals. There is a registration fee of $125 to cover LESA’s costs to deliver the course. When you sign up for the course, you are required to use your member number so the Law Society can track the completion of your training.

Course Requirement and Process Changes

A new section on the Law Society website is now available to provide details on how to become a principal with the new course requirement outlined and a link to sign up for the course. To learn more about the new requirement, the course, and the process to become a principal, read our FAQ and visit the website.

To be eligible and approved to be a principal, lawyers must complete the course. If you want to be a principal, it is a good idea to complete the course before the student applies for student-at-law status to avoid disrupting their start date. Supervisors involved in secondments exceeding 30 days are required to complete the mandatory course prior to the secondment being approved by the Law Society.

Principals who were approved or who applied prior to the course launch will be contacted by the Membership department with more details about completing the course.

  • Any new principals who were approved between Dec. 2, 2021 (the date the rule changes came into effect) and Feb. 1, 2022, will have 30 days to complete the course upon notification. 
  • Principals whose applications were submitted before Feb. 1, 2022, but are not approved by the course launch, will have 30 days to complete the course once the articles are approved. 
  • If you have questions about how to become a principal or the application process, email Membership.

Background on Course Development

In 2019, we conducted surveys of articling students, new lawyers, principals and mentors to better understand the state of the articling system. The results raised concerns about the inconsistency of articling experiences from the perspective of both the students and principals. While the reasons for inconsistency are complex, a few of the issues highlighted were the varying quality of the articling experience and a lack of training or resources for principals.

One of the strategies to address these issues was the development of a mandatory Principal Training Course. In 2021, the Benchers approved both the development of the course and the rule amendments to allow the Law Society to apply the mandatory requirement for principals to complete the course, regardless of previous experience.

The Law Society knows that not all articling experiences are positive, either for the articling student or the principal. As a result, the Law Society saw the need for training to establish baseline criteria for principals, improve consistency in the mentorship and feedback articling students receive, and provide principals and students with clarity about the relationship. The Law Society recognizes that many firms and organizations already have training for principals and mentors, so we have designed the new requirement to complement those programs.

We believe the professional development of all lawyers is vital to the growth and future of the legal profession in Alberta. Investing in the principal and articling student relationship will assist in creating a positive articling experience and providing new lawyers with a strong foundation for an ethical and competent legal career.
Innovation Sandbox Now Accepting Applications
Changes in technology, the emergence of alternative service providers and an increasingly globalized legal market has changed the legal marketplace in Alberta, with no signs of slowing down. As these changes continue to shape the future of the delivery of legal services, law and the lawyers who practise it, accessible and affordable legal services continue to be an unmet need for the public.

The Law Society of Alberta's Innovation Sandbox is a new initiative where legal service providers are encouraged to develop innovative models for the delivery of legal services that cannot be offered due to existing regulatory requirements.

The Innovation Sandbox is an addition to the regulatory options available to the Law Society, not an alternative. Lawyers play a critical role in the administration of justice in Alberta and will continue to do so.

The Innovation Sandbox concept and eligibility requirements were approved by the Law Society Benchers in Oct. 2021 and applications are now being accepted.

Applications can now be completed online. For more information on the Innovation Sandbox, FAQs and additional resources, visit the Innovation Sandbox page on our website.

Innovation Sandbox Webinar 

Lawyers who may be interested in applying to the Innovation Sandbox or finding out more information about the Sandbox concept are welcome to join members of the Law Society’s Innovation in Regulation Group as they break down the Sandbox's purpose and process, what a successful Sandbox participant can do and expect from the experience, and how to apply.

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022
Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Via webinar – Register Here

A short Q&A will follow the presentation.
2022 Distinguished Service Awards
Jointly presented by the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) – Alberta, the Distinguished Service Awards shine a light on the outstanding contributions Alberta lawyers provide make in their communities and the profession. Members of the legal community being recognized this year include:

Service to the Profession – Michael Greene, QC
Service to the Community – Judith Hanebury, QC
Legal Scholarship – Professor Joanna Harrington
Pro Bono Legal Service – Cynthia Dickins
Service to Advancing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession – Rani Wong
Join us on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 11:30 a.m. as we celebrate the accomplishments of this group of legal professions. Register for the virtual event and support your friends and colleagues.
Court of Queen's Bench Announcements

Effective Feb. 14, 2022, use of the FDS filing system will be mandatory for counsel filing the pleadings listed here in civil cases in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge.

Effective Jan. 4, 2022, the Court will implement a Justice “Urgent Matters Chambers” that will operate every day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on a pilot project basis. Learn more.

Subject to any issues arising in particular matters between the date of this announcement and the date of a hearing that may require an adjournment due to COVID issues affecting that particular hearing, the court schedule for the week commencing Jan. 31, 2022 as described in the full announcement.
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