June 21, 2022
Important Update on New Approach to CPD
The Law Society has been working over the past two years on a new approach to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that will provide more guidance on what the Law Society believes are important areas of focus for professional development.

As a reminder, the annual CPD filing requirement was suspended until 2023 and will resume on Sept. 30, 2023, so no formal plans are required to be submitted to the Law Society until that time. Past CPD plans remain available in the Lawyer Portal, but the CPD planning tool has been deactivated as it no longer aligns with the new CPD approach.

The Law Society will release new resources and tools that support the new approach to CPD as they are developed and finalized. The first resource being provided to lawyers is the new Professional Development Profile for Alberta Lawyers (the Profile). The Profile is an integral part of the new CPD approach and represents the first stage of our redeveloped CPD program.

While we are still over a year away from resuming the annual CPD filing requirement, we are sharing the Profile now so lawyers can familiarize themselves with the competencies and other key resources as we want lawyers to be ready to resume their annual CPD filing requirements in September 2023. In the meantime, we encourage Alberta lawyers to maintain their own competence and continue to self-assess areas for improvement.

In addition to the Profile, we are enhancing the elements of the current CPD approach that have traditionally worked well in Alberta. This includes focusing on self-reflection, self-assessment and learning outcomes. Please note, we will not be adding a minimum hours requirement as part of these changes.

A new CPD planning tool and CPD review process are also being developed and will be introduced in 2023. The new review process will provide follow up and support for lawyers when developing CPD plans.

The Law Society will monitor the effectiveness of the new CPD approach and welcomes feedback from lawyers along the way.
Introducing the New Professional Development Profile for Alberta Lawyers
We are excited to introduce the Law Society of Alberta’s Professional Development Profile for Alberta Lawyers (the Profile). The introduction of the Profile is a first step in the redevelopment of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program for Alberta lawyers as it sets out the competencies the Law Society believes are important to maintain a safe, effective and sustainable legal practice in Alberta today.

Professional Development Profiles are used by organizations to understand the skills and abilities (competencies) that individuals should have to do their role effectively. Individuals may either already possess some of the competencies or can develop them with training and learning over time.
The Profile is designed to provide guidance to all Alberta lawyers, regardless of experience or practice area. The Profile is not intended to be a checklist and lawyers are not required to demonstrate competency in every area of the Profile each year. It is meant to provide guidance when lawyers are selecting areas for professional development that are meaningful to them and their practice.

The Profile does not include substantive areas of law, but broad areas of knowledge, skills and abilities that lawyers practising in all areas might look to develop or expand. As always, lawyers are encouraged to pursue CPD specific to their practice areas in addition to the areas in the new Profile.

About the Profile

The Profile outlines nine domains:

  • Legal Practice
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Cultural Competency & Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Lawyer-Client Relationships
  • Practice Management
  • Professional Conduct
  • Professional Contributions
  • Truth & Reconciliation
  • Well-Being

Each domain contains competencies or areas a lawyer may want to develop. The competencies should be thought of as a menu of options to pursue when creating CPD plans, rather than as a checklist of requirements.

Proficiency Scale

A proficiency scale, developed by Principia Assessments, Ltd., accompanies the Profile to help lawyers assess their current proficiency levels in various competencies and to set goals to improve or enhance those proficiency levels. For any competency selected from the Profile or elsewhere, different proficiency levels are expected at various career stages and in various practice areas or settings.

While the Law Society can offer guidance and suggestions, it is up to each lawyer to determine how to best improve proficiency in chosen areas of professional development, depending on level of experience, practice context and goals.

Additional Resources and Tools

The Law Society will continue to develop guidance and resources to support lawyers in creating meaningful and effective CPD plans. The next step in this work will be to create an interactive tool and review process to help lawyers with CPD planning. We will release new resources and tools as they become available.

Development of the Profile

The Law Society hired ACT, Inc. (ACT) to facilitate the development of the Profile. ACT is a not-for-profit organization based in the United States. ACT’s Credentialing and Career Services group provides advisory and consulting services to organizations that educate, license and certify individuals in a range of professions.

The 2021-2022 Bencher Lawyer Competence Committee served as the project Steering Committee and provided guidance and oversight throughout the development process. The Law Society also assembled a volunteer Task Force comprised of Alberta lawyers to lead the drafting of the Profile and received feedback from four focus groups made up of Alberta lawyers.

The Profile was developed using a rigorous process that involved expertise, input and feedback from over 65 individuals at key points in the development process. The profession was surveyed (online) in January 2022 and asked to provide feedback to validate the draft Profile, which was approved by the Benchers at the April 2022 Board meeting.

Questions or Feedback

We welcome your questions or feedback about the new Profile and approach to CPD. Our Frequently Asked Questions may provide some answers, or you are welcome to reach out to the Education department.