If you’re starting your articles and the CPLED Program this year, you’re probably wondering what the CPLED Program is all about and what to expect when the program’s modules start in the next month or so.
LESA’s blog is a great place to come for information. (You can subscribe to follow it on the right side bar at the top of this page!) Last month, one of LESA’s summer students – Allison Boutillier – wrote a blog explaining the Law Society of Alberta’s recent changes to the Articling Student Education Plan. In today’s blog, LESA’s Student Coordinator – Ashley Iachetta – shares some information about the CPLED Program.
You can also check out the 2015/2016 CPLED Alberta Student Guide to find answer all your CPLED Program questions.
Students seeking admission to the Alberta Bar must successfully complete the CPLED Program. Along with the experience of articling, the CPLED Program is intended to help students develop the competencies required of an entry-level lawyer and to ensure that students can demonstrate these competencies before being admitted to the practice of law.
The CPLED Program requires the successful completion of 3 face-to-face sessions, 7 online modules, and a Trust Accounting Fundamentals online self-study course.
All face-to-face sessions are 3 days long, except for Negotiations & Practice Fundamentals, which is 4 days.
All online modules, except Ethics & Professionalism, run over the course of 3 weeks. Students submit weekly assignments (which are voluntary but highly recommended!) and then learning group facilitators (LGFs) provide feedback on student submissions. These weekly assignments, along with background readings and learning exercises, help students prepare for their competency evaluations.
Online competency evaluations may consist of written submissions or may be invigilated (supervised) examinations. Face-to-face competency evaluations are – you guessed it – in-person, hands-on activities completed to demonstrate competency in the particular module’s skills, such as interviewing a client (played by an actor).
Applying to the CPLED Program
Before you can be admitted to the CPLED Program, LESA must receive 4 things:
- A completed Application for Admission to the CPLED Program. If you haven’t already submitted your application, email Ashley (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible and be prepared to pay the non-refundable late fee ($150 + GST).
- A signed CPLED Program Agreement, found here.
- Payment of tuition. (You should have received an email with an invoice and payment details. Note that the Law Society of Alberta sets the tuition for the CPLED program, typically in April.)
- Confirmation of student-at-law status (or conditional student status), which LESA receives from the Law Society of Alberta.
The Law Society of Alberta administers the rules, regulations, and procedures for students-at-law and principals. To article in Alberta, you must seek admission to the Law Society of Alberta as a student-at-law. This is a separate requirement from the requirement to register for the CPLED Program. Questions regarding admission as a student-at-law should be directed to the Membership Services department at the Law Society of Alberta.
Applicants can apply to the CPLED Program before being admitted as a student-at-law. Before commencing the CPLED Program, however, an applicant must have student-at-law (or comparable) status with either the Law Society of Alberta or the Law Society of the Northwest Territories.
Successful completion of the CPLED Program requires the following:
- Attendance, participation, and professional behaviour.
- Completion of all mandatory assignments, competency evaluations, and examinations with professional and academic integrity.
- A grade of “competency demonstrated” (CD) in all mandatory assignments, competency evaluations, and examinations.
Over the course of the CPLED Program, a student completes 10 competency evaluations. Students must achieve a grade of CD in all 10.
A grade of CD means that the student successfully completed that module of the CPLED Program. A grade of “competency not yet demonstrated” (CNYD) means that the student was not successful in completing that module. If a student receives a grade of CNYD in up to three modules, those modules may be repeated during the Reserve Period.
Supplemental competency evaluations are scheduled during the Reserve Period, which runs March 31, 2016 to June 23, 2016. At this time, students who received a grade of CNYD (in up to three modules) complete a supplemental competency evaluation for each module, in order to complete the CPLED Program requirement of earning a grade of CD in all 10 modules. Applicants whose entry into the CPLED Program was delayed also complete missed modules during this period.
In some cases, students may have individual needs that necessitate an accommodation, an excused absence, a deferral, a scheduling change, or a withdrawal from the CPLED Program. More information about these options can be found here on our website.
If you have any other questions about the CPLED Program, check out the 2015/2016 CPLED Alberta Student Guide. The Student Guide covers the key information you need to know; however, if you still have questions, please email Ashley for clarification.
Best of luck to everyone during their articling and CPLED year!