Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education is Changing the Way New Lawyers Prepare for Practice
October 15, 2019
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October 15, 2019
Calgary, Alberta – The Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) is changing the way new lawyers are trained by introducing a new Bar admission program called the Practice Readiness Education Program or PREP, which will officially launch in July 2020 to more than 800 students.
“The new Competency Framework, the basis for PREP, focuses on the lawyer as a whole – what a lawyer does, how a lawyer practises and how a lawyer behaves,” says Dr. Kara Mitchelmore, Chief Executive Officer of CPLED. “It’s about more than just knowing the law. It’s about having the skills and abilities needed to be a lawyer who can provide legal services to 21st century clients.”
Work on the new PREP program began last year as the Prairie law societies (Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) began discussions about reviewing the articling system. Law societies have heard anecdotally about systemic issues associated with articling and needed a better understanding of the current state before making any decisions about the future training of new lawyers.
“Answering the evolving needs of the consumer while setting new lawyers up for successful careers involves discussing the articling system as well as the training and support that may be required in the early years of a lawyer’s practice,” says Cori Ghitter, Deputy Executive Director and Director of Professionalism & Policy at the Law Society of Alberta.
The Prairie law societies conducted two surveys earlier this year and the survey results (for Alberta) were released at the end of September. While the survey results (in Alberta) revealed several key findings of issues within the articling system, the areas of most interest to CPLED is around the inconsistency in competencies learned and the level of preparedness of students for entry-level practice.
The Alberta results (23 per cent response rate) indicated that only about half of new lawyers who responded felt prepared for entry-level practice and that training in key competency areas such as adjudication / dispute resolution, conducting matters, practice management and client relationship management were lacking.
“It is concerning to learn that the training for new lawyers is inconsistent, but it validates the work we are doing at CPLED and I am confident the new PREP program will address many of the gaps identified,” says Dr. Mitchelmore.
Competencies are the key to success and that is why it was vital for CPLED to build a new competency framework that clearly illustrates the expectations of students while they learn the essential skills needed to become successful lawyers.
“PREP is designed to turn today’s law school graduates into the lawyers of tomorrow,” says Dr. Mitchelmore. “They need more than legal knowledge. They need communication skills. They need to apply empathy and compassion. And they need to deliver legal services in a respectful and ethical way.”
For more information about CPLED and the new PREP program, visit www.cpled.ca.
For further information please contact:
Carly Thompson, Communications Advisor
The Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) is a non-profit organization that provides the training needed before being called to the Bars of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Law Societies in the participating provinces require students to article and complete the PREP program before becoming a lawyer.
CPLED is currently piloting the new PREP program with 27 students in Alberta and a second pilot will take place in Manitoba in January 2020.