Being a lawyer takes practice!

Vanessa Cork joins Alberta Law Society’s Practice Review Committee

Legal Aid AB
June 03, 2022

You could be the hardest-working lawyer in the world—but sometimes, everyone needs a little bit of help—and that’s where Alberta Law Society’s Practice Review Committee steps in.

Vanessa Cork, LAA Legal Services Manager in Lethbridge, felt compelled to share her skills and knowledge to help other lawyers get their practices up and running. This led her to volunteer as part of the Law Society of Alberta’s Practice Review Committee. ​​​​​​​

“Some lawyers can have a hard time managing their files,” says Cork. “They don’t have processes in place that can monitor what needs to be done or means of organization to review files periodically.”

How it works

Lawyers struggling to manage their practice can volunteer to participate in this program or are referred to it by the law society’s conduct committee. The practice committee comes together to determine a plan to ensure a lawyer has adequate support and resources for continued success. “Some of these issues aren’t explicitly on the lawyer—they may have an inexperienced assistant, limited procedures or resources, particularly those in private practice.”

A recent graduate of the program was a sole practitioner who volunteered to get his practice in order.

“Some of these lawyers are quite experienced with many years at the bar but may find themselves in circumstances where they struggle.” Says Cork. “We must maintain that integrity of the services we provide, and it helps the courts to have lawyers who are organized and reliable.” ​​​​​​​

Giving back to the community

Cork describes her decision to join the practice committee as a ‘natural fit.’

“We’re self-regulated and disciplined as lawyers, and it’s my organization skills and understanding the necessity to have processes in place that is my strong suit,” says Cork. At times, the expectations and timelines for cases can be endless. While Legal Aid Alberta lawyers have safety nets set by resources and support, private practitioners may not have the same support systems.

“We’re here to deliver access to justice,” says Cork. “To support a lawyer that may be struggling means we’re making it easier to continue being there for our clients.”

Vanessa Cork is a lawyer and Legal Services Manager of Legal Aid Alberta in the Lethbridge office. Called to the bar in 2008, Cork graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law.

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