1. Number of Files
The number of child welfare files may vary substantially between geographic service areas. LAA cannot estimate how many certificates it may offer to panel members as this depends on how many lawyers LAA selects for the panel and where these lawyers practice law.
All child welfare files are sent in priority to the staff offices for acceptance. Child welfare files will be sent to roster panel members when the staff offices have a legal conflict of interest, do not service a geographic location, are at capacity for child welfare files or where a roster counsel has a pre-existing relationship with the client. Each panel member is expected to maintain experience and currency in child welfare matters by taking a reasonable number of child representation files offered to them during their time on the panel. Lawyers on the panel must also be prepared to accept files throughout their geographic service areas.
2. Training and Continuing Legal Education
In addition to taking these files, panel lawyers are expected to seek out continuing legal education opportunities relevant to the competencies listed above and complete at least 6 hours per year of professional continuing education in child welfare.
This may include a combination of:
- Attending training sessions, seminars, or webinars offered by LAA’s staff lawyers or others in the area of child welfare.
- Attending training on child protection offered by a recognized organization or associations including but not limited to Legal Education Society of Alberta, Legal Representation of Children and Youth, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Canadian Bar Association, National Family Law Conference, Wahkohtowin Lodge, University of Alberta Faculty of Law or other private training that may be offered from time to time.
- Reading treatises, academic papers and caselaw relevant to child protection.
- Undertaking cultural competency training or other training that helps the lawyer gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing Indigenous children and families.
LAA may also direct panel members to undertake specific professional development activities. Lawyers who intend to reapply to the panel should be prepared to explain what continuing legal education they have undertaken in relation to the panel competencies.