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Law Society's COVID-19 Response FAQs

For the safety of our staff, our members and the public we serve, we are closing our physical office and library spaces until further notice. Staff are working remotely to continue to offer services to the greatest extent possible.

All residents of Saskatchewan are urged to follow the advice of the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Government of Saskatchewan. You may contact Sask Health’s HealthLine at 811. 

Lawyers’ professional obligations continue to apply. We have developed guidance regarding some of the specific aspects of practice and professional obligation, which we foresee may be affected in the current situation (i.e.: client interaction and the execution of documents). Those guidance topics can be found here. We will continue to update these resources as other issues develop and would encourage you to refer to these resources if you have difficulty managing a particular situation. If lawyers have specific questions about how to comply with their professional obligations or navigate practice management issues in the context of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), they may wish to contact the Law Society at 306-569-8242 or toll free 1-833-733-0133, Monday to Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm CST, or send an email to reception@lawsociety.sk.ca. Your email will be forwarded to the appropriate Law Society staff member for response. Any lawyers with upcoming court appearances may wish to contact the courthouse for instructions.

The Law Society is proactively monitoring and responding to the impact of COVID-19. As information becomes available, it will be broadly communicated to the profession. Where possible and appropriate, the Law Society will provide guidance to lawyers as issues arise. Lawyers who have specific questions about their professional obligations or practice management issues, and who are not assisted by the resources already posted, should contact the Law Society with their questions.

Yes, CPD requirements continue to apply. Specifically, all active members are required to complete 12 hours of accredited CPD annually (2 of which must qualify as ethics hours). In order to facilitate a smooth transition from the three-year rolling term to the one-year term, members are allowed to carry over all CPD hours reported in 2018 and 2019 (up to a maximum of 24 CPD hours, 4 of which can be ethics), into 2020. The 12-hour (2 ethics hour) carryover provision will then be triggered for 2021. Refer to the CPD Policy for further information related to CPD requirements.

At this time, the Law Society intends to continue with the delivery of our CPD webinar programs, as all attendees, presenters and staff are able to participate remotely. We have made the decision to postpone all face-to-face seminar programs for the remainder of the spring and will be communicating with presenters and registrants to outline possible next steps for rescheduling these programs in the fall of 2020 or spring of 2021. If you have questions about a specific program, please contact cpd@lawsociety.sk.ca. For the most up-to-date list related to the status of Law Society CPD programs, please refer to our website.

 

The Law Society is offering a unique solution to continue supporting member competency during the COVID-19 pandemic. After 10 years of hosting various CPD Activities, the CPD Department is piloting a new platform offering all recorded content in one easy place for an affordable price. A lawyer can purchase a one-year subscription to the CPD OnDemand platform for only $349. This COVID-19 pricing is only available until August 31st, 2020. The subscription also includes free registration to any upcoming live webinars and discounts to in-person live seminars throughout the duration of your subscription term!

 

To subscribe to the platform, visit: CPD on Demand. For further details, please refer to the FAQs or contact our CPD Program Coordinator, Jakaeden Frizzell.

Lawyers should be actively considering and planning for the continuance of their practice remotely or in isolation. Lawyers should be monitoring directives from SaskHealth and should be prepared to make decisions quickly in the event that information or advice from public health changes. 

Lawyers should consider posting information in their offices about COVID-19 and the precautions recommended by SaskHealth and should limit physical contact with clients, other lawyers and members of the public whenever possible.

Review and update your succession plan to ensure that all of the information is as up-to-date as possible and covers long-term, short-term and permanent leaves from practice, including current computer login and password information.

The Law Society has compiled resources to assist lawyers to prepare for practice interruptions. This information can be found here.

The Law Society has developed a resource to guide lawyers with these types of client interactions. It can be found here and will continue to be updated if other questions/issues arise.

Although the Law Society’s physical office is closed, staff are working remotely as we continue to provide core services. Applications and inquiries will be addressed based on level of urgency, but please expect delays. Until further notice, we are waiving the requirement for originals of documents in most cases; however, Law Society staff maintain the authority to request originals at their discretion. Please submit applications and inquiries related to admissions matters by email to cheryl.eberle@lawsociety.sk.ca. If your matter is not urgent, please consider waiting to submit at a later date. 

Yes. In direct response to COVID-19, the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) has made the decision to allow students with a Canadian common law degree or Certificate of Qualification to register and complete the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) without secured articles for the June and December 2020 intakes. This change provides students an opportunity to complete their Bar admission program without delay. As well, it offers greater flexibility for firms regarding start dates for their articling students.

For more information on PREP, including COVID-19 related updates, and to register for the program, please visit CPLED.ca

The Law Society understands that this is a stressful time and that changes resulting from this situation may affect our mental health. Students are eligible to receive, and are encouraged to seek, assistance from Homewood Health. Homewood Health is an employee assistance program funded by the Law Society that offers free and confidential services for issues related to your mental, physical and social wellbeing.

Due to the escalation of COVID 19 and to support of the social distancing measures being implemented in response, many articling students are working remotely.

During this time, we expect that interaction between principals and articling students will be maintained. Interaction may be facilitated by email communications, telephone calls, or video conferencing. Articling students should still be able to contact their principal with any questions they may have. If interaction is maintained in this way, articles can continue.

Principals are encouraged to contact the Law Society at bar.admissions@lawsociety.sk.ca should they have any questions regarding changes to their student’s articles.  

Effective March 31, 2020, as a temporary response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Law Society is reducing the 12-month articling requirement to a minimum of 8 months for those students-at-law who have commenced their articling term. The Law Society will still require articling principals to complete Form A-9 confirming that their articling student is suitable to be admitted as a lawyer, as well as successful completion of the CPLED Bar Admissions Program. We anticipate that final marks for the CPLED program will be available by early May, as is consistent with past years.

For those students who commenced their articling term August 2019 or later and have concerns that they may be unable to complete their articling term even with this reduction to 8 months, please contact us at bar.admissions@lawsociety.sk.ca to discuss your options. 

For those students articled to a court who still have an outstanding secondment that they are unable to complete, the Law Society is waiving the requirement in Law Society Rule 707(2) which requires all students articled to a court to serve not less than two months to a practising lawyer who has been approved as a principal.

Last month, as a temporary response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Law Society reduced the 12-month articling requirement to a minimum of 8 months for those students-at-law who had already commenced their articling term. At that time we also advised that we were monitoring the COVID-19 situation, seeking feedback and exploring options that would provide flexibility to help firms get through this crisis and proceed with a student for the upcoming articling term. Since the COVID-19 situation has continued to develop in such a way that it appears that a failure to reduce the minimum articling requirement for incoming articling students will disadvantage some firms and students, the Law Society has made the decision to permit a reduction in articles for this incoming group of students as well. This reduction will apply to any student who commences their articles in 2020.

The Law Society’s goal in making this reduced articling term available to incoming students is to avoid articling positions being terminated as a result of the COVID-19 situation. If a firm is in a position to have their articling student commence articles as planned and complete the standard 12-month articling term, that is the ideal scenario and we encourage you to proceed on that basis. However, for those firms who feel they are unable to proceed with a position for the upcoming articling term as a result of the COVID-19 situation, we are hopeful that the flexibility created by this option will be sufficient to allow you to take on an articling student. This option makes it possible for an articling position to commence at some later date in the summer or into the fall, while still facilitating a spring 2021 admission date for the student. We are hopeful that the additional time to “weather the storm” and get re-established, as well as the reduction in salary costs associated with an 8-month articling term as compared to a 12-month term, will be sufficient to alleviate the pressure felt by some firms to make a decision at this point not to proceed with an articling position.

The Law Society will continue to explore options in an effort to provide the flexibility needed by firms to proceed with articling positions. The CPLED Board is also exploring options to increase flexibility for incoming PREP students. If you have committed to taking on an articling student for the upcoming year, please reach out to us to discuss options before making a decision to terminate the position.