Insurance & Rules
Members of the Law Society of Alberta (LSA) who are active and insured lawyers (members of the private bar) are insured to provide legal services to clients whether or not they charge a fee for the legal service. When providing pro bono legal services through a pro bono clinic, other pro bono program or doing the legal work for free in the course of private practice, the Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association (ALIA) insurance provides errors and omissions (E&O) coverage for pro bono legal services delivered.
Corporate/Government Insurance Exempt Lawyers
Corporate/government lawyers are active members of the LSA and exempt from the insurance provisions of the Rules of the Law Society pursuant to Rule 135 and Rule 148. This category of members swears a statutory declaration that they will not provide legal services outside the scope of their employment.
The Benchers of the LSA and the ALIA have facilitated the extension of errors and omissions insurance coverage through ALIA to corporate/government lawyers when they provide pro bono legal services through an authorized pro bono provider as listed in Rule 148(2.1).
Pro bono legal services or advice provided to a neighbor, or a friend are not included in the insurance coverage for corporate/government exempt lawyers.
Active Member, Pro Bono Legal Services
Lawyers who wish to provide legal services exclusively through an approved pro bono provider may apply for this membership category. Lawyers in this category are active members who are entitled to practice law. Lawyers will be required to pay an annual membership fee equivalent to the current inactive member fee rather than the full active membership fee.
Pro bono services provided by active members of the LSA through an approved pro bono provider are automatically covered under the group professional liability insurance policy for the volunteer work.
Any lawyer may make an application to become an active member for pro bono legal services; however, members seeking this status must:
- be eligible for reinstatment to the LSA;
- apply to the LSA for the membership category of Active Member, Pro Bono Legal Services
- pay the applicable fee (inactive member fee - $189 as of Feb. 2011);
- swear a statutory declaration that they will only provide pro bono legal service through an authorized pro bono provider as outlined in Rule 148(2.1) of the Rules of the LSA.
Once in this membership category, the member must provide some legal service through the authorized pro bono service provider. Legal services provided to a neighbour or a friend, even though they may be pro bono (free) are not included in the insurance coverage for members in the "active for pro bono legal services" category, unless of course, those services are delivered through an authorized pro bono provider.
Members should be aware that the time in the "Active Member, Pro Bono Legal Services" category will not necessarily be counted towards their eligibility for reinstatement to full active, insured status.
Active members for pro bono legal services may not engage in the practice of law outside the scope of the pro bono provider. Registration of a Professional Corporation or an LLP is not available to lawyers in this category of membership.
To become an active member for pro bono legal services, an application for Active Member, Pro Bono Legal Services must be submitted to the LSA.