Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Guest Account Sign In Sign Up Search
Updated

Lawyer

Lawyers study and interpret points of law to advise clients of their rights and legal obligations, and represent client interests in legal transactions and proceedings.

  • Avg. Salary $137,072.00
  • Avg. Wage $69.84
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 12,000
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Advocate, Barrister, Litigator, Negotiator, Prosecutor, Solicitor

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Lawyers and Quebec Notaries (4112) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Lawyers and Quebec Notaries (E012) 
  • 2011 NOC: Lawyers and Quebec notaries (4112) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

9%
9%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Interest Codes
The Lawyer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Lawyers and Quebec Notaries
METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law

INNOVATIVE

Interest in negotiating settlements of civil disputes (lawyers only), in applying principles of civil law as it pertains to notarization of legal documents and in researching legal precedents and gathering evidence

DIRECTIVE

Interest in mentoring in order to advise clients of their legal rights and all matters related to law; may act as an executor, trustee or guardian in estate and family law matters; may act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Lawyers advise clients on legal matters, represent clients before courts, tribunals, and administration boards, and draw up legal documents such as contracts and wills. They also plead cases and conduct prosecutions in courts of law.

Legal practice may be roughly divided into 2 types: court work and office work. In Canada, when lawyers have completed their training, they are called barristers and solicitors because they are eligible to do both.

Barristers (court work practitioners) act as advocates for clients in both criminal and civil lawsuits. Criminal law involves breaches of the Criminal Code of Canada, such as arson, theft, and murder. It also involves violations of other statutes such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and Youth Criminal Justice Act. Civil cases involve non-criminal actions and often are settled out of court. Civil cases include:

  • Personal injury lawsuits
  • Family and divorce actions
  • Contract lawsuits
  • Employment and labour disputes
  • Intellectual property disputes

In general, barristers acting on behalf of clients:

  • Research legislation, legal precedents, and case law
  • Gather evidence by interviewing witnesses and reviewing documents
  • Advise clients, initiate legal actions, and draft pleadings
  • Present a client’s case or defence in court or before a tribunal, board, mediator, or arbitrator
  • Negotiate settlements
  • May act as a mediator, conciliator, or arbitrator

Litigators are barristers who engage in civil work.

Prosecutors are barristers for the Crown engaged in criminal work, who:

  • Research legislation, legal precedents, and case law
  • Assemble and analyze evidence gathered by police
  • Advise police regarding charges and keep crime victims informed about legal proceedings
  • Prosecute criminal cases in court

Solicitors (office work lawyers) deal with those areas which generally do not require courtroom appearances. Examples are real estate transactions, corporate law, commercial law, administrative law, patents, probate and administration of estates, international law, and some aspects of family law.

In general, solicitors act as advisors in legal transactions. They may:

  • Draft legal documents such as wills and business contracts
  • Handle the transfer of property
  • Administer estates
  • Incorporate companies
  • Negotiate contracts
  • Act as executors, trustees, or guardians in estate and family law matters
  • Act as trademark or patent agents

Lawyers and articling students (students-at-law who are registered under the Legal Profession Act and who are completing the required 12-month articling term to gain experience within the Alberta Courts system) are notaries public and commissioners for oaths under Alberta’s Notaries and Commissioners Act.

Subject to the Notaries Public and Commissioners for Oaths Regulations, a notary public may:

  • Administer oaths and take affidavits, affirmations, or declarations and attest the oaths, affidavits, affirmations, or declarations
  • Certify and attest a true copy of a document
  • Witness or certify and attest the execution of a document
  • Witness or certify and attest deeds, contracts, and commercial instruments, if they are a lawyer or judge
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Legal work can be demanding and stressful. Lawyers may routinely put in extra time drafting briefs, researching cases, and staying on top of new developments in the legal profession. They usually work as partners or associates in law offices and employ staff to help with the workload.

Other working conditions depend on factors such as the size and type of the law firm. For example:

  • Criminal lawyers may spend time conferring with clients who are being detained in remand centres or prisons
  • Practitioners in international, corporation, or taxation law work closely with government officials and professionals such as accountants, economists, and business executives
  • Family law lawyers meet with families in the course of adoption or child custody proceedings
  • Labour lawyers sometimes visit worksites to investigate working conditions or labour disputes
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Lawyers need:

  • Tact and patience in dealing with clients
  • Communication and organizational skills
  • Analytical and logical thinking
  • Quick thinking
  • Physical and emotional stamina to cope with periods of stress
  • Tolerance for confrontation and conflict
  • Integrity and a strong code of ethics

They should enjoy:

  • Researching and co-ordinating information
  • Negotiating settlements
  • Advising clients
  • Public speaking and presenting arguments in court
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

To practice law in Alberta, lawyers must have completed 3 stages of training requiring a total of 5 to 7 years of post-secondary study plus 1 year of apprenticeship.

The first stage is 2 to 4 years in an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree program. Undergraduate degree programs and university transfer programs are offered by post-secondary schools throughout Alberta.

Students who want to enter law school must write the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), an aptitude exam administered 4 times a year at a number of Canadian campuses.

The second stage is a 3-year Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school. Admission to law school is based on the faculty’s assessment of the applicant’s academic record, LSAT score, and general qualifications. The minimum academic requirement is completion of 2 years of a program leading to a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Admission after 2 or 3 years of undergraduate study is very unusual, however, and a bachelor’s degree generally is required.

The third stage is called articling. After prospective lawyers graduate from a JD or combined degree program, they must work for 1 year as a student-at-law. This is a form of apprenticeship. The student enters into an agreement, called “articles of clerkship,” with a practitioner of the Alberta Bar. The practitioner provides the student with practical training in both a barrister’s and solicitor’s work. Articling students are paid a salary based on their area of specialization.

The law graduate is responsible for finding an articling position. Securing an articling position depends on a number of factors. These include the level of economic activity in the province, the graduate’s transferable assets, skills, and volunteer and extracurricular experience and, to some degree, the graduate’s grades.

Articling students must successfully complete the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) program. This bar admission program is offered several times a year. It includes classroom sessions and online learning and covers many practical aspects of the law.

The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon offers a special law program for Indigenous people. For more information, contact the Legal Studies for Native People program, located at the Native Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Lawyer

Lawyers study and interpret points of law to advise clients of their rights and legal obligations, and represent client interests in legal transactions and proceedings.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Legal Profession Act, you must be registered member of the Law Society of Alberta (LSA) to practice law in Alberta or call yourself a Lawyer.

What You Need

Registration requires: (1) a Canadian common law degree, (2) one year of articling as a student-at-law, and (3) successful completion of the Law Society of Alberta Bar Admission Course (CPLED). For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the LSA website or contact the Law Society of Alberta.

Working in Alberta

Lawyers who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered lawyers in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To learn about certification for internationally educated lawyers, see Lawyer Enrolment Process.

Contact Details

Law Society of Alberta
Suite 500, 919 - 11th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta
Canada  T2R 1P3
Phone number: 403-229-4700
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-661-9003
Fax number: 403-228-1728
Website: www.lawsociety.ab.ca

Law Society of Alberta
Suite 800, Bell Tower, 10104 - 103 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T5J 0H8
Phone number: 780-429-3343
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-272-8839
Fax number: 780-424-1620
Website: www.lawsociety.ab.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

A growing number of graduates are pursuing careers working for government, business, industry, not-for-profit groups, and post-secondary schools. Lawyers may also be self-employed. This trend diverges from the typical path, in which lawyers start their careers in private practice, either with a firm or on their own.

In private practice, lawyers can move into senior partnership with their firms. A few are appointed judges or to administrative tribunals. Government legal advisors have opportunities as department heads or diplomats. Corporate lawyers may become company executives. Lawyers also may combine their law training with other professional disciplines such as arbitration, mediation, medicine, business, library studies, or political science.

Lawyers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4112: Lawyers and Quebec notaries. In Alberta, 88% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the E012: Lawyers and Quebec Notaries occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 138 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Incomes in private practice vary tremendously depending on the lawyer’s or firm’s ability to attract and maintain clients.

Lawyers and Quebec notaries

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $24.29 $85.23 $47.69 $43.47
Overall $27.47 $115.38 $69.84 $67.31
Top $34.07 $192.31 $99.96 $89.54

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Oil & Gas Extraction
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

47%
47%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

9%
9%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

7%
7%

Vacancy Rate

1%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Law Society of Alberta website: www.lawsociety.ab.ca

Legal Education Society of Alberta website: www.lesaonline.org

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?
Top