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

Alert

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit alberta.ca for up-to-date information about these impacts.

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.

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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Lawyers and Quebec notaries (4112) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Lawyers and Quebec Notaries
2006 NOC : 4112

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary

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
Traits & Skills
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
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

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.


Related Education

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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Lawyer.

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 4112: Lawyers and Quebec notaries occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 231 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Lawyers and Quebec notaries

2016 NOC : 4112
Average Wage
$72.38
Per Hour
Average Salary
$140,438.00
Per Year
Average Hours
37.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4112 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


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 $21.76 $82.05 $45.18 $40.87
Overall $27.53 $128.61 $72.38 $71.28
Top $35.00 $196.40 $102.85 $98.96

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

60%
60%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

20%
20%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

12%
12%

Vacancy Rate

5%
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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

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