Nov 262014

Matrimonial Property Division Seminar

LESA’s 2014 seminar offerings have almost concluded, but we’re getting ready to ring in the new year with a whole range of exciting programs, including the Matrimonial Property Division seminar.

We recently spoke with seminar chair and Best Lawyers 2014 family law Lawyer of the Year award recipient Kevin Hannah QC about why attendees will benefit from this seminar.

He indicated that a “good range of younger and very experienced family lawyers from both Edmonton and Calgary” will be presenting at the seminar. The panel includes 7 faculty:

With roughly a 150 years combined experience, this panel has an impressive wealth of insight to share with seminar attendees. Hannah anticipates one of the seminar’s main takeaways will be the opportunity for participants to hear the “stories, tips, and approaches” that experienced family lawyers will share about “how to deal with the more difficult matrimonial property questions that they face in their everyday practice.”

Hannah indicated that the seminar will be valuable to family law practitioners for two reasons: you will “gain insight into recent developments in the law and practical applications of the law to your family law practice.”

On one hand, by attending this seminar you’ll get caught up on the more academic aspects of the law, since you’ll receive “updates on the most recent, relevant matrimonial property cases.”

On the other hand, you’ll learn practical skills and tips, such as how to use Excel spreadsheets in negotiation and the top 10 things clients wish you know about settlement.

Read the brochure for more information about the topics covered in the seminar.

Don’t miss this seminar! Register online now to reserve your spot.

Edmonton – January 20, 2015
Calgary – February 3, 2015

Note: Since Brad Mustard will be discussing how to use Excel spreadsheets, we’d recommend bringing your laptop or tablet to the seminar so you can follow along in Excel as he is presenting.

Nov 242014

LESA values all Max Blittour volunteers and your generous contributions of time, talent, and energy! To show how much we appreciate you, we’ll be posting volunteer profile blogs throughout the year as a way to say thank-you and highlight the specific contributions of our outstanding volunteers.

This feature highlights Max Blitt QC, an enthusiastic CPLED volunteer who assists the face-to-face programing as both a Facilitator and Evaluator.

Max is an associate at Speir Harben and practices primarily in family law, real estate, and wills and estates. He also has extensive experience dealing with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions. He has assisted clients and legal counsel to recover children abducted within Canada and internationally. In addition to international children’s issues, Max works with counsel in foreign countries on support and property issues involving Canada and foreign jurisdictions.

Max is a member of numerous associations, including Canada Family Mediation and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (International). Since 2006, he has served as a Court Appointed Dispute Resolution Officer with the Court of Queen’s Bench. He has had numerous speaking engagements and has volunteered with many organizations, including his ongoing support for CPLED, Alberta’s bar admission program.

For the past 5 years, Max has volunteered with two of CPLED’s in-person modules: Oral Advocacy and Negotiations. Max has worked both as a Facilitator, helping to facilitate learning and provide feedback to students in preparation for the module’s competency evaluation, and as an Evaluator, evaluating the module’s final competency assessment to determine the student’s level of achievement in demonstrating the lawyer competency targeted in the module.

When asked what caused him to start volunteering with CPLED, Max said that he was motivated to get involved by a “desire to give back” and because he enjoys “working with younger lawyers.” LESA certainly appreciates the wealth of experience he brings from his work assisting with the recovery of abducted children and dealing with support and property issues. And Max says that he’s happy to impart any of the insights he’s gained over the years, especially since “the idea of advocacy transcends any one area of the law.”

We also asked Max what he most enjoys most about volunteering with CPLED. For Max, it’s the “opportunity to work with future lawyers as well as the other lawyers who volunteer with CPLED.” While he certainly values the opportunity to help young lawyers develop the skills they will need to succeed in their future practice, he also emphasizes the value of connecting with colleagues. He says that “it’s key to get to know other lawyers in social settings.”

Max says his advice to fellow lawyers is “volunteer, volunteer, volunteer.” He describes volunteering with CPLED as “one of the most rewarding things you can do, and one of the most meaningful ways to give back.”

One last fun fact about Max, he enjoys using physical fitness to help achieve balance in his busy schedule. He also enjoys travelling and is part of a group who takes bicycle trips around the world. He’s been to many places, including Croatia, Spain, and Italy. And his favorite place to visit: “a place I’ve never been.”

If you would like information about volunteering with CPLED’s online modules, please contact Bronwyn Connolly, LESA’s Assessment and Evaluation Coordinator at or at 780-969-3555.

If you are interested in volunteering with CPLED’s face-to-face modules, please contact Janette Sztym, LESA’s Program Coordinator at or at 780-969-3553.

Nov 212014

Register for the Condomimiums: A Practitioners Update Seminar on DemandHave you heard about LESA’s new seminars on demand? We’ve started recording select live seminars onsite, so that, even if you can’t attend that seminar in person, you can still access seminar materials and view video recordings of the speakers’ presentations!

Last month’s Condominiums: A Practitioners Update is the latest live seminar that we’ve now made available as a seminar on demand.

When you purchase this seminar on demand, you’ll have online access to the seminar video recordings, and you’ll be able to download seminar materials as PDFs.

This Condominiums seminar on demand is full of relevant information and practical tips about the following topics:

  • Condominium basics,
  • Lawyer liability,
  • Legislative issues,
  • Bare land units,
  • Mixed use projects,
  • Closing day problems, and
  • Developer transactions.

If you practice in real estate and missed last month’s seminar, you’ll want to view the trailer for a preview of each speaker’s presentation.

Seminar attendees had plenty to say about the value of this seminar:

“Good review of current condominium real estate practice”
“Very practical and applicable”
“A must for anyone conveying condos”
“It was practical, dealt with real issues we experience as lawyers, and contained lots of useful information.”

Also check out other available seminars on demand:

Nov 192014

The Law Society’s 2014 Bencher Election was held last week. Thank you to everyone who stood for nomination and congratulations to all the elected Benchers!


W.E. Brett Code QC
Sandra L. Corbett QC
Donald R. Cranston QC
Nancy Dilts QC
James T. Eamon QC
Dennis Edney QC
Fred R. Fenwick QC
Cal Johnson QC
Sarah King-D’Souza QC
Anne L. Kirker QC
Gillian D. Marriott QC
Kathleen A. Ryan QC
Hugh D. Sommerville QC
Anthony G. Young QC
Robert W. Armstrong
Arman Chak
Adam Letourneau
Julie C. Lloyd
Kent J. Teskey
Darlene L. Windwick Scott


For more information on votes received and a complete list of nominees, see the Law Society of Alberta’s Official Election Results.

Nov 172014

This past week, The Counsel Network and the Association of Women Lawyers, in partnership with the Canadian Bar Association – Women Lawyers Forum, presented the 4th annual Women in Law Leadership (WILL) Awards to 7 outstanding recipients.

LESA congratulateWILLAwards2012_logos all of the 2014 award recipients on their amazing achievements:

Hon. Chief Justice C. Fraser – Lifetime Achievement Award
Marie L. Gordon QC – Leadership in the Profession (Private Practice)
Kate Chisholm QC – Leadership in the Profession (In-house or Government)
Diana Lowe QC – Leadership in the Profession (Broader Roles)
Mona Duckett QC – Leadership in the Community
Patricia Hébert  – Leadership in the Community
Heather Barnhouse – Tomorrow’s Leader

We’re thrilled to see so many of our past and present LESA supporters honoured with these awards. LESA would especially like to recognize those award recipients who are volunteering with us this year.

Gordon and Duckett are long-standing LESA volunteers who have offered their valuable skills and knowledge to many of their colleagues while speaking at LESA seminars. This year is no exception. In the new year, each will be speaking as faculty members at upcoming LESA seminars: Gordon at the Matrimonial Property Division seminar and Duckett at the Running Your First Trial seminar.

Chisholm currently serves on our Board of Directors, offering her valuable insight and direction to help govern our organization.

Barnhouse is an active participant in our pre-call training program for students-at-law (CPLED) as a Learning Group Facilitator (LGF), helping to pass along valuable information and skills to soon-to-be lawyers, and as a Learning Group Evaluator (LGE), evaluating the students’ competency in various online modules.

We greatly value the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. Congratulations to all of these incredible WILL recipients! Your dedication to the legal profession and the community is appreciated!

Nov 122014


This week LESA spoke with Jay Krushell, a facilitator for our upcoming Advanced Lender seminar. In our interview, Krushell described his excitement about this unique seminar format that is designed to facilitate discussion between experienced practitioners who practice exclusively or predominately in banking and finance.

In Krushell’s words, this seminar will provide a “unique opportunity for senior practitioners to get together and talk about the issues in our area of practice.” While several seminar facilitators have preselected topics and will help guide the discussion, Krushell indicated the “dialogue should be spontaneous” with the intention that “discussions will move to the hot button topics that are really top of mind for the people in the room.”

Rather than follow a more traditional seminar format that sees presenters doing most of the talking, this seminar will involve interactive discussion between practitioners with expertise in banking and finance. As such, an agenda with topics and discussion points will be sent to seminar attendees 7 to 10 days before the seminar. This will give you, the attendee, a chance to think about the topics and come prepared with questions, anecdotes, and hopefully solutions to some of the issues being discussed. Seeing the agenda in advance will also give you an opportunity to think about other topics and issues you would like to address at the seminar.

This seminar’s interactive discussion format aims to help senior practitioners understand the perspectives and viewpoints of their colleagues. As Krushell explains, “we all do work in our own little silos, and I think the chance to get in there with other senior practitioners to talk about these issues and get their input … is going to be invaluable for everyone who attends.”

Enrollment for Advanced Lender is limited. Register online now to reserve your spot.

Seminar details:
Location: Edmonton
Dates: January 15 & 22

Nov 102014

Tough Crimes, a collection of true stories written by Canada’s top criminal lawyers, will be released this week, on November 13!

Authors and editors Christopher D. Evans, QC and Lorene Shyba are taking the book on tour, and the Tough Crimes Book Tour is making three stops here in Alberta:

CALGARY – November 13
5:00 PM to 10:00 PM
The Danish Canadian Club

EDMONTON – November 20
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Audreys Books

LETHBRIDGE – December 6
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location TBA

At each book launch reception you’ll hear selected readings and have an opportunity to get your own copy of Tough Crimes signed.

Did you miss our September blog, where we interviewed Evans and Shyba about Tough Crimes? Read it now.

Nov 072014

Junior Solicitor Business Law Basics Image
With sessions running in Calgary (November 18) and Edmonton (November 25), LESA’s upcoming Junior Solicitor Business Law Basics seminar will provide practitioners in their first 5 years of practice with a wide range of information related to fundamental business law topics.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Income tax and GST issues,
  • Drafting contracts,
  • License agreements,
  • Intellectual property law,
  • Online services,
  • Corporate structures, minutes, and resolutions, and
  • Employment, labour, and WCB.

Seminar chair George Wowk explained to LESA that this seminar will be valuable for practitioners because it covers a “broad range of matters that arise … in a business lawyer’s practice.” In particular, he indicated that the seminar will provide practitioners with useful tips for identifying issues while also providing some general guidelines on how to handle them effectively.

Wowk’s own seminar discussion of online services will address the legal context of online data storage that is becoming ubiquitous with the increasing popularity and use of the cloud.

To find out more about the issues and guidelines affecting online services and these other business basic topics, you’ll want to secure your attendance in this seminar. Space is quickly filling up, so register online now to reserve your spot!

Register for the Calgary session (November 18) or the Edmonton session (November 25).

Nov 052014

Collections Seminar Image

If you are a junior practitioner or legal support staff, LESA’s Collections for Legal Support Staff seminar (November 20 or November 27) will offer you plenty of practical information about all the steps you need to consider when running a collections file.

As one of the seminar chairs, Sandeep Dhir, explained, the seminar will discuss the “nuts and bolts from opening a file all the way through to judgment and enforcement.”

When LESA asked Dhir why attendees will benefit from the seminar, he emphasized that it will include “practical examples from practice” that address the “decisions you make on a regular basis.” Experienced practitioners and a bailiff will share their insights about the common issues that you are asked to make an assessment on or advise clients about, such as advising a client about a bailee’s undertaking and the associated costs, benefits, and risks.

In Dhir’s words, this seminar will give you the tools you need to feel comfortable that “you’ve asked the right questions to help your clients make necessary decisions.” After all, there are a lot of questions associated with collections files, and, while you may not always know the answer immediately, knowing what questions to ask makes the process of determining a solution much easier.

This seminar benefits from the invaluable expertise of its chairs and faculty, including Dhir who co-authored a 2012 textbook, Collections Law in Alberta: A Practical Guide. Like this seminar, the textbook offers a “very accessible step by step approach to dealing with a collections file” (Dhir).

You won’t want to miss this seminar and all of the practical advice you’ll gain from attending. Register online now to attend in Calgary (November 20) or Edmonton (November 27).

Nov 032014

DP BurstThis Friday and Saturday LESA is hosting the 4th Annual Law and Practice Update for solo and small firm practitioners (November 7 & 8 in Calgary). At the seminar you’ll benefit from 12 sessions discussing topics in all practice areas, and you’ll have opportunities to visit the exhibition booths of our seminar sponsors.

Do Process, a Law and Practice Update platinum sponsor, will be one of the seminar’s exciting exhibitors.

Every year Do Process software helps legal professionals across Canada complete over 1 million transactions quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. This year Do Process is celebrating 25 years of serving the legal community, and they attribute this success to their ongoing partnership with legal professionals. They use customer feedback to shape their products and services and work collaboratively with industry leaders to offer integrated solutions in title insurance, mortgage instructing, and accounting services, creating additional value for busy law office practitioners.

Do Process offers practice software specific for real estate professionals. While you’re at the seminar, take an opportunity to ask them how you can get The Conveyancer to support your real estate practice absolutely FREE for the remainder of the year!

Do Process wants to thank its customers, partners, and the legal community for 25 great years by inviting everyone at the Law and Practice Update to join in the celebration! Visit the Do Process exhibitor booth for some special treats, giveaways, and your chance to win 1 of 2 $100 gift certificates to The Keg Steakhouse.

Time is running out and space is limited, but you still have a chance to register for the Law and Practice Update. Register online now.Do_Process_Final_white space_anniversary