2015 Assist Walk for Wellness

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on 2015 Assist Walk for Wellness
Jun 292015

assist-logo-lrg word

You’ve probably heard about the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist). But have you heard about the annual Assist Walk for Wellness?

Assist is an independent charitable society whose goal is to keep lawyers in Alberta happy and healthy. The annual Assist Walk for Wellness is one way that they encourage those in the profession to nurture their physical and mental health.

The walk is free! Participants are only asked to pledge one of the following: family, active, quiet, reflective, or fun time.

Why not mark your calendar now to set aside a little time for your health and wellness in September? You can join Assist for the walk in one of these 3 locations:


September 17
September 23
September 24

Visit albertalawyersassist.ca for more information.

ACTLA Women’s Legal Forum – 100 Year Celebration

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on ACTLA Women’s Legal Forum – 100 Year Celebration
Jun 242015

On September 10, 2015, the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) and the Women’s Legal Forum once again celebrates Alberta women in the legal profession. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lillian Ruby Clements’ admission to the Alberta bar. She was the first woman to have that honour.

Lillian Ruby ClementsPhoto Credits: Legal Archives Society of Alberta

Lillian paved the way for legions of other accomplished women to make their marks in the Alberta legal profession, including the event’s distinguished keynote and guest speakers:

Keynote Speaker

The Honourable Madam Justice S. Côté
Supreme Court of Canada

Guest Speakers

The Honourable Madam Justice J. Veit
Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

The Honourable M. Trussler, QC
Ethics Commissioner of Alberta and former Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Corie Flett
Lawyer and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Gail Cohen
Editor in Chief, Canadian Lawyer / Law Times

Celebration Details





Edmonton Expo Centre, 7515 118 Ave

September 10, 2015
5:00 PM Cocktails & Silent Auction
6:00 PM Speakers

$60 per person (+ GST)
$575 for a group of 10, please include all names on one registration form (+ GST)
$20 per student (+ GST)

Visit the ACTLA website for a registration form. For tickets, please send the completed registration form to Admin@ACTLA.com.  For more information, contact LESA’s Karen McDougall at 780.421.4399 or ACTLA’s Sandy Leske at 1.800.665.7248.

ALRI – Non-Profit Corporations Consultation Deadline Extended

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on ALRI – Non-Profit Corporations Consultation Deadline Extended
Jun 232015

8298984Have you had a chance to weigh in on Discussion 26 – Non-Profit Corporations?

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) published its report in February, and feedback was originally due in May. If you missed that original deadline, you’re in luck. You now have until November 1, 2015 to offer your comments.

You can see the full extension notice and download a copy of the report here.

Race Judicata – Habitat for Humanity Edmonton Legal Build

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on Race Judicata – Habitat for Humanity Edmonton Legal Build
Jun 222015


Summer is finally (officially!) here. We hope you’ll get to relax and enjoy some sun this summer, but we know that summers have a tendency to pass away into autumns before we’ve had a chance to blink twice. And then September and the Race Judicata: Fun Run will be upon us!

The 2015 Race Judicata is a 5 or 10 km fun run/walk in support of the 2017 Habitat for Humanity Edmonton Legal Build. Every 3 years Edmonton’s legal community works to build a home for a deserving family, and the 2017 Legal Build is dedicated to the late Hon. E.R. Wachowich.

We hope you’ll join the LESA fun run team in Sir Wilfred Laurier Park on September 19, because we’d love to walk along side you in support of this incredible initiative. If you can’t make it to the run, have you considered donating to the run or supporting a participant? You could even sponsor the race itself.

Registration is open now. Sign up by August 25 for the $30 early bird registration fee.

If you or your firm are involved with an initiative that gives back to the community and you’d like LESA’s help promoting your cause, please contact Renee Vander Meulen, Communications Coordinator.
780.969.0553 or renee.vandermeulen@lesa.org

Assist – FREE Resources

 Legal News: Alberta, News, Online Course, Resource  Comments Off on Assist – FREE Resources
Jun 172015

As this June 2014 CBC North clip with Robert A. Philp QC and Marian De Souza QC explains, the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist) provides confidential help with personal issues to lawyers, law students, and their immediate families.

Assist offers support in several ways:

  • Peer Support Program – Receive (or offer) peer support to address personal and professional issues in a safe and confidential environment.
  • Professional Counselling – Receive FREE, confidential counseling through Forbes Psychological Services to allow for an assessment of the issues you are facing, short term counseling, and referral to long-term sources of help, when necessary.
  • Resources – Access FREE, online resources relating to career and education, overcoming addictions, physical and mental health, stress management, suicide prevention, and workplace wellness.

LESA partnered with Assist to offer several FREE online self-study modules, including these two recently added resources:

  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Addictions

To access these FREE modules, head to our Online Classroom. If you don’t already have a login, simply complete this online registration form and we’ll email you your username and password.

UPDATE – Alberta Surrogate Forms CD

 Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News, Resource  Comments Off on UPDATE – Alberta Surrogate Forms CD
Jun 152015

Get fillable Alberta Surrogate Forms!

Do you work with Surrogate Forms? If so, you’ll be glad to hear that LESA recently updated our Alberta Surrogate Forms publication. These updates reflect changes to the Surrogate Forms brought about by the Estate Administration Act that came into force June 1, 2015.

If you’d benefit from this LESA publication—which offers Surrogate Forms as fillable MS Word documents—you can purchase the Alberta Surrogate Forms CD online.

Did you know that the Court of Queen’s Bench announced a grace period lasting until September 1, 2015, during which existing Surrogate Forms may be used? You can find all the details and the full Notice to the Profession in our Breaking News blog published on June 2.

If you have a professional interest in the Surrogate Forms and the Estate Administration Act, you’ll also want to stay tuned for new wills & estates practice manuals that LESA has in the works. If you want us to notify you when they’re ready, you can follow the blog by clicking the link on the right-hand sidebar or you can subscribe to our E-Letter. Both are great ways to stay in touch with all the latest LESA news and updates.

NOTE: Alberta Surrogate Forms is available for purchase in electronic (CD) format only.

NOTE: If you’re already a subscriber to LESA’s Alberta Surrogate Forms publication, your update has been mailed to you. If you have any questions, please contact Chris Hayek at chris.hayek@lesa.org or 780.969.3558.

Jun 122015

15-16EdCalendarHave you had a chance to page through LESA’s 2015/2016 Educational Calendar yet?

This year, we’re excited to offer over 45 live seminars for lawyers, articling students, and their staff!

Today’s blog offers some helpful hints and information to help you navigate the Educational Calendar and find the programs and resources that will suit your needs.

Tip #1: If you’re looking at our Calendar online, you’re using a linked PDF. When you find a program you’d like to register in, simply click the title and you’ll be directed to the online registration page.


In the Educational Calendar, you’ll find programs arranged by practice area (pages 2–10), with offerings in the following areas:

Business Law
Criminal Law
Family Law

Real Estate
Specialized Programs
(for lawyers in any practice area)
Wills & Estates

When you are deciding what programs will meet your professional development needs, make sure you note the learning level listed beside the program title (Fundamental, Intermediate, Advanced, and All).

You may also want to check out the support staff program offerings (page 11). While programs for lawyers often focus on substantive law topics, support staff programs tend to focus more on practical applications. Depending on your practice area, experience, and needs, you may find that this year’s support staff programs have useful information to offer you as well.

For example, at last year’s Collections seminar, which was targeted to Legal Support Staff, we received this feedback from one attendee.

In the words of one lawyer, this was something all lawyers should sit in on.”

If you’re interested in checking out this program for yourself, you’re in luck as Collections is currently available as a seminar on demand.

Support Staff

LESA’s Educational Calendar has 5 legal support staff program titles this year (page 11) – ranging from general skills and knowledge programs to seminars targeted to support staff working in specific areas of the law.

If you’re interested in seeing more offerings targeted to specific practice areas, check out the offerings listed on pages 2 to 10. Although these programs are targeted at lawyers, support staff are encouraged to attend any program that fits their educational needs. This year, for example, we’re offering a series of fundamental drafting course that may benefit you:

  • Technology Contracts (page 2)
  • Corporate Drafting (page 2)
  • Drafting Pleadings and Affidavits (page 6)
  • Drafting Your First Will (page 10)

You may also want to check out this year’s Specialized Programs (page 7–9), which include practical skills and knowledge seminars:

  • Discover how to use Microsoft® Outlook effectively.
  • Check out sessions on accounting software (PCLaw and ESILaw).
  • Delve into issues of surrounding privacy legislation.

Did you know that law students and students-at-law are eligible to receive a 25% discount on many of our live seminars and educational resources, including seminars on demand?

Why not take advantage of this student bursary and jump start your career by gaining additional knowledge, skills, resources, and networking opportunities?

Flip through the LESA Educational Calendar to see the range of program offerings available this year. If you have any questions about what a program covers or how to register, let us know and we’re happy to help you find you the information you’re looking for. You can reach us at info@lesa.org or at 780.420.1987 (tollfree in Alberta at 1.800.282.3900).


As you’ve been hearing over the past year, we’ve started recording some of our live seminars and offering them to you afterwards as seminars on demand. Seminars on demand help add flexibility to meet the needs of your busy schedule: you can stream videos of seminar presenters and download course materials as PDFs.

SODYou’ll find a list of currently available titles in the Educational Calendar (pages 14–16). You’ll also see this icon beside the titles of upcoming programs that we plan record and offer as seminars on demand.

Have you heard about the new LESA Library? It’s a subscription-based, online resource that brings you seminar papers and practice manual content all in one place. Check out page 13 of the Educational Calendar to learn more, and stay tuned for details as we make final preparations to launch this subscription service in the next few months.

Articling Student Education Plan Changes – Competency

 CPLED, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on Articling Student Education Plan Changes – Competency
Jun 102015


On May 22, 2015, the Law Society of Alberta (LSA) announced changes to the articling student Education Plan (Form 2-5, 2-6), which sets out the LSA’s requirements for what a student-at-law must cover while articling. These changes came into effect on June 1.

These changes mark the first major shift in the LSA’s approach to the articling program in several decades. Previously, the LSA’s Education Plan required articling students to cover and be supervised in 5 out of 7 substantive areas of law: real estate, civil litigation, criminal law, family law, business law, wills & estates, and administrative law.

Now, instead of focusing on these substantive categories, the LSA’s Education Plan requires students to experience a broad range of basic lawyering skills, regardless of the area of law in which these skills are developed. Under the new program, it is possible to complete an article in only 1 area of law, so long as all of the required skill sets are covered.

The new Education Plan identifies 5 specific competency areas that articling students must develop during their articling year:

  • Ethics and professionalism,
  • Practice management,
  • Client relationship management,
  • Conducting matters, and
  • Adjudication/alternative dispute resolution.

The Education Plan lists different tasks—exemplary, not all required—that a student should be exposed to in each of these areas. For example, under the ethics and professionalism competency area, students are encouraged to take part in learning activities such as discussing ethical issues with their principals, discussing strategies for making informed and reasoned decisions about ethical issues, and identifying potential conflict of interest issues. Under the conducting matters competency area, students are encouraged to gather facts through interviews, conduct legal research and analysis, and draft a range of documents. In other words, the focus of the articling year has shifted from experiencing multiple areas of law to developing competencies that are fundamental to an entry-level lawyer.

These changes to the Education Plan were driven, in large part, by a 2012 initiative of the Council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. This initiative led to a set of national entry-level competencies for admission to the bar. While developing these competencies, the Council identified a full range of knowledge, skills, and tasks required by entry-level lawyers and ranked their importance based on frequency and criticality—that is, how often the skills are used and how badly things go wrong if they are used incorrectly. Based on this list, the Council developed its entry-level competency standards.

The Law Society of Alberta joined twelve other law societies in adopting the national competency standards, subject to a plan for implementation. As part of adopting these standards, the LSA is striving to ensure that articling students have the opportunity to develop each competency. Competency training related to certain areas of legal knowledge, skills, and some tasks is already the focus of law school and the CPLED Program. However, some competencies are best developed in an authentic practice context. What better way to expose students to many practice fundamentals than through the articling year?

For students, the biggest change resulting from the LSA’s new Education Plan will undoubtedly be the ability to pursue an article that covers fewer substantive areas of law. Fewer and fewer firms have a general practice base, so a move towards task-oriented educational goals will open up new articling opportunities with lawyers and firms who otherwise could not meet the substantive requirements of the old Education Plan.

More broadly speaking, the new Education Plan’s focus on competencies should also enable law students to leave their articling year with a well-rounded set of skills, ensuring that they are well-versed in the basic tasks behind a legal practice as well as substantive knowledge and practical skills.

Allison Boutillier
LESA Summer Student

Seminar on Demand – New Estate Administration Act for Legal Support Staff

 LESA Update, Resource, Seminars On Demand  Comments Off on Seminar on Demand – New Estate Administration Act for Legal Support Staff
Jun 082015


Are you a legal support staff professional in Alberta? Do you need to know about the new Estate Administration Act (in force June 1, 2015), Surrogate Rules changes, and relevant forms?

We can help! If you missed the live seminar in May, you’ll want to check out LESA’s New Estate Administration Act for Legal Support Staff seminar on demand.

We recorded the speakers presenting at the live seminar, so that, when you purchase the seminar on demand, you can stream seminar presentations and download course materials as PDFs.

You’ll gain insights into the new Act from a variety of perspectives with our diverse panel of speakers:

C. Suzanne McAfee QC
Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

Donna L. Molzan QC
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General

Richard H. Bowes
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General

Marianne Rivard
Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

These four presenters provide you with information and tips that will help you effectively and confidently handle the changes brought about by the new Estate Administration Act. Discussion topics include:

  •  General principles underlying the Act,
  •  Transitional provisions and new notice requirements,
  •  Substantive and non-substantive Surrogate Rules changes,
  •  When to involve the Public Trustee,
  •  Procedures required by the Act, and
  •  How to avoid common errors.

You’ll also benefit from the handy reference tools included in the materials: checklists, comparison charts, a sample probate application, and more.

Here’s what some live seminar participants had to say about the value of this program:

I had read the new EAA, but the presenters made it much more understandable and put it in context.”
“All presentations were done in ‘plain English’ and easily understood.”
“I feel a lot more prepared about the new changes that will come into effect.”
“The seminar was very informative, and the presenters had a clear understanding and conveyed it well to the audience. The written materials will be a helpful tool when it comes to doing future probates/administrations.”

Visit LESA.org to purchase New Estate Administration Act for Legal Support Staff or to explore other available seminars on demand. Titles targeted towards support staff include: Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act, Collections, and Court of Appeal Procedure.

Recently Updated – Common Contested Chambers’ Applications

 LESA Update, Resource  Comments Off on Recently Updated – Common Contested Chambers’ Applications
Jun 032015

Alberta litigators wanting to hone their skills, especially junior lawyers or others working to develop expertise in the area of chambers advocacy, can find no better resource than Daniel T. Gallagher QC’s paper,
Common Contested Chambers’ Applications

This classic offering from a top Alberta litigator has recently been updated. At a whopping 59 pages of advice and law plus over 200 pages of precedents, this paper details the court applications that practitioners will come across most often, including those involving:

  • Pleadings amendments,
  • Security for costs,
  • Dismissal for delayed prosecution,
  • Applications to compel,
  • Appeals from the Master,
  • Trial of an issue,
  • Summary judgment, and
  • Setting aside a default judgment.

Rounded out with a step-by-step chambers checklist, this is a resource litigators should not be without.

You can view some sample pages or purchase Common Contested Chambers’ Applications online.

Note: If you previously purchased this resource, you can get the updated version at no charge. Simply login to your LESA account, click the Orders “Download Documents” link, and select the paper for re-download.

Karen McDougall
LESA Counsel