Sep 302014

v2Cover.inddA collection of stories revealing insights from criminal lawyers who have served as the defense or prosecution in some of Canada’s most striking criminal cases, Tough Crimes, will be released in just a few short weeks on November 13. Christopher D. Evans, QC and Lorene Shyba, authors and editors of Tough Crimes, talked to LESA last week about the book.

Evans described the rawness of the stories, saying that “Crown prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers don’t have closure after a trial; they don’t escape unscathed and haunting memories remain with them. … We really encouraged the writers of Tough Crimes to speak from the heart and mind.”

The book’s 21 contributors include the “heavy hitters” of Canadian criminal lawyers, such as, Richard Peck (Air India), Thomas Dalby (Taber school shooting), and John Rosen (Paul Bernardo defense). As Evans explained to LESA, each author contributed “a story or an essay about an actual case that presented personal and ethical challenges that had surprising turns in the results.”

While the experiences these contributors describe resonate with the legal community, Tough Crimes also appeals to the wider-public. For both Evans and Shyba, the ability to connect with a wide audience was one of the things that made working on Tough Crimes so exciting. Shyba identified the beginning of Tough Crimes as the “realization after hearing a couple of these stories that not only would I be interested in this story … but also that [sharing them] just may be cathartic for the lawyers and for our readers.” Evans’ optimism about the book’s widespread appeal rests on the fact that the “collective voice of this book really ends up speaking about the fundamental precepts of our criminal justice system … the presumption of innocence, reasonable doubt, subject matter like that.”

When describing the process of working with the contributors, Shyba admits that it involved “a lot of back and forth … [since] some people can weave a tale and some required gentle nudging into the heart of the darkness.” But in the end, some incredible stories were woven, stories that Shyba describes as “very personal tales about [the lawyers’] feelings and what they were encountering themselves.”

To find out more about Tough Crimes or to preorder the book, head to the publisher’s website.

For a chance to hear Evans speak about his over fifty years experience in criminal law, register for LESA’s 33rd Annual Intensive Advocacy seminar, where you’ll develop a confident, professional courtroom presence and explore all aspects of trial and hearing work in this week-long workshop. Don’t delay, register now as enrollment is limited.

Sep 242014

Have you ever felt the hair stand up on the back of your neck while talking to a client? Or has a combative client left you feeling angry and frustrated?

You won’t want to miss the upcoming High Conflict Personality seminar, where Michael Lomax will explain how to recognize these personalities and teach you practical skills for dealing with these clients more effectively.

By attending this seminar, you’ll become better equipped to work with high conflict personality clients. You’ll learn how to

  • Identify 5 common patterns of high conflict personality,
  • Manage your anxiety when working with high conflict personalities,
  • Build effective working relationships to help you connect with your client,
  • Respond to misinformation provided by your client,
  • Structure the dispute resolution process, and
  • Educate and coach your clients.

Register online now for one of the two seminar offerings:
Edmonton – Tuesday, October 7
Calgary – Wednesday, October 8

Michael has diverse and extensive experience in mediation and a private practice based out of Victoria, BC. He’s also an affiliate speaker with the High Conflict Institute in San Diego, CA. Register now and reserve your spot to learn from the insights he’s gleaned from his years of experience.

Sep 222014

ImageQuestions about the role and current status of dialogue between the government and the judiciary have been raised in recent months, as the process to replace retired Supreme Court Justice Fish was underway.

Globe and Mail Justice Writer Sean Fine brought this issue to the forefront in May with a story outlining the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s appointment of Justice Nadon of the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court in September 2013. Following the March 2014 Supreme Court decision deeming this appointment ineligible, Stephen Harper appointed Justice Gascon to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Although the federal government consulted with Quebec to develop the list of candidates leading to this appointment, further controversy ensued when the government did not follow the process of holding a public hearing allowing parliamentarians to question the appointee.

Fine’s various articles reporting on this story point to the frustration of the legal community over a lack of communication and dialogue between the judiciary and the government. This question of dialogue will also be explored at the upcoming Constitutional Law Symposium hosted by the Legal Education Society of Alberta and the Centre for Constitutional Studies. Sean Fine and the Honourable John C. (Jack) Major will take up this issue at the Symposium in what promises to be a spirited discussion. Register online now to reserve your spot at this fascinating seminar happening in Edmonton on October 3.

Visit the Globe and Mail online to read Sean Fine’s articles about this ongoing issue.

Sep 182014

assist-logo-sml-emblemThe Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist) is hosting two noon-hour Walk for Wellness events next week.

Come join one of these fun, free walks, and help Assist promote physical and mental health by pledging to enjoy more of your own family, active, quiet, reflective, or fun time.

The 3rd annual Edmonton Walk for Wellness departs from Sir Winston Churchill Square Wednesday, September 24 at noon.

The 4th annual Calgary Walk for Wellness departs from Courthouse Park Friday, September 26 at noon.

To find out how Assist supports the health and wellness of Alberta’s lawyers, law students, and their immediate families, visit Assist online.

Sep 172014

University of Alberta

Kicking off Alumni Weekend 2014, Sept. 18 – 21, the University of Alberta (U of A) celebrates the accomplishments of 41 outstanding graduates at its annual Alumni Awards.

Open to all family, friends, colleagues, and community members, this inspirational ceremony takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium and is followed by a complimentary reception where the public can mingle with Award Recipients.

Register for this free event at Business attire is encouraged.

The University of Alberta Alumni Awards recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni in seven categories. Learn more about the 2014 Award Winners.

Sep 162014

habitat_law build_2014

The Race the Roof: Fun Run is just around the corner! The 5K walk or 10K run takes place this Saturday, September 20, at Sir Wilfred Laurier Park.

Our LESA fun run race team would love to see you there! Early bird registration is open now (until September 18). If you can’t make it to the run on Saturday, consider sponsoring an athlete to help the run reach its $35,000 fundraising goal.

Edmonton’s legal community has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Edmonton since 1999 to sponsor and build homes for deserving, local families every three years. All Race the Roof: Fun Run proceeds support this year’s 2014 Justice Cecilia Johnstone Memorial Build.

For more information about the Race the Roof: Fun Run, to register, or to donate, click here.

Jun 182014

CPLED AB – Arman Chak from LESA on Vimeo.

The Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) Program is the bar admission course in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. In Alberta, the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) delivers the CPLED program on behalf of the Law Society of Alberta. In order to deliver a highly-valued educational experience and defensible, high-stakes competency evaluations, LESA recruits approximately 40 experienced members of the Alberta legal profession as online Learning Group Facilitators and Evaluators each year.

The facilitators and evaluators who work with learning groups in the online environment are known as “learning group facilitators” or “LGFs” and “learning group evaluators” or “LGEs.”

LGFs make a weekly time commitment of 10 to 20 hours per week for each three-week module to help students understand the materials, assignments, and competency evaluations well enough to be able to successfully demonstrate entry-level competence. Their goal is to engage, guide, and motivate a learning group of approximately 18 to 20 students as well as provide a safe and conducive environment for learning and communication exchange.

Selected LGFs, known as LGEs, also grade the final submissions (competency evaluations) for each online module. The Legal Education Society of Alberta selects qualified LGFs to grade approximately 30-40 competency evaluations at the end of each module. Training is provided.

For more information, or to apply to become a CPLED Learning Group Facilitator or Evaluator, click here.

Jun 092014

The Legal Education Society of Alberta is proud to announce the 2014/2015 Educational Calendar is now available.

We provide a wide range of exciting learning opportunities designed for the complete spectrum of Alberta lawyers, articling students, and their staff. Whether you’re a seasoned legal professional or just starting out, you’ll find programs that will stimulate and broaden your perspective, and give you even greater confidence in your practice.

Download the 2014/2015 calendar to plan your continuing professional development opportunities for the upcoming 2014/2015 year.

Our capstone event will be the 48th Annual Refresher: Wills & Estates running April 19-21, 2015. The focus this year will be Wills & Estates . We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Lake Louise to explore key issues affecting all Alberta lawyers whose practices touch on wills and estates.

Other highlights this year include All That Touches Family Law (Red Deer), Bare Land Condos (Edmonton and Calgary), High Conflict Personalities (Edmonton and Calgary), and the New Estate Administration Act (Edmonton and Calgary). You also won’t want to miss our 4th Annual Law and Practice Update for solo and small firm practitioners conference (Calgary).

Please join our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter community to keep on top of the latest developments at LESA and in the legal community across Alberta and beyond. Subscribe to our email updates to stay informed of program announcements and special offers.

You can register for our programs online, by phone, or by using the brochure registration form located on the last page. Be sure to check out – you are only a few clicks away from finding the live event or resource that you need.

Register early to take advantage of our early bird discounts and to secure your place in our limited enrolment programs.

As your lifelong partner in continuing legal excellence, we look forward to working with you in the upcoming educational year.

Download the 2014/2015 Educational Calendar NOW!

Apr 092014

41st Annual National Criminal Law Program 

Criminal Procedure, Ethics, & the Charter

July 7 to 11, 2014 | Halifax, Nova Scotia

Over 75% Full !

Still not registered for this year’s National Criminal Law Program, Criminal Procedure, Ethics, & the Charter?   Sign up today to avoid disappointment.

The National Criminal Law Program is Canada’s largest criminal law conference featuring a nationally recognized faculty made up of the country’s finest judges, defense counsel, and Crown prosecutors. Enjoy five days of plenary, break-out and small group workshop sessions in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, and take home two volumes of written material (printed or on CD), created specifically for the Program. New 2014 sessions include advanced-level break-outs, and a Tuesday and Thursday Jury Instructions Workshop. Don’t miss the First time attendee reception, Monday opening reception, and optional Thursday social events. Earn over 20 CPD hours!

For more information, visit the Program’s website at

Apr 082014

Anyone practicing in the area of wills and estates will want to attend the upcoming Surrogate Practice and Procedure Town Hall Meeting, hosted by Justice Craig Jones, Southern Alberta Surrogate Practice Advisor, and the Surrogate Rules Committee.

Members of the bar are invited to submit questions and comments relating to Surrogate practice matters, including the process of applying for grants, to the Co-Chairs at
Efforts will be made at the meeting to address these questions and concerns.

Meeting date in Edmonton: Friday, May 9th, 2014
Time: 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Location: Edmonton – QB Courtroom 317

Meeting date in Calgary: Monday, May 12, 2014
Time: 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Location: Calgary – QB Courtroom 1801