Oct 162014

LESA is a proud sponsor of LEAF’s 2014 Persons Day Breakfast, happening later this month.

LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) hosts the Persons Day Breakfast every year in commemoration of the 1929 Persons Case ruling where women were deemed to be persons under the law, thanks to the activism of the Famous 5.

When – Thursday, October 30 (7:30 – 9:30 am)
Where – Sutton Place Hotel (10235 – 101 Street, Edmonton)

This year Dr. Cindy Blackstock (Associate Professor, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta) will be speaking at the breakfast about how underfunding child welfare on reserves discriminates against First Nations children.

Please join us to hear Dr. Blackstock and to support LEAF in their work for equality rights.

LEAF is a national, charitable, non-profit organization, founded in 1985. LEAF works to advance the substantive equality rights of women and girls in Canada through litigation, law reform, and public education using the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Persons Day Breakfast is an important annual fundraiser for LEAF; proceeds predominately fund LEAF’s legal work with a small portion going towards educational programs here in Edmonton.

Costs to attend the Persons Day Breakfast are as follows, and tickets can be purchased online.

Table Sponsor: $550 (table for 10 guests)
Individual Ticket: $55
Student/Senior/Low Income: $22

If you would like to purchase a “sister ticket” to help a student or someone else who could not otherwise attend to be present at the event, please email edmontonpdb@leaf.ca

Oct 142014

LESA’s 4th Annual Law and Practice Update runs November 7 & 8 in Calgary, and if you’re a solo or small firm practitioner you’ll want to be there! This two day seminar includes over 12 hours of practical information in all major practice areas of the law.

Space is limited but there are still some seats available; register online now to reserve your spot.

Darryl Aarbo, the seminar chair, spoke to LESA about why this seminar is so valuable for solo and small firm practitioners. He noted that the seminar offers very practical information, rather than a theoretical analysis of the law, saying that it “focuses on specific issues related to regular practice.” Furthermore, the wide-ranging topics covered at the seminar discuss areas of high risk for general practitioners, as identified by the Law Society of Alberta. As Aarbo puts it, the seminar “addresses common errors” and “real issues based on real claims and questions,” whether based on complaints from the public or questions lawyers pose to the Law Society’s Practice Advisors.

The Law Society of Alberta is offering a $75 rebate on the Alberta Professional Liability Insurance Levy to all lawyers who attend this seminar, underscoring the seminar’s intensely practical nature and its usefulness in covering what Aarbo calls “pitfalls and possible areas of errors and omissions.

Calgary lawyer Jeffery Kahane will be speaking at the seminar about the future of real estate. When he spoke to LESA about why practitioners should attend the seminar he emphasized the need to challenge yourself to do and learn new things to avoid complacency. He likened a law practice to a gym routine, saying it’s “very easy to fall into doing the same thing day in and day out.” However, a lack of variety and challenge can negatively impact your motivation and engagement at the gym as well as at the office. Kahane says, “we have to, as individuals, look at that and make changes and grow and update what we do on a regular basis or we stop being effective.

We can’t emphasize it enough: if you’re a solo or small firm practitioner, you’ll get a lot out of this seminar that specifically focuses on “important and practical issues for people with a varied practice” (Aarbo). This seminar provides you invaluable information and a time effective way to complete more than 12 hours of continuing professional development. As such, it’s an excellent CPD activity to include in your annual Continuing Professional Development Plan.

We hope to see you at the Law and Practice Update!

Oct 092014

This week LESA spoke to Jeffery Kahane, of the KaTop Choice Award Logo - 2014 - Colourhane Law Office. Kahane’s firm won a 2014 Top Choice award after being selected as Calgary’s Top Real Estate Law Firm. Congratulations to the Kahane Law Office and the nine other 2014 Top Choice law firm award recipients in Alberta!

When we spoke to Kahane, he emphasized his firm’s efficient, high-level customer service as one of the main reasons his clients are loyal and satisfied. He explained that “the more efficient you are the better level of service you can give your clients.” Undoubtedly this efficiency is one reason the firm won a Top Choice Award.

Kahane went on to describe how embracing new technology and using good systems to stay organized help his firm to maximize its efficiency. And Kahane has plenty of experience integrating new technology. His LinkedIn profile was one of the Top 1% Viewed Profiles in 2012, he shares short educational videos on YouTube (Kahane Law Legal Minute), and his office is in the process of launching a new program for clients to check the status of their accounts online.

Kahane also makes a point of sharing his insights with others in the legal community. He speaks at many seminars and workshops, including LESA’s upcoming Law and Practice Update (Calgary, November 7-8). At this seminar he’ll be talking about the future of real estate law practice, including a discussion about the intersection of technology and marketing. Kahane calls technological advances a “dual edged sword” that will make the practice of real estate law very different in the next 10 years. In his words, lawyers can be “horrible” at embracing change, but he cautions that “if you don’t embrace it, you’ll become obsolete.”

If you’re a solo or small firm practitioner, you won’t want to miss Kahane’s talk at the Law and Practice Update. Register now.

Oct 072014

Did you miss last month’s amazing Written Advocacy – Preparing Persuasive Documents seminar?

Now there’s no need for regrets: LESA has made this material available in an online self-study course with the Written Advocacy Seminar on Demand.

Written Advocacy will help you learn how to communicate more effectively by writing accessible, understandable, and persuasive documents. At its core, effective writing requires you to write for your audience, not for yourself. This seminar on demand will explain what this means and how to do it.

The tips and tricks offered in the videos and course materials apply to any form of legal writing: affidavits, statements of claim, statements of defense, third party notice, mediation briefs, client reporting letters, and more.

Eugene Meehan QC, Justice Bielby, and Jon Faulds QC share many tips to help you make your writing more effective. Here’s a sneak peek of three tips offered in this incredible educational resource:

  1. Don’t use unnecessarily complex language. Simplicity is best, since it’s your job to uncomplicate the complicated for the reader.
  2. Use straightforward organizing logic. Be brief and present the most important details first. Everyone is busy and you have a limited time to make your point.
  3. Organization and visual presentation is critical. Use bullets, headings, and charts to organize your document and help the reader more quickly and easily follow your argument.

Register for Written Advocacy now and start writing more effectively today.

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 www.uab.ca/aw2014. 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.