Want Drafting Tips? Check out these Seminars on Demand!

 LESA Update, Online Course, Resource, Seminars On Demand  Comments Off on Want Drafting Tips? Check out these Seminars on Demand!
Feb 122016

You’ve probably heard that LESA is recording select live seminars to offer as seminars on demand, letting you view the speaker presentations and download the course materials as PDFs. But did you know that several of the most recent seminar on demand titles offer you drafting tips, tools, and best practices?

Today’s blog fills you in on what you’ll gain from these two seminar on demand titles: Corporate Drafting and Drafting Your First Will. For a quick preview of what you’ll gain from each resource, watch the introductory trailer videos with the seminar chairs – Leanne C. Krawchuk and Paula Hoffman.

Corporate Drafting

Review share structure, bylaws, corporate opinions, resolutions, articles of incorporation, and dividends. Understand how the Alberta Business Corporations Act and the Income Tax Act influence your corporate drafting practices, and gain helpful precedents and checklists that you can use or amend in your own practice.

Here’s what some live seminar attendees found most beneficial about the program:

All of it!”
“The printed materials and the obvious expertise of the presenters.”
“Good precedents. Simple explanations”
“It was a good way to remind yourself about the building blocks and types of things you should be looking at.”

To get access these materials and tips for yourself, register online now for the Corporate Drafting seminar on demand.

Drafting Your First Will

Cover the basics of drafting and gain practical tools, tips, checklists, precedents, and sample clauses to aid you in the drafting process from interview and information collection to drafting and then closing a file. Topics discuss testamentary capacity, basic and complex will situations, tax perspectives, intestacy, family maintenance and support claims, and more.

Here’s what some live seminar attendees found most beneficial about the program:

It’s practical application!”
“The basic components of a will and different drafting suggestions.”
“Precedents and tips.”
“A good overview of drafting wills.”

Want to discover these tips and tools for yourself? Register online now for the Drafting Your First Will seminar on demand.

Training in Family Mediation – in French

 Edmonton, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Training in Family Mediation – in French
Feb 102016

If you wAJEFA Logoant to take a family mediation course taught in French, AJEFA (Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta) has an upcoming program that may be what you’re looking for. The week-long Training in Family Mediation course runs from February 29 to March 4 in Edmonton.

This Training in Family Mediation workshop provides an introduction to family law mediation and is taught by practicing lawyers and social workers who work in the field of family law in Alberta.

The course is fast approaching and space is limited, so register online to save your spot.

You can find more details about this program in the AJEFA announcement: view the announcement in English or in French.

If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community, contact Renee Vander Meulen, Communications Coordinator.
780.969.0553 or renee.vandermeulen@lesa.org


34th Annual Intensive Advocacy

 Calgary, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on 34th Annual Intensive Advocacy
Feb 082016

Intensive Advocacy

Do you want to run through your courtroom skills? Do you want to learn from elite litigators, watching demonstrations and then practicing skills with constructive feedback?

Attend the 34th Annual Intensive Advocacy program to explore every aspect of trials and hearings in a week-long workshop!

Darren Reed, one of the course presenters, explains how this program benefits litigators at all skill levels:

Whether you’re a seasoned lawyer or just out of the gate, this course will help you hone your skills, remind you of what you can do better, or just simply lay the foundation for you to become a persuasive advocate.”

Jointly offered by LESA and the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, this workshop is the most intensive advocacy skills course for litigators in Western Canada; it includes up-to-date tips and advice, applicable to both simple cases and complicated litigation.

You’ll learn how to examine-in-chief, cross-examine, object to improper questions, enter exhibits, as well as qualify, lead, and cross-examine expert witnesses. You’ll hone your advanced direct examination and cross-examination skills, review how to impeach a witness, and explore how to effectively open your case and argue persuasively during closing arguments.

But don’t just take our word for it. We spoke to Tim Mavko, one of the Intensive Advocacy faculty, for a sneak peak on what you’ll experience in this workshop.

This is a skills course. Over an intense and packed week you will learn the skills you need to run a trial or administrative hearing: how to introduce your case through your opening statement, how to effectively examine and cross-examine witnesses, how to introduce exhibits, how to present and oppose experts, and how to wrap it all up with a compelling closing argument. We have broken these skills down into their essential parts. At the end of the week, you will run your own trial or hearing.”

The final assignment of the course is a trial staged at the Calgary Courts Centre before Queen’s Bench and Provincial Court Judges, where you choose to conduct a civil trial, criminal trial, or an administrative hearing.

Intensive Advocacy enrolment is limited, and there are only a few spots still remaining. Register online now to attend the 34th Intensive Advocacy program in Calgary (June 13–18).

2016 QC Appointments – Congratulations!

 Awards and Accolades, Lawyer Recognition, Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on 2016 QC Appointments – Congratulations!
Feb 052016

Congratulations to the 39 Alberta lawyers who recently received their Queen’s Counsel designation! Many volunteers who dedicate their time, talent, and energy to LESA were on the list of 2016 QC appointments, and we’re excited to see you recognized for all your contributions!

This Queen’s Counsel accreditation, first started in 1841, requires applicants to undergo a review of their contributions to the legal profession and public life. Recommendations from a committee are submitted to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and members of Cabinet for review.

Prior to submitting this list of potential appointments to the Minister and Cabinet for consideration, several steps are involved in the lawyer’s application process.

Applicants are considered on the following criteria:

  • Competence
  • Professional Qualities
  • Contribution to the Administration of Justice
  • Contribution to the Community

In a recent Legislature news release the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Kathleen Ganley, shared her insight on the 2016 QC appointments:

This year’s Queen’s Counsel appointees have demonstrated their commitment to enhancing our province’s justice system. In doing so, they have shown themselves to be deserving of this distinction as well as the respect of their peers within the legal community.”

You can view the complete list of the 2016 QC appointments here. Once again, congratulations to all the deserving appointees who were honoured with a Queen’s Counsel designation!

2016 Alberta’s Top Employers Winner

 Awards and Accolades, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on 2016 Alberta’s Top Employers Winner
Feb 032016

2016 Alberta’s Top EmployersHave you heard? The 2016 Alberta’s Top Employers competition winners were just announced and LESA made the list! Being recognized as one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers is exciting for us because it speaks to LESA’s vision and commitment to setting standards of excellence.

As you know, we are committed to setting standards of excellence in the education of Alberta’s lawyers, articling students, and their staff. Like you’ll read in our press release, we know that to offer you exceptional continuing legal education opportunities, we need to value our greatest asset – our employees.

At LESA we strive to be collaborative, innovative, professional, and responsible with our resources. How do we engage our staff and encourage them to live out these LESA values? Today’s blog shares some of examples and reasons why we have been recognized as one of the distinguished 2016 Alberta’s Top Employers winners.


LESA’s physical workspaces encourage collaboration. Our meeting room – and recently, our offices – have writeable walls. Besides being incredibly fun, these gigantic whiteboard walls make it easy to brainstorm, get creative, and keep organized – all important aspects of coming together and getting things done as a team.


To respond to the diverse learning needs of our community and succeed in offering high quality continuing legal education, LESA knows we need to be innovative. One way we stay on top of current knowledge and technological advances is to invest in the professional development of our staff. Staff attend training sessions, engage with other organizations, and participate in quarterly team development activities, amongst other things.


Last January, LESA forged ahead with an exciting change in structure that, in part, reflects our desire to effectively and competently serve the Alberta legal community. Our reorganization to a structure of responsible autonomy fundamentally reflects the values LESA holds most dear: it favours empowerment, fosters accountability and communication, helps people develop leadership competencies, and embraces collaboration and innovation. Essentially this new structure allows LESA’s staff more flexibility to do our jobs well and grow as individuals.


Being responsible with our resources – being fiscally responsible now and investing in a sustainable future – entails many things. Since our employees are our greatest asset, responsibly and conscientiously managing our human resources is incredibly important to LESA. Our earned days off program is hugely popular, letting staff enjoy every third Friday off. LESA staff also appreciate flexible work hours and telecommuting options that let staff balance their work for LESA with the other family and personal commitment. LESA’s commitment to helping staff achieve a healthy work-life balance benefits everyone and makes for a positive work environment where staff are engaged and productive.

What do our staff love most?

We’re proud of the many reasons that LESA is a 2016 Alberta’s Top Employers winner, but we’ll wrap things up by letting you hear straight from some of our staff why they love working at LESA.

LESA is an organization that genuinely cares about the well-being and interests of its employees. It encourages and fosters growth on both an individual and organizational level.”

Kelsey Dick, Counsel

LESA has a very positive work environment where your ideas are listened to and your accomplishments are celebrated.”

Chris Hayek, Integration Assistant

I love that I love coming into work; the people that work here are an amazing group who create a positive and pleasant atmosphere. I like that even though our focus is on serving Alberta’s lawyers, articling students and their staff, we are also committed to making a difference in our community through volunteer activities.”

Bronwyn Connolly, Education Coordinator

February 2016: Upcoming Legal Events

 Calgary, Edmonton, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on February 2016: Upcoming Legal Events
Feb 022016

February 2016: Upcoming Legal Events

Stay up-to-date on upcoming legal events and programs. Today’s blog shares our program dates and early bird deadlines for the upcoming month.

February Programs

Drafting, Pleadings, Affidavits, and Orders: The Pleading Edge
Register online to attend in Edmonton (February 9) or Calgary (February 17).

  • Discover best practices, review current case law, and explore the role that pleadings play in framing your case.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair James Kindrake to learn what you’ll gain from this seminar that brings together a broad range of perspectives (from the civil litigator and family law practitioner to a Queen’s Bench Justice).

Advanced Child Support
Register online to attend in Edmonton (February 10) or Calgary (February 23).

  • Explore what’s at play in high income cases, responsibility for post-secondary expenses, section 7 and section 18 considerations, and other complicated child support issues.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Pam Bell to hear why experienced practitioners should attend this program to gain insight into issues from one end of the child support spectrum to the other.

Search Warrants
Register online to attend in Edmonton (February 19) or Calgary (February 26).

  • Recognize different types of warrants and how to utilize them. Discuss Garofoli Applications, constitutional challenges, privacy expectations, delay in access to counsel, and more.
  • Read the blog with seminar co-chair Karen Molle to discover more about the cutting edge topics discussed in this program targeted to both Crown and Defence counsel.
Registration Savings

Register now to take advantage of special early bird pricing for the following upcoming programs:

ENDING February 2

Family Law 25
Register online to attend in Edmonton (March 3) or Calgary (March 8).

  • Review the top 5 cases relevant to 5 family law issues: child support, spousal support, matrimonial property, parenting, and unjust enrichment. Also discover tax tips related to each of these areas.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Marla Miller QC for her top 5 reasons why you’ll benefit from this program, from the valuable information you’ll gain to understanding current court perspectives.

ENDING February 16

49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate
Register online to attend in Lake Louise (April 24–26).

  • Focus on common practice, thorny issues, and new methods in real estate. Engage in 6 half-day sessions geared towards all practitioners who want to keep current in the practice of real estate law.
  • Read the blog to find out what you can expect from this year’s 2016 Refresher program.

If you’re coming to Lake Louise for the 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate, why not also register for the add-on program: Alberta Land Titles Online?

  • Read the blog with Curtis Woollard, from Land Titles North, to learn more about what you’ll gain from this add-on program and how the upcoming changes to implement digital signatures in land titles transactions will affect your practice.
  • Register online for Alberta Land Titles Online in Lake Louise on April 23.
CPLED Modules

Interviewing and Advising
This mandatory CPLED module runs in Calgary or Edmonton (February 8–12).

  • Interact in a face-to-face environment that includes instruction in and testing competence for interviewing and advising skills.
  • If you are a current CPLED student and have any questions about this module, please contact the LESA Student Coordinator Ashley Iachetta at ashley.iachetta@lesa.org or 780.969.3557.
Events in the Legal Community

Western Canada Class Actions Conference
Register online to attend the live program in Vancouver or the live webinar (February 26).

If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community, contact Renee Vander Meulen, Communications Coordinator.
780.969.0553 or renee.vandermeulen@lesa.org

Don’t Miss the 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate

 LESA Update, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Don’t Miss the 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate
Feb 012016

49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate

Are you aware of proposed changes to the Condominium Property Act that may affect real estate transactions? Do you want to stay up-to-date on factors affecting real estate transactions in a variety of environments? Join us on April 24–26 for our 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate to cover these and other important topics!

The 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate focuses on common practice, thorny issues, and new methods in real estate. The 6 half-day sessions are geared towards all practitioners who want to keep current in the practice of real estate law.

Today’s blog fills you in on what you can expect from this year’s 2016 Refresher program.

Keynote Address

Paul J. Unger shares technology and time management tips to help you better manage the distractions and competing priorities you face in your day-to-day real estate practice.

In his keynote address, you’ll discover valuable advice that you can implement immediately! You can read our blog about the tips Paul shared during our Time, Task, Email, and Document Management program this past October for a sneak preview of the type of practical advice that Paul has to offer.

Snapshot Sessions

New to the Refresher this year are LESA’s snapshot sessions – short TED-style talks that cover important snippets you should be aware of. Learn about protocol, trust cheques, and real property reports in Jason S. McCulloch’s 10–15 minute snapshot session talks.

Session Topics

You’ll explore a considerable amount of information during the program’s 6 half-day sessions.

Practice Pointers I
Chair: Mae Chow

Explore real estate tips for rural practitioners, review the title insurance claims process, and examine the current status of the law regarding adverse possession in Alberta.

Practice Pointers II
Chair: Shaun Partridge QC

Discover tips on managing client expectations and lawyer-to-lawyer relations. Also discuss factors affecting mortgages in the residential conveyance practice and upcoming changes to Land Titles Office procedures that will have you using a digital signature to complete transactions.

Chair: Ronald Sorokin

Review the Foreign Ownership of Land Regulation, explore the expropriation process, and learn about builders’ lien issues that affect commercial real estate.

Chair: Craig Hill

Gain insight into considerations when acting for a purchaser, explore the likely effects of the proposed Condominium Property Act, and review recent cases to learn what to do (or not do) in your own practice.

Chair: Murray Pritchard

Analyze GST requirements with a focus on how to best advise your clients, and discuss factors involved in farm property transactions.

View the brochure for program details, including a complete list of presenters and more information on the topics to be discussed.

Register Online

Don’t delay, until February 16 you can enjoy the special early bird registration rate! Register now to join us in spectacular Lake Louise for the 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate – where you’ll review common practice, gain insight on thorny issues, and discuss new methods in real estate transactions.

Alberta Land Titles Online

If you’re coming to Lake Louise for the 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate, why not also register for the add-on program: Alberta Land Titles Online?

Attending will allow you to gain insight into important changes coming to the land titles process – using a digital signature to complete transactions. You’ll discuss electronic signatures, collaborative real estate environments for completing documents using a virtual boardroom, and trust conditions. An interactive tutorial demonstrates what working with electronic signatures entails!

Read the blog with Curtis Woollard, from Land Titles North, to learn more about what you’ll gain from this add-on program and how the upcoming changes will affect your practice.

Register here for Alberta Land Titles Online in Lake Louise on April 23, 2016.

The Inside Scoop: First Steps in Starting an Appeal

 LESA Update  Comments Off on The Inside Scoop: First Steps in Starting an Appeal
Jan 292016

The Inside Scoop – First Steps in Starting an Appeal

A few weeks ago we announced that the Honourable J.E. CôtéLESA’s first Distinguished Adviser – would be sharing insights with you on our blog from his wealth of experience as a lawyer and justice on the Court of Appeal.

If you’ve been holding your breath, eagerly waiting to hear what he has to say, you can finally exhale, sit back, and enjoy a good read. Today’s LESA blog offers you his first inside scoop – on first steps in starting an appeal.

Happy reading!

If the need to bring a civil appeal to the Court of Appeal comes up suddenly, here’s a checklist for the early stages.

Initial Deadlines

  1. If some special statute applies – like the Divorce Act, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, or the Municipal Government Act – meet its deadlines.
  2. If permission to appeal from a judge is needed (see below), the written application for that must be filed within the time set for appealing. (A 2015 amendment no longer requires that applications be returnable within the time for appeal.)
  3. If a judge gives permission to appeal, the usual type of notice of appeal must be filed and served within 10 days after that permission.
  4. If no other statute or Rule says the contrary, the appeal must be filed and served within 1 month after the decision to appeal was pronounced, even orally. (The date of formal judgment or service is now irrelevant.)

Is Permission of a Judge Needed?

Usually permission to bring an appeal from a decision by a Queen’s Bench judge or jury is not needed.

However, permission to appeal is necessary in certain circumstances:

  • If some statute says so
  • From one justice of the Court of Appeal
  • From a Queen’s Bench judge hearing many types of appeal
  • To appeal from trial before the end of trial
  • For pre-trial decisions about time periods or adjournments
  • For consent orders or consent judgments
  • For a decision as to costs only
  • To appeal from a decision whose value is under $25,000
  • For an appeal about security for costs
  • For an appeal by a litigant declared vexatious

Address for Service

If your opponent had an address for service in Queen’s Bench proceedings, that address is presumed to continue for appeal purposes.

Later Deadlines

The appeal Rules give a number of deadlines for all later steps in the appeal. Those times are shorter than usual for a Fast Track Appeal (formerly called a Part J Appeal).

Fast Track Appeals come from several types of orders:

  • Orders that do not finally determine substantive rights (e.g. most interim orders, but not grants of summary judgment),
  • Orders involving children, or
  • Orders made in chambers about spousal support.

Additional Help

You can get free, helpful advice, including checklists and information on how to navigate the Court of Appeal’s website. Just contact one of the Court of Appeal’s two case management officers. They are experienced lawyers who can sometimes extend times or allow small variations from the Rules:

Honourable J.E. Côté
LESA Distinguished Adviser

If you are starting an appeal, hopefully you found today’s blog helpful!

If you want additional resources to help you navigate the appeal process, check out the materials and speaker presentations from two recent LESA programs now available as seminars on demandCourt of Appeal Practice and Court of Appeal Procedure for Legal Support Staff .

Good news for LESA Library subscriber! You already have access to the seminar papers for Court of Appeal Practice and Court of Appeal Procedure for Legal Support Staff. Just head to the LESA Library and start reading!

Alberta Land Titles Online

 LESA Update, Technology, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Alberta Land Titles Online
Jan 272016

Alberta Land Titles Online

Did you know that legislative changes were passed that allow for original electronic signatures to be used in land titles transactions?

We were excited to connect with Curtis Woollard, from Land Titles North, last week about an add-on program to our 49th Annual Refresher that focuses on how these legislation changes will affect your practice.

The upcoming Alberta Land Titles Online program fills you in on the changes that allow practitioners to execute real estate purchase/sale contracts and other related documents with an electronic signature.

Today’s blog shares Curtis’ insights about the changes and offers you a sneak peek at what you’ll gain from the Alberta Land Titles Online program. Since Curtis expects practitioners to be able to use electronic signatures this fall, these are important changes to be aware of!

Participate in this program to explore how the document exchange process will look, how real estate transactions will happen without physical documents, and how the changes affect trust conditions and undertakings.

Key Changes to Understand

As Curtis explained, there are 5 key changes real estate practitioners should be aware of.

  1. The original document IS the electronic signature version.
  2. The wet ink signature is a COPY.
  3. The land titles system is NOT changing liabilities for parties involved.
  4. WHAT you need to submit is not changing; HOW you need to submit it is.
  5. Physical proximity to a Land Titles Office will be IRRELEVANT.

Why Electronic Signatures?

When speaking with LESA, Curtis identified 2 main things that an electronic signature does. First, an electronic signature identifies the individual who actually signed the document. Second, an electronic signature indicates assent to or agreement with the contents of the document to which the electronic signature is applied. The digital signature has a huge advantage because its forensic identification components are much stronger than an ink signature’s.

For Curtis, starting to use digital signatures for land titles transactions is exciting because this technology could affect the practice of law in other areas as well. It may impact on not only solicitors’ work, but also on barristers’ work. Curtis described a future where litigators may use the digital signature for filing pleadings at court or lawyers may use it for authorizing transfer of funds. The affordances of this technology can help develop practical solutions and create a level playing field.

As Curtis explained, one of the aims of digital signature adoption is a reduction of document rejections; currently, about 20% of documents submitted to Land Titles are rejected. These rejections included administrative errors that currently result in delay, because the documents must be physically corrected and returned to a Land Titles Office. Using an electronic signature to submit documents online will eliminate or decrease this error rate with real–time responses for correction on the submissions end.

Alberta Land Titles Online Program Topics

This Alberta Land Titles Online program is targeted to all real estate practitioners. Discussion at the program centers on several key areas:

  • Adoption of best practices from other jurisdictions
  • Implications for trust conditions
  • Collaborative environments
  • Virtual boardrooms

Engage in topics on eSignatures, collaborative real estate environments, trust conditions, and land titles, and learn about Virtual Boardrooms with a hands-on, interactive tutorial that demonstrates what working with electronic signatures entails!

This new system will create an environment where the legal profession is fundamentally doing business differently. Lawyers are going to be signing things digitally all the time and in fact that will be the new normal.

This is real. This is happening.” Curtis Woollard.

Feel free to contact Curtis Woollard at 780.427.4641 to discuss electronic signatures in more detail.

Register Online

To learn more about the fundamental procedural shift from paper-based to electronic documents, head over to our website and register online to attend Alberta Land Titles Online in Lake Louise on April 23.

If you’re coming to Lake Louise for Alberta Land Titles Online, why not also register for the 49th Annual Refresher ? Get up-to-date in your field, while connecting with top practitioners. Even the most senior practitioners benefit from the 49th Annual Refresher’s 6 half-day sessions.

View the brochure for program details.

Deni Cashin – Feature Volunteer

 LESA Update, Volunteer Profile  Comments Off on Deni Cashin – Feature Volunteer
Jan 262016

Deni Cashin

The latest LESA brochures are hot off the press! If you haven’t already received them in the mail, they should be hitting your desk soon. Twice a year we take an opportunity to let everyone know who our awesome volunteers are: that’s why we just published our July – December 2015 Volunteer Appreciation brochure.

This brochure is just a small way of saying thanks for all you do. LESA couldn’t function without all of the dedicated volunteers who give of their time and talent, so here’s a huge shout out and thank you to each of you!

In each volunteer appreciation brochure, we also highlight a feature volunteer who offered LESA exceptional support over the past 6 months. Since we work with hundreds of volunteers, picking just one person to highlight is a challenge, but in this brochure we’re featuring Deni Cashin.

Deni has been a loyal LESA supporter for many years. Most recently, she chaired our Domestic Contracts program and taught in the face-to-face Interviewing and Advising CPLED module.

You’ll find our interview with Deni on the front page of the brochure, where you can read about what drew her to law, why she volunteers, and more. We had such a great interview that we couldn’t fit everything into the brochure. So you’ll find even more in today’s blog.

Happy reading, and thanks again to Deni Cashin and all of our incredible volunteers!

Tell me about your practice.

I practice family law … at Daunais McKay Harms + Jones. … I have been practicing with some of the people in our office for fourteen years. My pervious firm merged with part of this firm in 2010, so I’ve been very lucky that way – to practice with people I know well and think of very highly. I am a certified collaborative lawyer. Collaborative law is a very defined process, whereby clients sign a contract saying they will negotiation based on interests with their lawyers, but if negotiations break down and either client needs to go to court then both clients must get new lawyers. That is part of my practice. I also spend quite a bit of time on family law files that aren’t collaborative – in the big “C” sense that I just described. So I go to court as needed, or I go to mediation, or I go to arbitration. Like many family lawyers, ADR is something that we try to do as much as possible – that’s Alternative Dispute Resolution. But when that isn’t possible or when it breakdown, we will go to court. … I never find it boring, that’s for sure. But I’m glad that I don’t need to dabble in any area other than family law, because that’s really my area of interest and knowledge.”

What do you like best about your job? Or is it hard to narrow that down?

Well, they say in family law that when you finally conclude a matter the best you can hope for is for the parties to be equally unhappy. But when you are able to resolve difficult issues for a client and they are satisfied with the outcome, that’s hugely rewarding. … If parties are able to come to an agreement in mediation, that is ideal because a third party such as a judge or arbitrator hasn’t forced the terms of the agreement on them – they’ve been able to mediate it themselves – and that often creates better enforcement and implementation after the fact, because it was the parties choice. Sometimes the parties are in a process of mediation-arbitration. There are maybe one or two items that they haven’t been able to get agreement on, and the arbitrator can make that decision, having tried to help the parties throughout the mediation. That can be equally effective. And sometimes there are some files that just are not amenable to mediation-arbitration. For example, if one of the parties has a mental illness or an unwillingness to be reasonable, then it may be necessary to go to court. If you prepare your case well and have obtained in court what your client has requested, then that too can be rewarding. So it just all depends on the particular file; each one is so different.”

What books do you currently have on the go?

One of my favorites is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It’s thick, but it’s fantastic. Right now I’m in the middle of a book by Anita Diamant – The Boston Girl. It’s a good read. I’ve belonged to a book club in Calgary for 20 years. … Over those 20 years the members have all become really good friends.”