2016/2017 CPLED Program Registration Opens March 1

 CPLED, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on 2016/2017 CPLED Program Registration Opens March 1
Feb 242016



***Update: The 2016/2017 CPLED registration application deadline was May 31. Contact Ashley Iachetta if you have questions or need to apply. Late applications are subject to a non-refundable late fee of           $150 + GST. ***


Can you believe that the 2016/2017 CPLED Program is just around the corner? If time is flying by for you like it is flying by for us here at LESA, it’s hard to believe but 2016/2017 CPLED Program registration opens on March 1.

Register Online

If you’re a current 3rd year law student, recent graduate, or someone else who needs to take the Alberta bar admission program (the CPLED Program), mark March 1 on your calendar – 2016/2017 CPLED Program registration opens at noon.

The CPLED Program includes 7 online modules and 3 face-to-face sessions. Each face-to-face session is offered at 4 different times. Since session enrolment is limited and time preferences are granted on a first-come, first-served basis, students are encouraged to register early.

You can view the CPLED Program 2016/2017 Key Dates for details about when the face-to-face sessions and online modules are running.


Attending one of our two info sessions is a convenient way to learn more about what you can expect from the 2016/2017 CPLED Program. Info sessions are happening at the University of Alberta (February 23) and the University of Calgary (February 25).

You can also head to our CPLED for Students website, where you’ll find a short presentation on what to expect from the CPLED Program and other key information.

If  you have any additional questions about the CPLED Program or the registration process, contact LESA’s Student Coordinator – Ashley Iachetta (780.969.3557 or ashley.iachetta@lesa.org).

We’re looking forward to having you in the CPLED Program!

Sep 302015

One of our faithful CPLED supporters – Diana Mah – was recently appointed as a Judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta in the Family and Youth Division. Congratuations Judge Mah!

For the past several years, Judge Mah worked with LESA as a Learning Group Facilitator and Learning Group Evaluator. Her work supporting CPLED’s online modules was greatly appreciated, and we are sad to lose one of our incredible CPLED supporters. But CPLED’s loss is the Bench’s gain.

We wish her all the best as she enters this exciting new step of her career. Please join us in congratulating Judge Mah.

Reflections from our 2015 Law Summer Students

 CPLED, Law Students, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on Reflections from our 2015 Law Summer Students
Sep 022015

Over the past few months we’ve had two incredible law summer students working here at LESA! Allison Boutillier and Kristine Gu joined us back at the beginning of May, and we wanted to share what they learned while working at LESA and why they enjoyed spending the summer here.

What did you do here at LESA this summer and what did you most enjoy about your job?

Kristine and Allison both emphasized the researching, writing, and editing experience they gained – especially while working on the new wills & estates practice manuals that LESA is preparing. They also helped work on some of LESA’s online courses and the new LESA Library, in addition to writing several blogs. Want to see some of their work? Read their practice profile blogs with Marla Miller QC and Donna Tingley.

The rest of the LESA staff also had the opportunity to benefit from their knowledge during two LESA coffee talks: Allison spoke about intestacy and Kristine discussed copyright issues. Both of these presentations were interesting, informative, and greatly appreciated by the LESA staff!

I really enjoyed making that PowerPoint presentation [for the LESA coffee talk on intestacy]. I expanded into features of PowerPoint that I have never used before, [and it] is surprisingly fun to make everything on the screen move. Using the polling technology [the audience response units we use at LESA seminars] was really interesting to me. … [My presentation] was really based around user interaction and having the constant audience feedback – that was the driving force. … The talk was a bit of an opportunity to explore, especially in an area where we’ve worked … all summer, and then I could take it and do what I wanted to do with it.” Allison

The blog was one of the most interesting parts, especially the practice profile series … because it was interactive and it was interesting for us too – we got to talk to the lawyers in the community. …I also really enjoyed the [LESA Library]. It was something different – it wasn’t something you would really do in a law office. It was interesting browsing all the content, because it gave me a little bit of insight about what the website will look like. It was interesting watching the transition between [hardcopy] manuals and wiki, especially trying to match up the chapters. I think it’s good to be part of … LESA growing in the online world – to be able to be a part of that change. … I like how LESA’s moving that way, with the blog and Twitter and Facebook. It’s very rare to see organizations actually integrate so many platforms in the right way. I think a lot of organizations kind of separate their social media and aren’t able to align it, so for your blog you have Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all together – so that’s good. I enjoy technology stuff.” Kristine

What is one thing you learned about LESA that you think other people
should know?

The CPLED Program (pre-call training for Alberta lawyers) comprises a large part of what LESA does. Neither Kristine nor Allison worked on any CPLED materials while doing their editing, researching, and writing this summer, but CPLED will be a part of their not-so-distant future, so it’s not surprising that they were interested in how the program works and in the faces behind it – those people who keep the CPLED Program running smoothly.

For both of them, one of the biggest things they learned was how much support LESA offers to CPLED students.

LESA’s not out to get people. … Everyone is so supportive. They take each student very seriously, and it’s not as if a student is just a number … If there’s an issue, they’ll try to work with you.” Kristine

I don’t know if you guys appreciate how much it’s sort of like looking behind the curtain. … [Those] students who are trying to get through CPLED don’t get to see that you call Ashley, who is so kind and will actually care. That’s what people should know – the person who does a great deal of the work on CPLED is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet, and I think that would help students to know that they can call Ashley.” Allison

Kristine was also impressed by the work that LESA is doing to reach out to students who are still in law school. “Another thing I learned about LESA … [is that they’re] really trying to interact with students … [by] increasing their presence with more student-oriented blogs and things like that.”

Thinking down the road to your future as a lawyer, how do you think that working at LESA helped build the skills that you will need to do that job well?

I think at LESA we were lucky because we were able to do some legal research related things – things that a law student would have done at a law firm. But like I said at the beginning of the summer – and I think it showed itself through the people – we were able to develop those skills in a very friendly and welcoming environment. Karen was very supportive. … We did some things that we weren’t sure if we were qualified to do, and I think that was a really big learning experience filling that gap by myself. But then Karen was very supportive. She never made us feel bad about what we weren’t doing properly. She walked us through it. In terms of skills, I think it gave me the confidence to take some risks. In terms of researching things I wasn’t familiar with – I’ve never taken a wills and estates class before – I walked in I was like, “Oh man, I’m not sure if I’m able to do this.” But I came to realize that you can start from nothing and work from there. School isn’t the only place you can learn. So being resourceful [is important]: being able to walk away with something and work on in it for a bit – even if you’re not right, just putting the effort in and learning about it – and then being able to confidently ask for feedback.” Kristine

We did a lot of work on the practice manuals, … and it was an opportunity to go through some of the materials that are more practical. What we do in class is comparatively theoretical, and here we’re going through a manual that’s targeted at lawyers for development purposes that focuses on which form to fill out and things that aren’t going to get covered in a theoretical course. So personally, and very selfishly, I’ve had the opportunity to just learn things, because going through and editing the manuals means reading them. Or … looking through some of the manuals to see what would work well as an online course meant I literally sat down and read some of the binders. … So I just got to sit there and read it and learn things that are very practical. I think that exposure helps a lot. I have a little toe in the door of all the things that we’re going to see right away outside of law school but that we’re not getting as much exposure to in law school.” Allison

We’re so glad that Kristine and Allison learned a lot from working here at LESA, and we’re grateful for all the help they gave us this summer. We hope they’ll be able to share more of their insights with all us during this upcoming year as guest bloggers, so stay tuned to hear more from them throughout the year. If you want, you can even follow the blog by entering your email at the top, right hand side of this page – that way you’ll be sure to see their blogs when they are posted.

September 2015: Upcoming Legal Events

 Calgary, CPLED, Edmonton, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on September 2015: Upcoming Legal Events
Aug 312015

September Events

September is full of exciting upcoming legal events here at LESA and elsewhere in the legal community. Read today’s blog to find out what you need to mark on your calendar.


September Programs

Technology Contracts helps you learn how to analyze drafting pitfalls, solutions, and best practices.
Read the blog with seminar chair Jim Swanson to learn why you should attend, or register online now to attend in Edmonton (September 15) or Calgary (September 22).

Gain the Edge! Negotiation Strategies for Lawyers teaches you how to approach negotiations strategically, making you a more effective negotiator.
Read the blog with presenter Marty Latz to learn more about what you’ll gain, or register online now to attend in Calgary (September 17) or Edmonton (September 18).

All That Touches Family Law investigates intersections between family law and other areas, including agriculture, bankruptcy, immigration, and corporate topics.
Read the blog with seminar chair Hugh Willis to find out what practical advice and resources you’ll takeaway from this the seminar, or register online now to attend in Red Deer (September 18).

Interest Based Negotiations demonstrates what principled negotiation is and how it differs from adversarial negotiation. This course is recognized by the collaborative law associations in Alberta.
While the course is currently full, you can register online to add yourself to the waitlist in Edmonton (September 24–27).

Estate Accounting covers important estate accounting concepts – formal and informal accounting, review, passing of accounts, and more. It also discusses accounting guidelines, reviews recent cases, and illuminates court processes.
Read the blog with seminar chair Shelly Chamaschuk to discover what you’ll gain, or register online now to attend in Calgary (September 29) or Edmonton (October 1).


Early Bird Registration Deadlines

We have several early bird registration deadlines coming up this month. Don’t delay – register today to take advantage of these savings.


ENDING September 1

Microsoft Outlook for Legal Users demonstrates tips and tricks for getting the most out of various Outlook applications – calendar, contacts, mail, and tasks.
Read the blog with tech guru Paul Unger for some FREE tips and to learn more about what you’ll gain from this program. Register online now to attend in Edmonton (October 6) or Calgary (October 7).

Time, Task, Email, and Document Management shows you how to manage distractions and use technology to develop more efficient processes and workflows.
Read the blog with seminar presenter Paul Unger for some FREE tips and to discover why you’ll want to attend. Register online now to attend in Edmonton (October 6) or Calgary (October 7).

Professional Productivity for Legal Support Staff teaches you how to become more efficient and effective at managing the continuous flow of work you encounter in your job by helping you learn how to make decisions about goals and priorities.
Read the blog with presenter Gillian Rasmussen to find out what this program has to offer, or register online to attend in Edmonton (October 7) or Calgary (October 21).

Court of Appeal Practice offers insight from the bench and experienced practitioners on common Court of Appeal topics, including factums, appeals, appeal records, effective arguments, and more.
Read the blog with seminar chair Honourable J.E.L Côté to learn about the practical advice you’ll gain from this course, or register online to attend in Edmonton (October 8) or Calgary (October 14).


ENDING September 22

Constitutional Law Symposium provides an update and analysis of recent Supreme Court of Canada constitutional decisions, emerging trends, and helpful litigation strategies.
Watch for more details to be released on the blog shortly, or read the program brochure to learn more. Register online to attend in Edmonton (October 23).

Top Wills & Estates Law Cases shares insights into leading cases in estate planning, including those dealing with costs, claims, tax issues, the Wills and Succession Act, enduring powers of attorney, and more.
You’ll find more details on the blog soon, but for now you can read about the topics in the program brochure. Register online to attend in Edmonton (October 27) or Calgary (November 3).

Domestic Contracts discusses how to negotiate, draft, and challenge domestic contracts.
Keep an eye on our blog for more information coming soon; to find out more about the topics covered, read the program brochure. Register online to attend in Edmonton (October 28) or Calgary (November 4).



We kicked off the 2015/2016 CPLED year with the Oral Advocacy face-to-face module in Calgary last week. Here’s a look at the modules being offered in September:

Oral Advocacy face-to-face module runs in Edmonton from September 1 until September 3.

Legal Research & Writing online module opens on September 3 and concludes on September 24.

Interviewing and Advising face-to-face module runs during the week of September 28. In Edmonton it takes place September 28 – September 30, and in Calgary it runs September 30 – October 2.

If you have any questions about the modules you are scheduled to take, contact LESA’s Student Coordinator Ashley Iachetta at 780.969.3557 or ashley.iachetta@lesa.org.


Events in the Legal Community

September is a busy month that connects the legal community to exciting events and initiatives outside of LESA. Here’s a look at some of them:


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

2015/2016 CPLED Alberta Student Guide

 CPLED, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on 2015/2016 CPLED Alberta Student Guide
Jul 222015


If you’re starting your articles and the CPLED Program this year, you’re probably wondering what the CPLED Program is all about and what to expect when the program’s modules start in the next month or so.

LESA’s blog is a great place to come for information. (You can subscribe to follow it on the right side bar at the top of this page!) Last month, one of LESA’s summer students – Allison Boutillier – wrote a blog explaining the Law Society of Alberta’s recent changes to the Articling Student Education Plan. In today’s blog, LESA’s Student CoordinatorAshley Iachetta – shares some information about the CPLED Program.

You can also check out the 2015/2016 CPLED Alberta Student Guide to find answer all your CPLED Program questions.

Program Overview

Students seeking admission to the Alberta Bar must successfully complete the CPLED Program. Along with the experience of articling, the CPLED Program is intended to help students develop the competencies required of an entry-level lawyer and to ensure that students can demonstrate these competencies before being admitted to the practice of law.

The CPLED Program requires the successful completion of 3 face-to-face sessions, 7 online modules, and a Trust Accounting Fundamentals online self-study course.

All face-to-face sessions are 3 days long, except for Negotiations & Practice Fundamentals, which is 4 days.

All online modules, except Ethics & Professionalism, run over the course of 3 weeks. Students submit weekly assignments (which are voluntary but highly recommended!) and then learning group facilitators (LGFs) provide feedback on student submissions. These weekly assignments, along with background readings and learning exercises, help students prepare for their competency evaluations.

Online competency evaluations may consist of written submissions or may be invigilated (supervised) examinations. Face-to-face competency evaluations are – you guessed it – in-person, hands-on activities completed to demonstrate competency in the particular module’s skills, such as interviewing a client (played by an actor).

Applying to the CPLED Program

Before you can be admitted to the CPLED Program, LESA must receive 4 things:

  1. A completed Application for Admission to the CPLED Program. If you haven’t already submitted your application, email Ashley (ashley.iachetta@lesa.org) as soon as possible and be prepared to pay the non-refundable late fee ($150 + GST).
  2.  A signed CPLED Program Agreement, found here.
  3. Payment of tuition. (You should have received an email with an invoice and payment details. Note that the Law Society of Alberta sets the tuition for the CPLED program, typically in April.)
  4. Confirmation of student-at-law status (or conditional student status), which LESA receives from the Law Society of Alberta.
Student-at-Law Status

The Law Society of Alberta administers the rules, regulations, and procedures for students-at-law and principals. To article in Alberta, you must seek admission to the Law Society of Alberta as a student-at-law. This is a separate requirement from the requirement to register for the CPLED Program. Questions regarding admission as a student-at-law should be directed to the Membership Services department at the Law Society of Alberta.

Applicants can apply to the CPLED Program before being admitted as a student-at-law. Before commencing the CPLED Program, however, an applicant must have student-at-law (or comparable) status with either the Law Society of Alberta or the Law Society of the Northwest Territories.

Program Requirements

Successful completion of the CPLED Program requires the following:

  1. Attendance, participation, and professional behaviour.
  2. Completion of all mandatory assignments, competency evaluations, and examinations with professional and academic integrity.
  3. A grade of “competency demonstrated” (CD) in all mandatory assignments, competency evaluations, and examinations.

Over the course of the CPLED Program, a student completes 10 competency evaluations. Students must achieve a grade of CD in all 10.

Grading scale

A grade of CD means that the student successfully completed that module of the CPLED Program. A grade of “competency not yet demonstrated” (CNYD) means that the student was not successful in completing that module. If a student receives a grade of CNYD in up to three modules, those modules may be repeated during the Reserve Period.

Reserve Period

Supplemental competency evaluations are scheduled during the Reserve Period, which runs March 31, 2016 to June 23, 2016. At this time, students who received a grade of CNYD (in up to three modules) complete a supplemental competency evaluation for each module, in order to complete the CPLED Program requirement of earning a grade of CD in all 10 modules. Applicants whose entry into the CPLED Program was delayed also complete missed modules during this period.

Special circumstances

In some cases, students may have individual needs that necessitate an accommodation, an excused absence, a deferral, a scheduling change, or a withdrawal from the CPLED Program. More information about these options can be found here on our website.
If you have any other questions about the CPLED Program, check out the 2015/2016 CPLED Alberta Student Guide. The Student Guide covers the key information you need to know; however, if you still have questions, please email Ashley for clarification.

Best of luck to everyone during their articling and CPLED year!

Do You Know Bronwyn Connolly?

 CPLED, Staff Feature  Comments Off on Do You Know Bronwyn Connolly?
Jul 202015

BronwynBronwyn Connolly is one of LESA’s valued Education Coordinators. Her bubbly laugh came out a lot when we sat down to talk last week, and her laugh, hard work ethic, and willingness to chip in wherever she’s needed are much appreciated around the LESA office.

If you’re a part of the CPLED Program – whether as a student, facilitator, or evaluator – you’ve probably been on the receiving end of all her hard work. Since we know students appreciate receiving their grades and online LGFs/LGEs appreciate being paid, we thought you might like to learn a bit more about who’s behind making those things happen.

Bronwyn is one of those instrumental people here at LESA. But did you know that she color coordinates her closet based on season? Because, as she puts it, “Why would I want to look through my long sleeved shirts when it’s summer?” Or did you know that that she is freaked out by centipedes? Keep reading to find out more about what Bronwyn does here at LESA and what she spends her time doing outside of the office.

What do you do at LESA?
I deal primarily with CPLED: I look after the facilitators and evaluators for the online portion as well as materials for the upcoming year. … [I also] deal with grades processing and those kinds of things.

And what do you do with the LGFs/LGEs?
I recruit them, make their contracts, and make their schedules. I’m their support and contact throughout the year. … I do their invoicing, I follow up with them and make sure they are following deadlines, and I do their conference calls. … [I] support them in all areas, basically.

What’s your favorite part of the job?
I really like interacting with the LGFs and LGEs. They are all really amazing people and are really supportive and encouraging. They work really hard and take what they do very seriously, so it is very nice to work with them and have those interactions.

Tell us about you background before you came to LESA.
I have a Bachelor of Arts in English. I worked for an insurance company for a year in customer support, and then I worked at Concordia University Edmonton for a year doing transcripts and then as a Student Advisor. Then I worked for a couple months as a show home hostess.

What makes LESA an interesting place to work?
Well no day is ever the same. Between students and LGFs and all that comes with CPLED – no day is ever dull!

What do you do for fun?
I play soccer, I like cycling, I like baking – although it’s too hot for that right now. And I like going camping and skiing (in the winter). I just like being outside. It’s just nice.

What is your favorite book/author and what are you reading right now?
My favorite book is Jane Eyre. My favorite authors are Jane Austen and Charles Dickens – which is ironic because they [didn’t write] my favourite book. Right now I’m reading the Rosie Effect.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The atmosphere in our office is pretty great. It’s a really good group of people all working together towards the same goal. And we all get along really well, which is nice.

So for those inquiring minds who wonder about the people working at LESA, you now know a little more about LESA’s own Bronwyn Connolly. And as long as no centipedes get onto her desk, she’ll be working hard to help make your interactions with LESA and your experience with CPLED as enjoyable as possible!

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

2015/2016 CPLED Opportunities

 CPLED, LESA Update  Comments Off on 2015/2016 CPLED Opportunities
May 132015

cpled-logo2010-new***Update: Alberta lawyers interested in serving as LGFs/LGEs for CPLED Program online modules should complete the 2015/2016 LGF/LGE Application Form and return it to Bronwyn Connolly (bronwyn.connolly@lesa.org)


Each year, LESA partners with many experienced legal professionals to put on Alberta’s bar admission CPLED Program.

We’re still taking applications for the 2015/2016 CPLED year, and already we’ve had more than 360 students apply. As you can imagine, having this many students means we need a lot of support from the legal community.

One goal of the CPLED Program is to help students develop entry-level lawyer competencies. As such, LESA recruits facilitators, who provide feedback to students in preparation for their competency evaluation, and evaluators, who grade these final submissions.

This desire to help new, aspiring lawyers develop their competencies is one reason why more seasoned lawyers choose to be a part of the program.

I think that it’s important to keep up the high standards that have been set for the profession and for people who are aspiring to go into the profession. … We always say it’s an honourable calling. …  So there’s mentoring involved, and I think there’s a little bit of gatekeeping involved. I just care enough about this profession that this is one of the ways that I choose to give back.”

Diana Mah, Youth Criminal Defense Office

LESA recruits facilitators and evaluators for both the 7 online modules and the 3 face-to-face sessions that comprise the CPLED program (see the 2015/2016 Key Dates).

Online Modules

During each 3 week module, Learning Group Facilitators (LGFs) monitor the progress of their learning group (usually 18–20 students) and interact with students through an online learning management platform. LGFs prepare for each module, facilitate online discussions, respond to student questions, review weekly student submissions, and provide feedback. While the module is open, LGFs commit about 10-20 hours a week to CPLED, including time spent providing feedback on assignments.

Learning Group Evaluators (LGEs) grade approximately 30–40 competency evaluations (final submissions). LGE duties conclude approximately 2 weeks after a module closes.

Both LGFs and LGEs are provided with mandatory training, to explain the duties and expectations of their roles. Additional module-specific LGF training occurs about a week before each module opens.

Here’s what one LGF/LGE had to say about her experience.

I enjoy volunteering with the CPLED program because we only get a student doing a rotation through my office every few years. Volunteering permits me to stay connected to those entering the profession. It’s a great opportunity to share my experience with new lawyers.”

If you’re interested in working with the CPLED Program’s online modules, please contact Bronwyn Connolly (bronwyn.connolly@lesa.org) for an application. Applications are due June 30, 2015.

Face-to-Face Sessions

Each face-to-face session runs over 3 or 4 days in Edmonton and Calgary, with individual volunteers usually committing one day of their time to the CPLED Program. Facilitators help guide discussion and answer questions on teaching and learning exercise days, and evaluators grade final assessments on competency evaluation days.

LESA provides training materials and a pre-session conference call to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

As this face-to-face volunteer explains, participating in the CPLED Program benefits everyone involved.

Volunteering at CPLED provides me the opportunity to learn from the students, as well as share with them the experiences I have had. … The process of teaching actually … sharpens [my] skills. … Students often have unique perceptions and their questions cause me to reconsider the theory as it applies to the practical reality of practicing family law.”

Brad Mustard, Moe Hannah LLP

Contact Janette Sztym (janette.sztym@lesa.org) if you’d like more information or to submit your name for consideration as a face-to-face volunteer.

Why Volunteer?

Everyone we spoke to for this blog was motivated to participate in the CPLED Program by a desire to give back to the legal community.

It was important for me to instill to younger members of the bar that they belonged to a membership that was supportive of them and that they had a lot of responsibilities to that group of people. … I think that in the last few years I’ve been able to do that, especially to people who are so scared of what’s going to happen to them in the future. It was important to me to let them know that, ‘Look around you, there’s all these people that are in practice and that have busy, busy lives, and they’re here on a volunteer basis to help you because we think that you’re important.’ … [Volunteering] makes me feel like part of a community of lawyers, and it’s something that gives back. … I think that giving to this community is a big part of what being a lawyer is about.”

Neena Ahluwalia QC, Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta

While these altruistic motivations provide one good reason for working with the CPLED Program, participating also personally benefits those who give up their time and efforts for the good of the community.

The CPLED Program allows you to be in an environment where you can enhance your public speaking and your teaching abilities, as well as access resources to keep you up-to-date with the new developments within the law, both in practice and theory. The networks that you build are great sources of collegiality and future opportunities.”

Arman Chak, ForensicLaw

If you’re interested in joining your colleagues to support CPLED Program this year, please be in touch. We won’t know how many positions we’ll need to fill until student registration numbers are finalized, but we appreciate everyone who is willing to support the Program, and we look forward to working with all of our facilitators and evaluators in 2015/2016.

May 2015: Upcoming Legal Events

 CPLED, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on May 2015: Upcoming Legal Events
May 042015

Wall Calendar

Mark your calendars. Today’s blog lets you know what’s happening this month at LESA and in the wider legal community.

LESA Dates

May is a busy month at LESA, with 6 continuing legal education seminars:

31The CPLED registration deadline is May 31. Late applications are subject to a non-refundable late filing fee. Contact Ashley Iachetta for a registration application.


Legal Community Events

8The Beaux’ Stratagem by Players de Novo
Surrogate Practice and Procedure Meeting (Edmonton)


11Surrogate Practice and Procedure Meeting (Calgary)
Application deadline for Field Law’s Community Fund Program

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