Want PCLaw® Tips? Get our Seminars on Demand!

 LESA Update, News, Seminars On Demand, Technology  Comments Off on Want PCLaw® Tips? Get our Seminars on Demand!
Mar 022016

Check out LESA's PCLaw seminars on demand!

Does your office use PCLaw® software? Do get frustrated trying to make the program do what you want? Do you want advice on how to use PCLaw® more effectively?

If so, check out LESA’s recently avaliable seminars on demand. You’ll discover tips and tricks from experienced presenter Steven J. Best that help you get the most out of the software, customizing it to meet your needs.

PCLaw® Basics

Watch this short trailer for a sneak preview of what you’ll gain from this seminar on demand. PCLaw® Basics topics include system and workstation settings, time entry, expense entry, special fees, accounts payable, and basic billing.

With all of the advice offered in this program, there’s so much to gain. Here’s what some live attendees found most beneficial about the program:

All was useful and beneficial”
“In depth discussion on the capabilities of the program”
“Learning tips and tricks to make the use of PCLaw more efficient”

PCLaw® Beyond the Basics

Discover what this program has to offer, and preview some of the tips and tricks you’ll gain in this introductory video. You’ll dive into more in-depth topics in PCLaw® Beyond the Basics, reviewing various billing scenarios, applying trust accounting rules, editing templates, and more.

What did live attendees find most beneficial about the seminar? Here’s what a few people had to say:

Practical tips for using PCLaw”
“The seminar expanded my knowledge of PCLaw which allows me to use the program to its full potential in every day use”
“Direct exposure to the program and the presenter’s specific tips/comments on useful settings.”

Get it Now!

If you want more tips like those shared in these two introductory videos, you can register online for PCLaw® Basics or PCLaw® Beyond the Basics.

But wait … if you’re an E-Letter subscriber, don’t sign up yet. Wait until tomorrow (Thursday, March 3) when we’re sending out a special registration offer for these seminars on demand. The offer is only being sent to our E-Letter subscribers, so if you’re not a subscriber yet, sign up now for the LESA E-Letter!

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 title 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.

Do Process – Law and Practice Update Platinum Sponsor

 Calgary, Technology, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Do Process – Law and Practice Update Platinum Sponsor
Nov 032014

DP BurstUPDATE: This seminar occurred in the past, and the seminar materials are now available. You can use the LESA Library to access course materials or purchase course materials a la carte. Alternatively, you can view the complete list of upcoming seminars to discover live programs that are available now.

This Friday and Saturday LESA is hosting the 4th Annual Law and Practice Update for solo and small firm practitioners (November 7 & 8 in Calgary). At the seminar you’ll benefit from 12 sessions discussing topics in all practice areas, and you’ll have opportunities to visit the exhibition booths of our seminar sponsors.

Do Process, a Law and Practice Update platinum sponsor, will be one of the seminar’s exciting exhibitors.

Every year Do Process software helps legal professionals across Canada complete over 1 million transactions quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. This year Do Process is celebrating 25 years of serving the legal community, and they attribute this success to their ongoing partnership with legal professionals. They use customer feedback to shape their products and services and work collaboratively with industry leaders to offer integrated solutions in title insurance, mortgage instructing, and accounting services, creating additional value for busy law office practitioners.

Do Process offers practice software specific for real estate professionals. While you’re at the seminar, take an opportunity to ask them how you can get The Conveyancer to support your real estate practice absolutely FREE for the remainder of the year!

Do Process wants to thank its customers, partners, and the legal community for 25 great years by inviting everyone at the Law and Practice Update to join in the celebration! Visit the Do Process exhibitor booth for some special treats, giveaways, and your chance to win 1 of 2 $100 gift certificates to The Keg Steakhouse.

Time is running out and space is limited, but you still have a chance to register for the Law and Practice Update. Register online now.Do_Process_Final_white space_anniversary

Stewart Title – Law and Practice Update Silver Sponsor

 Calgary, Technology, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Stewart Title – Law and Practice Update Silver Sponsor
Oct 292014


UPDATE: This seminar occurred in the past, and the seminar materials are now available. You can use the LESA Library to access course materials or purchase course materials a la carte. Alternatively, you can view the complete list of upcoming seminars to discover live programs that are available now.

LESA’s 4th annual Law and Practice Update is just a week away (November 7 & 8 in Calgary). At this seminar you’ll hear great speakers, take away important information, and have a chance to interact with the seminar sponsors in the exhibition hall.

Stewart Title Guaranty Company, a Law and Practice Update silver sponsor, will be one of the seminar’s exciting exhibitors.

Stewart Title Guaranty Company is a leader in the Canadian title insurance industry and helps legal professionals increase efficiency and decrease costs by offering innovative technology systems and value-added title insurance projects that enhance the real estate process.

Take an opportunity to stop by their exhibitor booth where Stewart Title representatives will be discussing mortgage fraud and the role that title insurance and legal professionals play in identifying and preventing it. You’ll also have a chance to ask about StewartPROTECT, which provides additional protection against lawyer and notary negligence in real estate transactions, and Stewart Assyst Real Estate, an online mortgage processing application that enables lawyers and notaries to electronically exchange instructing, reporting, and mortgage data with top Canadian lenders.

There are still some seats available at the Law and Practice Update. Register online today to secure your spot.

Econveyance – Law and Practice Update Gold Sponsor

 Calgary, Technology, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Econveyance – Law and Practice Update Gold Sponsor
Oct 232014

econveyance_stacked_cmyk_Preferred - Full Colour

UPDATE: This seminar occurred in the past, and the seminar materials are now available. You can use the LESA Library to access course materials or purchase course materials a la carte. Alternatively, you can view the complete list of upcoming seminars to discover live programs that are available now.

LESA’s Law and Practice Update for solo and small firm practitioners is fast approaching (November 7 & 8 in Calgary). This seminar will not only provide you with over 12 hours of practical information in all major practice areas of the law but will also give you the chance to meet with our seminar sponsors.

Econveyance, a Law and Practice Update gold sponsor, will be one of the seminar’s exciting exhibitors.

Econveyance offers a web-based collaborative system to help reduce data entry duplication and increase productivity. They offer a complete conveyance document preparation solution with access to various land and mortgage documents and a full integration with SPIN.

One of their exciting new features is the Client Information Form, which allows you to collect a client’s personal information. Once completed and returned, you can import the form directly into your file.

Make sure you check out econveyance’s exhibitor booth. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have about their conveyancing platform. Plus they’ll have some great giveaways and the chance to win a $150 econveyance gift card.

If you haven’t yet registered for the Law and Practice Update, don’t delay: register online today.

Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 9

 Resource, Technology  Comments Off on Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 9
Oct 192011

Editor’s Note: This post will conclude our series on the Virtual Law Office. Over the last 8 posts, we have taken you through the initial concept, start-up needs, benefits, and areas of opportunity while working with a Virtual Law Office. Linda L. Long Q.C. and her team have shared their personal experiences and testimonials, providing you with various perspectives. Our next and final testimonial comes from Casey MacDonald – the tech guru – who made this all possible from the technical side. Enjoy!

“When Linda approached me with the concept of a virtual law office and what that might look like I was excited with the thought of how this might come together (from a technical perspective).  At the time when there weren’t many solutions being offered the key was to find the right one that would be the most cost effective and scalable.  Our voyage of discovery made us realize that the end solution was as simple as 1,2,3!

Challenge/Scope: We needed the ability and capacity to have a hosted virtual environment for clients to use that was easy to use and manage.  One that would offer real-time access to file & print capabilities (inside the physical office) as well as maintain a secure 24 hour remote connection.

After doing research on how we could take advantage of enterprise technology but not pay for overpriced solutions we landed in the open source arena.  For those not familiar with open source it basically means that the software is free to use.  That is correct FREE.  What the open source model basically embodies is that if you require support for a product you would then pay for services on that product.  That’s it in a nutshell.

Solution: Linux is a open source solution operating system that is used all over the world. It has a very strong following in Europe and has over the years gained a solid footing here in North America (As an alternative to Windows).  Linux has the ability to maximize the hardware that it runs on.  It takes very little memory and can run on just about anything! There are many different “flavors” of Linux.

1) We landed on SUSE Linux as a flavor that we would use to provide the foundation of our virtual hosted environment.

Once that decision was made we could then focus on the next hurdle which was what software we were going to use to manage the hosts (virtual PC’s).  At the time there were only a few choices.

2) The one we decided on is probably now the most popular choice of today’s market, VMWare.  This technology is proven and has a large following so from a perspective of support there were many repositories of information available on the web from which to search and develop strategies upon.

The next piece on the list was how to get a secure connection into the office.  Secure Shell or SSH is a network protocol that allows data to be exchanged using a secure channel between two networked devices.  This was a perfect solution to get remote hosts into the law office.

3) The application that we used to take advantage of SSH is called “Putty”.  Again another open source solution that is free to use.  I’ll say it again … Free.

Finally came getting Marc ready for the virtual world.  We leveraged all the pieces listed above and he was able to remote in and have full access to email, file & print, legal software, instant messenger, etc. This solution provided the means for Marc to commute 400 plus km in a matter of seconds.  From my perspective Marc was a fantastic client to work with. Our support conversations were mostly done via email but on the occasion we chatted on the phone.  He was friendly and open minded.  Essentially he was the quintessential candidate to work with in a remote manner.

That is essentially it. The above is a high-level look at what we did and there were a lot of lessons learned throughout the projects life cycle but for the most part it was a turnkey solution that was a huge success. I was very fortunate to be a part of this project but the true key to its success was Linda’s fortitude relative to wanting to make a change that could help bridge those physical gaps in the legal community using technology.  Without her leadership in this project it certainly would not have been a success.  Cheers to you Linda!

We hope this has been a beneficial read for you. Should you have a law related article that you would like to share, please contact our office by emailing lesa@lesa.org or by calling 780.420.1987.

Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 8

 Resource, Technology  Comments Off on Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 8
Oct 182011

A few words from Marc Delacruz on the mentoring relationship he entered into with Linda L. Long Q.C.:

How did the virtual law office benefit the relationship from both the mentor’s and mentoree’s perspective?

I think Linda’s previous blog post did a great job of explaining my background and what kind of previous legal experience I had under my belt before I decided to go solo.  It was scary thinking about how I was going to start a solo practice, when I had known nothing outside of lawyering within a large firm.

There are lots of odds and ends that a sole practitioner has to worry about that don’t come up in the daily routine of a big firm lawyer.  Things like arranging for mail delivery, deciding on a telephone and computer system, and designing business cards and letterhead are topics that weren’t covered in law school.  They were already set up and established at my old firm.  I, on the other hand, was starting from scratch.

The one piece of advice that I kept reading over and over in numerous “How to” manuals on building a solo practice was to find a mentor who could show me the ropes.  Luckily for me, I attended a LESA conference for solo and small firm practitioners.  There, I met Linda, who graciously offered me a tour of her office when the conference was over.  Our discussions eventually moved towards establishing a more formal mentoring relationship, which was exactly what I needed.

The mentoring experience was made even better by the fact that Linda had a virtual law office in place.  I knew that I could phone or email Linda and the office staff.  I could also go and visit them in person by taking the 8-hour drive (round trip) to Edmonton.  However, the virtual connection made it possible for me to also send messages on their intra-office instant messenger program for even faster responses, and have access to their computer database.

Access to the precedents folder at Linda’s office was incredibly helpful to me.  It reassured me that whenever I had a question about some random document I needed, that there was a good chance that there was already a precedent for it.  Everything from a template Statement of Claim for Divorce and Division of Matrimonial Property (remember, the new Queen’s Bench fill-in-the-blank forms weren’t out yet), to an office policy manual, to pre-made charts for tracking postage.

When you’re just starting out as a sole practitioner with minimal time at the Bar, it can feel like you are at ground zero.  Although you will draw on your articling and associate experience at your previous firm, you quickly realize that in a lot of cases, you will have no clue where to begin.  For me, I knew that I had access to Linda’s office staff, the precedents folder, and my regularly scheduled mentor teleconferences.  These lifelines made it possible for me to build my practice with more confidence.

Is there an experience working within the Virtual Law Office that is particularly memorable for you?

There were a number of important experiences over the 2 years that I had my formal mentoring relationship with Linda.  One of the more memorable experiences within the virtual law office setting itself was working with Des Birch, Linda’s office manager, to run through the steps to creating a client bill and paying for the fees by trust transfer from the clients’ retainers.  It was the first time that Delacruz Law Office had billed its clients and been paid for its legal services!  Using the virtual connection, Des walked me through each of the template forms that she used when doing the monthly bills, and helped me complete mine.   Although I could have learned on my own about how to send bills and pay myself, being able to ask an experienced office manager how to do things saved me from a lot of headaches.

Linda is a lawyer who enjoys teaching others.  She was incredibly patient with me and answered all of my numerous rookie questions.  Surprisingly enough, most of the questions I had were not even related to family law, but rather were about the practice of law.  How do I decide on office furniture?  What should I say to prospective clients?  How can I tell a good potential client from a bad one?

I am thankful that I found such a wonderful mentor.  I can’t wait for the day that I can return the favor, or “pay it forward” to another junior lawyer setting up his or her own solo practice!

Stay tuned for the final part of the Virtual Law Office series, Part 9: The Technical Perspective

Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 7

 Resource, Technology  Comments Off on Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 7
Oct 172011

The VLO from the perspective of the Long Family Law Group’s Junior Associate, Jasmine S. Chu:

“I never imagined that a small firm would be big on technology… until I joined Long Family Law Group as a junior associate this fall.  Having only been here a few weeks, I can already say that being part of this Virtual Law Office (VLO)  is one of the perks of this job.

Casey, our I.T. guy, set up my computer, set up remote access, and has been able to fix computer issues without even coming into the office.  I have yet to put a face to the name.  I anticipate that as my practice grows and I get busier, I will only come to love the VLO more.  Access to email anytime, anywhere, has been great.  At the end of a long weekend, as I am getting ready for bed, I find myself wondering what will be waiting for me in my email inbox when I arrive at the office the next morning, or I may ask myself if I ever did add that clause to that document I was working on Friday afternoon.  All I have to do is log on remotely and do a quick check.

The firm that I was previously at did not have remote access.  When I was out of the country, I set an out-of-office auto-reply stating that I would be without any access to email during that time.  I asked staff to check my emails and contact me at my personal email address or at the emergency phone number I provided.  I was certainly apprehensive about being entirely unavailable to my clients but there was nothing I could do about it.  There was also an instance where I caught the 24-hour stomach flu and had a deadline to make for the next day.  Since the file was at work and the draft document on my work computer, I ended up going in to the office after-hours when I was feeling slightly better.

At Long Family Law Group, we keep electronic files that mirror our hard files.  I know that if I catch the 24-hour stomach flu again, I can make a deadline, since I can access everything I need from the comfort of home.  When I am away from the office, staff can stay in touch with me by Spark – our inter-office instant messaging program.  There is no longer a need for an out-of-office auto-reply to emails.  In family law, where a client’s situation can change at the drop of a hat, the last thing that client needs is an auto-reply email that I am away and without access to email.  The client comes first, and he or she needs to know that I am available, no matter where I am.  I may be slower to respond while I am out of the office, but the client can be assured that after time away from the office, I am still up to speed on the latest developments.”

Stayed tuned for Part 8: The Mentor/Mentoree Relationship

Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 6

 Resource, Technology  Comments Off on Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 6
Oct 132011

The Virtual Law Office from the perspective of the Office Manager, Desiree Birch:

“I have been with Long Family Law Group (LFLG) since December of 2006 in the role of Office Manager.

Our system is very simple … whenever possible, make an electronic copy. We extensively use encrypted email as a method of communication, not only between lawyer and client, but also between lawyer and other counsel. Family Law is definitely NOT a “9 to 5” profession.  It’s one thing to have electronic documents accessible when you are IN the office … but having secure access to the firm’s systems and databases from outside the office is what has allowed past and present lawyers and staff flexibility that is sometimes needed in this hectic life.

When I started at LFLG, we had a student-at-law doing her articles, who had a young family at home. I saw her trying to balance her studies, her family, and trying to start her career at the firm. Without the flexibility of having the secure remote access to her computer, she wouldn’t have been able to work/study AND be at home with her child. Once she was admitted to the bar and started her practice with us, this flexibility continued to allow her to manage her caseload around the needs of her family. She could, and DID, work until early hours of the morning, but was still able to be at home.

In 2008, Linda ventured into a mentoring relationship with a young lawyer from Grande Prairie, Marc Delacruz. The virtual model that we had created worked very well for him as well. He was able to utilize the system that we had created, and model it at his own firm. We were able to give him access to our precedents – not only just court document precedents, but also everyday administration precedents that he would need to run his firm. Documents like client retainer agreements and questionnaires, to disbursement entry sheets, billing templates, and closed file spreadsheets. We had already “invented the wheel” so he didn’t have to.

I also had the opportunity to help mentor Marc on the administration side of running his law firm. I spent some in time person with him when he came to our office going through the ESILaw program, but the majority of the training that we did was over the phone or by email. I was able to teach him how to utilize the ESILaw program for his financial transactions – posting payments, creating and posting bills, etc., as well as teach him what systems he needed to put in place regarding his business to ensure he was meeting the guidelines of the Law Society of Alberta.

Linda has also been able to manage a very busy law practice, a relationship with her husband in Lethbridge, 3 kids, numerous “adopted” kids, vacations, … well, read her blog and she’ll tell you. While my position doesn’t allow as much flexibility for remote work, I have even been able to utilize the secure remote system several times to check emails and such, while being at home with a sick child.

It’s a wonderful system … the days of being chained to your desk are over.”

Stayed tuned for Part 7: VLO From the Perspective of the Junior Associate

Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 5

 Resource, Technology  Comments Off on Virtual Law Office: A Tale of Two Cities, Part 5
Oct 052011

We have taken you through the framework and benefits of beginning a Virtual Law Office. Now we will hear Danijela Strong, Legal Assistant to Linda L. Long Q.C., discuss her perspective on the VLO.

“I have been with Long Family Law Group family since December 2008.  Everything was new for me and there was a lot to learn.  I was trained to follow the office procedures and with time I could see how important it was to follow the process that was in place which eventually got even better. For example, all of our documents, correspondences, court and meeting notes are scanned to our electronic file directory so our client files mirror each other in the hard copies and electronic copies.  The clients are updated on their matter electronically as things happen on their case which eliminates the backlog.  The lawyers are able to access the electronic files from anywhere so in the event a lawyer is traveling and there is urgency on a file, they are able to access client’s file, provide support, advice and instruct the team.  The law office travels with the lawyer.

We use all electronic methods available to us to ensure customer service and prompt replies to clients.  I also remember how great it was to see a young lawyer from Grande Prairie get the support he needed to launch him and get experience and training from a senior counsel,  all occurring through a click of a mouse, camera, phone and an internet connection.  Support to another lawyer was given immediately as the situation required attention.

In Family Law you should expect the unexpected and crisis does not ask what time of the day it is. With a virtual system the legal advice is provided to people in need as their life unfolds and junior lawyers are able to get the mentoring they need to ensure that client’s needs are met in the justice world. I have been a part of this client service virtual team model for three years and it works!”

Stayed tuned for Part 6: VLO From the Perspective of the Legal Assistant