Real Estate Essentials

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Jan 202017

Real Estate Essentials

Join Seminar chair Lubos K. Pesta QC (Walsh LLP) and experienced panelists for Real Estate Essentials on March 10 (Edmonton) or on March 17 (Calgary). Solidify your understanding of essential real estate topics by observing experienced lawyers put concepts into action.

Program Benefits and Takeaways

In a recent interview, we spoke with seminar chair Lubos K. Pesta QC, who told us about the program and some of the key program takeaways. Here’s what he had to say.

Attendees are going to learn about new twists, turns, and approaches resulting from the new Purchase Contract introduced in 2016. There are some material changes that lawyers need to be aware of in order to minimize their liability. We are also going to have a sample run of signing a residential closing by a lawyer and a client – on both a purchase as well as a sale. One of the takeaways is that junior lawyers will have the opportunity to observe how to handle closings efficiently. We will also talk about how experienced lawyers deal with issues when they meet with clients on the sale and purchase of a home.”

We also asked Lubos what he find’s exciting about this program.

I’m always excited by engaging the profession in practical discussions and clarifying issues and even being challenged. We want to focus on making this relevant for people. We don’t want to just lecture, we want to deal with issues that are relevant. So, we are going to give every opportunity for the people in attendance to raise questions and concerns and explain circumstances that they may have questions about.”

Faculty and Discussion Topics

Develop critical skills to ensure the use of best practices, and explore essential topics with seasoned practitioners.

Philip Carr | Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association
Kathleen S. Davis | KSD Law
Jesse Mackenzie | Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association
Jason McCulloch | Witten LLP
Jim Reich | Reich Law
Linda L. Wright | Laurier Law Office

Examine residential real property transactions in detail, including:

  • the basics of a residential real estate practice;
  • key terms and common issues in residential real estate purchase contracts;
  • recent amendments to standard form purchase contracts;
  • protecting clients’ interests, advising clients, and conducting client meetings;
  • the Protocol and title insurance – what they are, why and when to use them, and what to do if something goes wrong;
  • assessing the reasonability of trust conditions;
  • Real Property Reports and related issues; and

… much more.

Who Should Attend?

If you’re a lawyer in your first five years of practice who has some experience in real estate law and
wishes to explore the fundamentals of a real property transaction. This program is for you. It may also be of interest to legal support staff.

Lubos also told us that this program is relevant for realtors and the real estate industry, and said “realtors would really benefit in terms of learning what goes on in the lawyers office when the home sales and purchases are being closed”.

Register Online

We’re looking forward to an enriching day of continuing legal excellence. Join us in Edmonton (March 10) or in Calgary (March 17) for Real Estate Essentials.

Register on or before February 7, 2017 to take advantage of our Early Bird discount.

See you there!

Matrimonial Property 2017

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Jan 162017

Matrimonial Property 2017

It is essential for family law practitioners to stay current in matrimonial property issues. In today’s blog, seminar co-chair Diane L. Harms QC tells us what we can look forward to in our upcoming program, Matrimonial Property 2017.

Join us this February 14 (Edmonton) and February 22 (Calgary) to explore the latest developments and case law in matrimonial property matters, from bankruptcy, to tax issues, to family trusts, and contingent assets.

About the Faculty

Our distinguished panelists have developed a full day of programming dedicated to topical issues in relation to Matrimonial Property matters.

Robert Calvert QC | DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
Greg Gartner QC | Moodys Gartner Tax Law (Edmonton Seminar)
Ashley Hahn | Miles Davison LLP
Daniel K. Jukes | Miles Davison LLP
Kim G.C. Moody | Moodys Gartner Tax Law (Calgary Seminar)
Roxy Petts | Daunais McKay + Harms

In a recent, interview, we spoke with Diane L. Harms QC who told us a bit about the diversity of the speakers.

We’ve got Mr. [Kim G.C.] Moody, who is a tax specialist, and a prolific writer. He works together with Greg Gartner [QC] who is a tax expert and lawyer. They are partners at Moody’s Gartner Tax Law, and are an amazing resource for the family law bar to reference and learn from. We also have Robert Calvert [QC], who is a very strong civil litigator, but his particular expertise is family law. He’ll be speaking to us about attacking and protecting family trusts, which is something we’re seeing more and more of in the context of complex matrimonial property. We also have Ashley [Hahn] and Daniel [Jukes], who practice in the area of consumer protection and bankruptcy. They will help those of us who don’t deal with bankruptcy and protection issues on a day-to-day basis know what red flags to watch out for, and what particular things we want to build into our orders, agreement, and applications. Gifts and Loans from Family Members, Exemptions & Tracings, is going to be covered by Roxy Petts. She will be presenting a collection of things she has researched and come across in terms of expansion and tracing related to gifts and loans from family members.”

Benefits of the Program

Diane also told us what she thinks attendees will find beneficial about this program.

What we can expect to hear from the panel are topics on areas reflective of challenging issues in the context of matrimonial property – things that we don’t stumble across often enough that may be difficult, or unique, or specialized in the area of matrimonial property. For that reason, I think there is something for everyone. For the more junior attendees, these will be things that they can build into their practice from the outset – knowing the red flags and where to look to find answers. For those of us who are into the mid to later part of our career, this program will identify things that we can’t use our precedents for, or that we will have to build into our precedents.”

Finally, Diane told us why she is excited for this program. Here’s what she had to say.

For those of us who enjoy the legal aspect of family law, this program addresses some real chewy issues. It will allow us to take a look at the how-tos and whys of what we are doing. For those who are more junior, maybe they have not run across these issues yet, but I can guarantee that they will. For those of us that are more senior, we may have run across them, but we would benefit from learning more about these types of issues. They are current, timely, emerging, and they are relevant for all family law practitioners that have to deal with matrimonial property issues.”

Register Online

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to hear from some of Alberta’s best. Join us for Matrimonial Property 2017 on February 14 (Edmonton) and February 22 (Calgary).

Read the brochure to learn more about this program.

Jan 132017

Buying and Selling a Business

What strategies can I use to effectively close a purchase/sale?
What tax implications arise from asset, share, and hybrid deals?
What pre-transaction considerations must I take into account?

Uncover the answer to these questions and much more in our upcoming program Buying and Selling a Business March 2 (Edmonton) and March 9 (Calgary).

In a recent interview, we spoke with seminar chair Bryan C. Haynes who gave us an overview of what to expect at this program.

The theme of this program is buying and selling private businesses. These transactions can be quite complicated, as they involve a number of different issues, considerations, and skill sets. This program includes discussions about structuring considerations from a tax perspective; pre-transaction considerations, including confidentiality agreements, letters of intent, and regulatory approvals; and negotiating, reviewing, and drafting key terms of asset-purchase agreements. The program will also includes a timely topic – something we’ve seen more of recently – which is hybrid share/asset purchase agreements. There will also be a discussion on how to effectively close a purchase and sale transaction with effective use of closing agendas and execution of documents.”

Bryan also told us what excites him about this program. Here’s what he had to say.

I am very much looking forward to the live mock negotiation on the key terms of a share-purchase agreement. As chair, my goal is to create a discussion oriented, dynamic environment that will encourage discussion among the attendees and the faculty during the presentations. I think that a lot of interesting ideas will come out of those discussions and I think that will make this an engaging and interactive program.”

About the Faculty

Matthew Clark | Shea Nerland LLP
Kelly R. Ford | Bennett Jones LLP
Mark P. Kortbeek | Bennett Jones LLP
James T. McClary | Bennett Jones LLP
Maxine Mongeon | Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP
Leah M. Tolton | Dentons Canada LLP
Steve R. Will | Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP

Here’s what Bryan told us about the diversity of this experienced group of panelists.

We’ve got a very diverse panel that is representative of practitioners from small firms, to large law firms, and from associates to partners. The faculty was brought together on the basis of having relevant experience with respect to the subject matter and also with a view of diversity in mind. The faculty will be able to address aspects of purchasing and selling businesses that will be pertinent and relevant to lawyers working as in-house counsel and to practitioners in small or large law firms.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with knowledgeable practitioners and to tackle issues and questions that arise in the purchase or sale of a private business.

Register Online

Read our program brochure to learn more about what this program has to offer. Register on or before January 19 to take advantage of early bird pricing.

Register for Buying and Selling a Business in Edmonton (March 2) or in Calgary (March 9).

We hope to see you there!

Alberta Legal Technology Conference

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Jan 112017

Alberta Legal Technology Conference

We’re pleased to invite you to our first ever Alberta Legal Technology Conference. Join seminar chair James T. Swanson and experienced panelists Richard Ferguson and Susan Wrotzman to investigate currently available and imminent future technology.

Sneak Preview

In a recent interview, we spoke with James T. Swanson, who gave us an incredible sneak preview at some of the topics you can expect from this conference.

We live in interesting times when it comes to technology. Clients are asking for services quicker, cheaper, and better. It’s like the saying, you can have it fast, good, or cheap – pick two. Well, clients are saying, “we want all three!”, and the only way to deliver that is to augment your abilities as a lawyers.”

But how can you augment your abilities as a lawyer? Well, here’s what James had to say.

One of the topics we’re going to talk about is Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Legal Technology. ROSS, as some lawyers may know, is an AI lawyer that does legal research. If it makes mistakes, you correct them, and it doesn’t usually make the same mistake more than once – it never forgets… Last year, Microsoft’s AI application was able to do a more accurate translation than most human translators can do of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” from Russian to English—and it did it at a rate of more than 530 pages per second. So for example, let’s say you have a case that needs a lot of legal research and it’s going to take 50 hours of junior lawyer’s time to do it. If you had ROSS you could do the whole thing in an hour, and charge the client for the hour rather than the 50 hours. Clients are going to go to firms that can do that.”

The amount of technological change that has occurred in the past 7 years alone is incredible, and it will continue to increase at an exponential rate. This not only affects the day-to-day tasks of a lawyer, but also seeps into client-firm relationships.

Another topic we’re going to cover is Cyber Security and the larger topic of Information Governance. These are issues our clients are facing, and if you’re a hacker you’ll be quite prepared to say (anonymously) that law firms are viewed as low hanging fruit—they’re easy to hack… so, you run the risk of confidential and privileged information being disclosed or stolen and used for someone else’s profit.”

That can’t be good for business!

However, like all things controlled by human beings, there is the potential for emergent technologies to also have an incredible benefit to the legal communities in Alberta and around the world. Take block chain technology for example.

Block chain technology is open source, so anyone can build a block chain if they want to. It was initially used to develop a cyber-crypto-currency known as Bitcoin, which is anonymous. It [block chain] is not controlled by any government, and so far, it’s hack-proof. Essentially, how it works is you have a massive ledger of blocks, and each block records transactions or values associated with the user. It is then encrypted, which is great because in theory it can’t be hacked. Then, what immediately happens is each of those blocks is duplicated across a vast network on multiple computers, and if anyone of those blocks are changed, the entire ledger knows it’s wrong. So, even if you can hack a block, it won’t pass muster because it immediately doesn’t compute with the rest of the system. So, for example, you could take something in theory, like a land title’s registry, and use block chain to authenticate sales, mortgage, grants of interest, and land types of transactions, and then record them on the block chain and have them there forever – authenticated, encrypted, and distributed so they are hack-proof. A lot of things that lawyers do in terms of authenticating transactions can be automated. So is it a threat? If you view change as a threat, then yes. But, it may also be a very positive development. You can have job killing technologies that then create other jobs, maybe requiring different skill sets. We’re in the very early stages of block chain, but it could be as revolutionary as the World Wide Web when it came out in 1991.”

These are just a few of the many topics that will be covered at our Alberta Legal Technology Conference. Others include:
• e-Discovery and Litigation Management;
• Remote Workplaces, Virtual Law Firms, and the Technology-Augmented Lawyer;
• Technology for Sole Practitioners and Small Firms;
• Project Management for Lawyers;
• Courtroom Technology; and
• A View of the Near Future.

Register Online

Be part of the discussion, network with seasoned practitioners, and discover tips, strategies, and technologies that can enhance your practice.

Register for our Alberta Legal Technology Conference today. For more information, read our brochure.

Top 10+ (Things Every Lawyer Should Know)

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Jan 042017

Top 10 + (Things Every Lawyer Should Know)
Should I ever refuse to blow?
I want to leave someone out of my will, can I do that?
We are separating, should I leave the matrimonial home?

Lawyers are frequently asked to answer all kinds of different questions by friends, family, and clients, and it can be challenging to provide competent responses in all areas of the law.

Join the Honourable Justice D.L. Pentelechuk and distinguished panelists for Top 10 + (Things Every Lawyer Should Know) February 25 (Calgary) or March 4 (Edmonton). Discover answers to frequently asked questions in various areas of the law, including:
• Criminal Law,
• Wills and Estates,
• Family Law,
• Employment Law,
• Condo and Residential Tenancy Law,
• Debtor and Creditor Law,

And more…

Sneak Preview

In a recent interview, we spoke to seminar chair the Honourable Justice D.L. Pentelechuk, who gave us a sneak preview of what to look forward to in this program. Here are some of the key program takeaways and benefits you can look forward to.

I think [this program] will be a wonderful opportunity for lawyers to come out feeling well-rounded and in a position to more confidently and competently provide general information to their clients [and others]. This seminar is not in a paper format. One of the key takeaways is the ability for attendees to engage with the experts on the panel.”

The Honourable Justice D.L. Pentelechuk also spoke about the diversity of the panelists. Here’s what she had to say.

We have Doris Bonora (Dentons Canada LLP), our specialist in Wills and Estates, who has had a very robust career in that area. We have Lonny L. Balbi QC (Balbi & Company Legal Centre), who is based in Calgary and will be our Family Law specialist. He has a lot of speaking experience and brings a very energetic dynamic. We also have Michael Lema, with the Federal Department of Justice, who is a nationally recognized expert in the area of creditor and debtor law and matters involving CRA. Roberto Noce QC (Miller Thomson LLP), is well known for speaking widely in the area of condominium and residential tenancy law. In the area of Criminal Law, we have Kim Hardstaff (Beresh Aloneissi O’Neill) – a young, up-and-coming criminal defense lawyer – who will be talking about criminal matters. Finally, we have Daniel Scott (Seveny Scott), who will be talking about employment law. He is a very seasoned lecturer who has been the sessional lecturer of the year several times at the U of A Law School.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with seasoned practitioners, and learn how to competently answer some of the most frequently raised questions across a broad spectrum of practice areas. As the Honourable Justice D.L. Pentelechuk notes, “This program has certainly proved to be a huge success in other jurisdictions. It’s a brand new venture for LESA, and I think it will be a particularly well received program.”

Register Online

Register online to attend Top 10 + (Things Every Lawyer Should Know).
February 25 (Calgary)
March 4 (Edmonton)

Register on or before January 19, 2017 to take advantage of our Early Bird discount.

Monthly Upcoming Legal Events

 Calgary, Edmonton, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Monthly Upcoming Legal Events
Jan 022017

Monthly Upcoming Legal Events

Find out what’s going on in Alberta’s legal community this month.

January Programs

Effective Legal Support

Explore strategies with program chair Michelle D. Millard for getting (and staying) organized, efficiently prioritizing, using office technology more effectively, and for providing more meaningful support overall.
Edmonton (January 17).
Calgary (January 19).

View the program brochure for more details.


Oral Advocacy and Professional Responsibility begins the week of January 2 in Calgary and the week of January 9 in Edmonton. This face-to-face session is a mandatory part of the CPLED Program.

Legal Community Events

Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist): Peer Support Training

Give back to the legal community by getting involved in a volunteer peer role to provide confidential help to lawyers, law students, and their immediate families with personal issues.

Join Assist’s Peer Support Training Session on January 28 in Calgary. Click here for more information.

Drafting Wills and Trusts

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Dec 192016

Drafting Wills and Trusts

Have you heard about our upcoming Drafting Wills and Trusts program?

In today’s blog we dive into detail with seminar chair Farha Salim (Field LLP). From topics, to takeaways, discover what you’ll learn in this comprehensive full-day program.
Edmonton (February 28)
Calgary (March 7)

Topics and Faculty

Join program chair Farha Salim and experienced faculty to review wills and trusts drafting from start to finish. From pitfalls, challenges, and unique considerations, to the discovery of plain language principles, and more – don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the pros and enhance your practice.

Barrie G. Broughton QC | North & Company LLP
Patricia L. Daunais QC | Daunais McKay + Harms
Derrick R. Hosanna | Felesky Flynn LLP
Barbara J. Kimmitt | Bennett Jones LLP
Lisa Statt Foy | Field LLP
S. Dane ZoBell | Felesky Flynn LLP

In a recent interview, Farha gave us the inside scoop on some of the topics that will be covered at this program. Here’s what she had to say.

The breadth of coverage will be estate planning for business owners – including from an agricultural business perspective. We will have the perspective of a matrimonial lawyer on some tips regarding matrimonial property from an estate planning perspective. We will also have coverage of drafting clauses in wills for unusual circumstances or unusual assets, a tax component regarding trusts in wills attribution, and we will be discussing planning for adult disabled beneficiaries.”

Benefits and Program Takeaways

Farha also shared some of the program benefits and takeaways.

The aim is to go a bit outside the box on conventional will or trust planning – to discuss situations that are a bit higher level and more unique or that require a greater degree of in-depth knowledge on particular topics. [Some of the key takeaways will be] issue identification and considerations for drafting around those issues. Attendees will learn strategies for using the initial interview with a client to extract the information needed to do a good job drafting and will also learn tools for drafting in unique, complex situations.”

Learn More and Register Online

View the program brochure for more details on this program. Register online to attend in:

Register on or before January 10 to take advantage of our Early Bird pricing.


Program Feature – Contract Review and Clause Negotiaiton

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Dec 132016

Contract Review and Clause Negotiation

Attend Contract Review and Clause Negotiation on February 15 (Edmonton) or on February 23 (Calgary). Learn practical tips and strategies from experienced panelists, and enhance your practice.

About the Program

In a recent interview, we spoke with seminar chair Jonathan Coombs (Witten LLP, Edmonton), who gave us the inside scoop on this upcoming program. Here’s what he had to say about the topics that will be covered.

We are going to review a variety of clauses that may appear in contracts, some typical boilerplate clauses, and other clauses typically found in agreements that maybe shouldn’t be. We will also review some recent Supreme Court cases, looking at the effects that those cases may have on clauses you want to include or how you can amend older clauses to reflect the new laws.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to analyze common transactions through the lens of key cases, including:

  • Bhasin v Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71;
  • Sattva Capital Corp v Creston Moly Corp, 2014 SCC 53;
  • Swift v Eleven Eleven Architecture Inc, 2014 ABCA 49; and
  • Payette v Guay Inc, 2013 SCC 45.

About the Presenters

Join Jonathan Coombs and distinguished panelists for this comprehensive, interactive, full-day program. Discover key clauses and boilerplate provisions as well as potential options for negotiation.

Rhonda M. Elder | Warren Sinclair LLP | Red Deer
Michael W. Jones | Stringam LLP |Fort McMurray & Lethbridge
John A. Brigidear | Carscallen LLP |Calgary
Sean R. MacLachlan | Carscallen LLP | Calgary

Here’s what Jonathan had to say about the diversity of the panel.

We cover Northern, Southern, and Central Alberta, and we have presenters from bigger city law firms down to small town law firms. I practice in Edmonton and have an office in Drayton Valley that I work out of as well, so I cover the big city and small town background. Rhonda Elder is from Central Alberta and practices out of Red Deer. Michael Jones practices out of Lethbridge and Fort McMurray, so he covers the far south and the far north of the province. John Brigidear and Sean MacLachlan both practice out of a Calgary law firm, so we all cover different parts of the province.

Program Benefits and Takeaways

We asked Jonathan what attendees would find beneficial about the program and about some of the key program takeaways. Here’s a sneak preview of what you can look forward to.

Attendees will come away with knowledge of some recent case law that will affect their contract review and drafting. They will also come away with some practical applications for how to negotiate a contract. We’d like to get some hands on participation and involvement from the audience members as well, and plan to have some sample wording for some of the key clauses and boilerplate provisions that people can take away with them.”

Register Online

Reserve your spot in Contract Review and Clause Negotiation. Register online to attend in:

**Register on or before January 10, 2017 to take advantage of our Early Bird pricing.**

Program Feature: Effective Legal Support

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Nov 242016

Effective Legal Support

Legal support staff are the backbone of a legal practice, and those with the knowledge and skill to facilitate efficient work practices can have a considerable effect on a firm’s success.

This January 17 (Edmonton) and 19 (Calgary), join program chair Michelle D. Millard, TEP and a distinguished panel for Effective Legal Support . Delve into strategies to more effectively utilize the talents and proficiencies of your legal support staff.

Who Should Attend?

This program is targeted to legal support staff from all practice areas interested in developing skills for providing more meaningful and effective legal support. Discover tools and strategies to effectively organize, prioritize, diarize, and learn to use office technology more efficiently.

This program may also be of interest to lawyers or office managers who supervise or train support staff. Uncover the role of support staff, including the many duties they perform, and explore various ways to work with your support staff to maximize the efficiency of your practice.

What You’ll Take Away

In a recent interview, we asked program chair, Michelle D. Millard what she thinks attendees will take away from this program. Here is what she had to say.

Participants will walk away having a better understanding of how to best provide legal assistance or use their legal assistants to become more efficient at their practice. This will allow the lawyer to practice more of the legal side and the legal assistant to add value by keeping things moving along smoothly. Participants will also be getting checklists that they will be able to use and refer to, and will walk away with pointers about different practices that other people follow.”

What Perspectives You’ll Gain

Learn practice management tips and strategies from distinguished panelists Ross G McLeod Q.C., Elizabeth Aspinall, Erica Banick, Bev Boyden, Bente Hallin, Kristine Jeffels, Aurora Lifeso, and Marvin Toy.

Here’s what Michelle had to say about the diversity of this panel and some of the perspectives you’ll gain.

We have a number of experienced legal assistants to speak about how and why an efficient practice benefits everyone. We also have a lawyer, who is very efficient in his practice, to address how to work most effectively with a legal assistant. Some outside parties will be participating as well and will be taking a bit more of a holistic perspective, offering solutions to make sure things run fairly, smoothly, and in accordance with the rules.”

Registration and Additional Information

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn tips for enhancing the efficiency of your practice. Register online to attend our Effective Legal Support program.

Take advantage of our Early Bird discount. Register on or before December 13, 2016, and receive $40 off the regular price.

Weekly Program Feature: Estate Administration Fundamentals

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Nov 092016

Estate Administration Fundamentals

Join program chair David J. Koski and experienced panel on November 30 (Edmonton) and December 7 (Calgary) for Estate Administration Fundamentals.

Learn the basics of estate administration, from the review of key documents and timelines, to some of the common issues lawyers face today, and more.

Benefits and Takeaways of this Program

In a recent interview, David shared some of the benefits of attending Estate Administration Fundamentals. Here’s what he had to say.

We have five practitioners who practice primarily in non-contentious estate administration matters. These matters are harder than they seem; there are a lot of work-arounds that the practitioner will need to deploy as they assist personal representatives with estate administration. With the eclectic wisdom of the panel, we will be able to provide some helpful tips and work-arounds for these matters.”

David also let us know why this program will be valuable for attendees.

There is more to the practice of non-contentious estate administration than people expect. There is a need for effective legal advice for personal representatives, and the process to follow isn’t always that clear. Those attending will have a better appreciation of what some of those challenges will be and learn some practical suggestions for negotiating themselves.”

Discussion Topics

Understand key aspects of estate administration. Review key documents and timelines, and explore the common issues lawyers face in a typical (non-contested) estate.

Here’s a sneak preview of what the faculty will be discussing during this seminar.

The faculty is composed of a number of practitioners with a fair amount of experience in this area. We will cover difficult grant applications, accounting applications, and share our perspectives on how the practicing lawyer can better manage their files and their client’s expectations, so administration can be a better experience for all.”

Register Online

Don’t miss the opportunity to deepen your understanding of estate administration. Reserve your spot today. Register online to attend in Edmonton (November 30) or Calgary (December 7).

For additional information, including program times, prices, locations, and more, view the brochure.