Monthly Upcoming Legal Events

 Calgary, Edmonton, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Monthly Upcoming Legal Events
Sep 012016
Find out what happening in the legal community this September.
LESA Programs

Check out what LESA has to offer you this September!

Being an Excellent Principal

This course is free of charge; register online to secure your spot (registration required; limited enrolment).

View the program brochure for more details.

Delivering Effective Feedback

Join the Honourable Judge J.L. Dixon and seminar chair Molly Naber-Sykes QC and learn to deliver constructive feedback to colleagues, associates, articling students, support staff, and others.

View the program brochure for more details.

Basic Collaborative Law

There are only 4 spots remaining. Register today to save your seat!

View the program brochure for more details.


The Interviewing and Advising Face-to-Face sessions begin the week of September 26 in Edmonton and Calgary. Get more details here.

Legal Community Events

Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist): 6th Annual Walk for Wellness Events

  • Lethbridge, September 22
  • Calgary, September 22
  • Red Deer, September 27
  • Edmonton, September 27

Edmonton Legal Community Centre (ECLC): Advice-A-thon

  • September 24, Sir Winston Churchill Square

Edmonton Legal Build: Race Judicata

  • September 17

If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community, contact Andrea Maltais, Communications Coordinator.
780.969.0555 or

Weekly Program Feature: Collaborative Law Programs

 Calgary, Edmonton, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Weekly Program Feature: Collaborative Law Programs
Jul 212016


Are you a lawyer who practices in the area of family law? Have you considered becoming a registered collaborative professional?

LESA offers collaborative law programs on an annual basis. Here’s what’s happening this year.

Basic Collaborative LawŸ Ÿ• Edmonton •Ÿ September 30 – October 1 2016

Interest Based Negotiations Ÿ• Edmonton Ÿ• October 20 – 23 Ÿ 2016

Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflicts Ÿ• Calgary •Ÿ May 15 – 19 Ÿ 2017

** NOTE: These are limited enrolment programs. **

** NOTE: Refer to the Collaborative Divorce Alberta Association (CDAA) for certification requirements.**

Basic Collaborative Law

This fall, attend the Basic Collaborative Law program and learn methods for dispute resolution that encourage mutual respect, allow for open communication, utilize a problem-solving approach, as well as identify and address the interests and concerns of all parties, including children.

Cover the 4 principles of collaborative practice.

  1. A pledge not to go to court;
  2. An honest exchange of information;
  3. Good faith negotiations; and
  4. A solution that considers the highest priorities of all parties.

Instructor Susan L. Zwaenepoel QC received her collaborative law training in 2001 and has been teaching this course for several years. Here’s what she has to say about collaborative practice.

Both clients and lawyers really benefit from this kind of work. … The clients gain access to support they wouldn’t necessarily have had in a traditional divorce … matters are often resolved quicker and more positively for everyone involved.”

Register for Basic Collaborative Law. (Limited Enrolment)

Interest Based Negotiations

Join instructors Suzan L. Zwaenepoel QC, E. Leith Martin, Sharlene Yanitski, and Marne Turnbull this fall for Interest Based Negotiations.

As Susan says, “Collaborative work is fundamentally a philosophical approach to family law. … It is geared toward problem-solving, cooperation and to providing the client with the support and tools to get through the process in a less litigious manner than in a traditional divorce.”

Learn the difference between principled and adversarial negotiations, delve into the 5-stage interest based negotiation model, and enhance practical skills, such as:

  • active listening
  • effective questioning
  • interactive learning
  • reframing

Register for Interest Based Negotiations. (Limited Enrolment)

Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflicts

Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflicts is one of the 3 pillars of collaborative law training. This five-day program will be instructed by 3 experienced collaborative professionals.

It is this harmonic range of different professionals – who provide the greatest ability to understand different perspectives – that makes this program successful. Attendees have come from the United States, Holland, and Switzerland and include judges, psychologists, lawyers, teachers, police officers, members of the cloth, politicians, and many other professionals.” – Dr. Larry Fong Ph.D., R.Psych

Register for Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflicts. (Limited Enrolment)


Apr 012016

Calendar Image. Discover April 2016 Upcoming Legal Events!

They say April showers bring May flowers, but the next few weeks are also packed full of interesting events and useful continuing professional development programs. Read today’s blog to find out what April 2016 upcoming legal events you’ll want to mark on your calendar.

April Programs

Enduring Powers of Attorney and Personal Directives

Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 5) or in Calgary (April 12).

  • Join seminar chair Farah Salim and panel experts to explore both common and extraordinary issues, such as inter-jurisdictional concerns, health care challenges, litigation tips, and more.
  • Read the blog for a sneak peek of what you can expect.
Unanimous Shareholder Agreement Disputes

Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 6) or in Calgary (April 20).

Read the blog to discover the top 5 program takeaways and to find out why seminar chair Bryan Haynes says this program offers valuable tips, information, and best practices to address the surprisingly common issue of shareholder disputes.

A lot of people enter into ventures with friends, family, or, in some cases, strangers. At the outset, everyone has the best intentions and is acting in good faith, but, more often than one would like to think, there is a breakdown in the relationship and a dispute arises.”

Basic Collaborative Law

Discuss negotiation theory, preparing for 4-way meetings, the principles of collaborative practice, ethical issues, how to advise clients, and more.

If you missed your chance to attend this program on April 8–9 (the seminar is full!), don’t delay and register online now to attend this fall (September 30–October 1).

Legal Project Management

Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 13) or in Calgary (April 14).

Join instructors Pamela Woldow and Patricia Olah in this interactive seminar to explore various project management skills: from the top 4 project management strategies, to the connection between project management and profitability, and even metrics used to measure and evaluate project management performance and success.

Read the blog for the inside scoop about what legal project management is, how you can implement its principles, and why this is a useful tool to add to your practice management tool box.


Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 19) or in Calgary (April 28).

  • Delve into questioning with experienced practitioners and Queen’s Bench Masters. Discuss specific issues, and join the conversation by participating in roundtable discussions and demonstrations.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Patrick Kirwin for the inside scoop on the top 3 reasons this seminar is particularly valuable.
Alberta Land Titles Online

Register online to attend in Lake Louise on April 23!

Stay up-to-date on significant upcoming changes to how electronic signatures will be used for land title transactions. All practitioners are welcome to attend this add-on program to the 49th Annual Refresher.

Read the blog with Curtis Woollard from Land Titles North to learn about 5 key changes and what all real estate practitioners should be aware of.

49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate

Register online to attend in Lake Louise this April 24–26.

  • Keep current on various issues affecting real estate transactions – from important snippets on topics such as protocol, trust cheques, and real property reports to sessions on practice pointers, commercial real estate, condominiums, and taxes.
  • Read the blog for more information about the 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate and the add-on program Alberta Land Titles Online.

Registration Savings

If you’re looking to start checking some 2016 CPD requirements off your list, why not consider attending some of these upcoming programs? They’re running in May and June, but don’t wait to reserve your spot. Early bird registration savings for the following programs end in April.

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Register online to attend in Edmonton (May 10) or in Calgary (May 17) – Early Bird ENDS April 5.

Consider the unique concerns, competing interests, and estate planning strategies that come into play in the complex situations encountered with blended families. Read the blog with seminar chair Karen A. Platten QC to learn more about the practical tools you’ll gain and why this program offers important advice and information to practitioners.

Every practitioner runs across issues that they haven’t ever seen before. … [Unique situations] require certain expertise and certain understanding.”

Privacy Update

Register online to attend in Calgary (May 19) or in Edmonton (May 25) – Early Bird ENDS April 12.

  •  Explore current issues and emerging themes in privacy law to better prepare yourself to identify and address issues that come up in practice.
  •  Read the blog with seminar chair Ritu Khullar QC and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton for more information about the questions and topics that you’ll discuss in the program.
Criminal Advocacy – Experts

Register online to attend in Calgary (May 14) or in Edmonton (May 28) – Early Bird ENDS April 12.

Both junior lawyers and more seasoned veterans stand to benefit from this review of seminal issues and specialized matters. Consider the top 25 criminal cases in the areas of expert evidence, right to counsel, statements voir dire, and warrantless search and seizure.


The 2015/2016 CPLED year is fast coming to a close now that all regular session modules have concluded. Students completing reserve period modules should contact LESA’s Student Coordinator, Ashley Iachetta if they have any questions.

Registration for the 2016/2017 CPLED year is open. Applicants can read the blog for more information and to register online.

Legal Community Events

AssistFit activities are part of a new program offered by the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist) to encourage health, fitness, and creative activities within the legal community. There are several events happening in April. Read the blog to learn more!

Law Day celebrations are happening around the province this month, and volunteers are needed to make the events possible. Read the blog for more information about locations, dates, and volunteer opportunities.

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


Collaborative Law – The Inside Scoop

 Calgary, Edmonton, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Collaborative Law – The Inside Scoop
Jan 212015

Collaborative Law Programs Image

UPDATE: These seminars occurred in the past. View the complete list of upcoming seminars to discover live programs that are available now.

Have you considered becoming a registered collaborative professional? Do you want to know more about the collaborative process?

Today’s blog shares the inside scoop on collaborative law programs that we received from
Susan L. Zwaenepoel, Registrar of the collaborative association for the Edmonton – Grande Prairie area and an instructor for LESA’s upcoming Basic Collaborative Law program in Calgary on March 13-14.

Can you give me an overview about the collaborative law programs? What courses do practitioners have to take and why are they valuable?

There is some variation in different parts of the province, because the collaborative process is governed by local groups that set up their own particular structure.

But generally speaking there are three components to the training. The first component is a 2-day introductory course on the collaborative process. That course covers the basics of understanding the participation agreements, how the process works, the basis on which agreements are reached, understanding how it differs from other processes, and that sort of thing. The other two components include a 5-day family mediation course (where you learn a lot about interest based negotiation, other forms of negotiation, and dealing with the parties very directly at the table) and a 4-day interest based negotiation course, which is specifically focused on interest based negotiations. The [interest based negotiations] seminar offered through LESA is focused on interest based negotiations through a collaborative file and how you would use those tools in a collaborative situation.

Is collaborative law just for family law lawyers?

It doesn’t have to be. Internationally there are places where they do collaborative law in the civil movement. Here in Alberta there’s been some exploration of that, but formally it is not a process that is being used. They certainly looked at it in the wills and estates area, and there may have been some exploration in the civil area, but I’m not aware of any other place where it is being used right now.

What are the top 3 things you think people should know about collaborative law?

Collaborative law is the process by which people can resolve their family law issues, where (1) they are consciously deciding that they will not do that in court, where (2) they will use a structured process that relies on interest based negotiations to reach that agreement, and where (3) if other professionals are needed to assist them in reaching that resolution they will be added to the process.

Those professionals will also have training in the collaborative process, so, for example, we can add a neutral child specialist to the process, where they have parenting issues and concerns or need some general information and advice. We can add a neutral financial professional, to give financial assistance where there are specific financial issues that we need to address. We also can involve divorce coaches to assist the parties in managing the emotional component, because divorce can be a very stressful, emotional process for people to go through.

The idea is to reach an agreement that will work for both people: rather than a win-lose kind of situation, trying to create a win-win outcome for the parties. I think one of the best things about working in collaborative law is that, when you’ve had a successful collaborative file, the parties have a good foundation for being able to continue to work together in the future, especially when they have reasons why they need to do that.

Tell me more about LESA’s upcoming Basic Collaborative Law seminar. Why will participants benefit from attending? What will be the main takeaways for them?

If you are practicing in the family law area and you want to be able to do a collaborative negotiation, you need to have completed the training and be a registered member of one of the local associations, because in order to do collaborative law you need to have the [relevant] skill set. If you have an interest in doing a form of negotiation that is structured and is outside of the courtroom, then you’ll need to do this training in order to have people who are willing to practice it with you.

It’s a whole new skill set. It’s a whole different way of thinking about how you approach a file, and it’s not something that necessarily comes naturally, especially to lawyers, because we’ve been trained to approach things in quite a different way. Having the hands-on instruction and the practice that you get within in the different [required collaborative law ] programs really helps you shift towards thinking about the practice of family law in a different way.

If practitioners are interested in joining a local collaborative association, where can they find more information about the process of going about that?

We have a website: It’s the same website across the province, and it has a lot of basic information. It will also tell you who the Registrar is in your area, and you can contact that Registrar to get further information.

One of the best ways [to learn more about collaborative law] is to take the Basic Collaborative Law course that LESA offers because we cover all of that stuff in the course.

Another reason to take Basic Collaborative Law, even if you don’t actually intend on practicing collaborative law yourself, is simply that collaborative law is one of the options that clients have in terms of choosing how to resolve their issues. Taking the course and understanding how the collaborative process works will allow you to do a better job of explaining options to clients in the first place. I think a lot of practitioners do not really understand how it works, so their clients may not be as fully informed of their options as they might otherwise be.

Did you know that LESA offers collaborative law programs on a regular basis?
Here’s what’s upcoming:

Basic Collaborative Law  •  Calgary  •  March 13-14
Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflict  •  Calgary  •  May 11-15  *SEMINAR FULL. WAITLIST ONLY*
Interest Based Negotiations  •  Edmonton  •  September 24-27

Since these courses fill up quickly, you’ll want to register early to secure your spot.