Important Changes to LESA’s CPLED Team

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Jan 182017
 

CPLED

The New Year has brought changes to LESA’s CPLED team; our former Education Coordinator, Bronwyn Connolly, has officially gone on maternity leave.


We are happy to inform you that as of January 2, 2017, Ashley Iachetta (previously the CPLED Student Coordinator) became LESA’s new CPLED Education Coordinator. Ashley is now the primary point of contact for all Learning Group Evaluators (LGEs) and Learning Group Facilitators (LGFs).

In addition, Kathy Fortier (our current Meeting & Relations Coordinator) has taken over some of the CPLED Education Coordinator responsibilities. She is now the primary point of contact for CPLED Face-to-Face Instructors and Evaluators.

Furthermore, Craig Edhart has taken on the role of CPLED Student Coordinator, and is now the primary point of contact for all student-related matters.

Contact our office at 780.420.1987 if you have any questions.

2016 Alberta’s Top Employers Winner

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

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

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

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

Collaborative

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

Innovative

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

Professional

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

Responsible

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

What do our staff love most?

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

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

Kelsey Dick, Counsel

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

Chris Hayek, Integration Assistant

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

Bronwyn Connolly, Education Coordinator

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!

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.

2015/2016 CPLED Announcement

 CPLED, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on 2015/2016 CPLED Announcement
Feb 162015
 

CPLED Logo***Update: The 2015/2016 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.***


 

If you’ve been waiting for details about the CPLED program’s upcoming 2015/2016 educational year, we don’t want to keep you on the edge of your seat any longer.

 

Registration

Current 3rd year law students, recent graduates, or others needing to take the Alberta bar admission program should mark February 23 on their calendars – CPLED registration opens at noon.

Register for CPLED here by filling in the short Application for Admission form. Note that this link will not direct you to the form until registration opens on February 23.

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

For details about when the face-to-face sessions and online modules are running, view the CPLED Program 2015/2016 Key Dates.

Info Sessions

To learn more about the CPLED program, attend one of the CPLED info sessions happening at the University of Alberta (February 24) or the University of Calgary (March 12). Both the Law Society of Alberta and LESA will make presentations about the program to help answer your questions about what to expect from CPLED.

Questions

If you have any questions about CPLED or the registration process, LESA’s Student Coordinator, Ashley Iachetta, is just an email or phone call away. You can reach her at ashley.iachetta@lesa.org or at 780.969.3557.

Volunteering

If you are a practicing lawyer, have you considered being a part of our CPLED program?

Contact Bronwyn Connolly at bronwyn.connolly@lesa.org for information on becoming a learning group facilitator (LGF) or learning group evaluator (LGE) for the online modules; contact Janette Sztym at janette.sztym@lesa.org if you are interested in participating in the face-to-face modules.