50th Annual Refresher: Family Law Sessions

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Apr 132017

50th annual Refresher: Family Law Sessions

The 50th Annual Refresher: Practice Excellence is approaching quickly, so we want to give you a bit more detail about what to expect from each of the substantive law sessions.

In a recent interview, we spoke with our Family Law Sessional Chair, Marie L. Gordon QC, who was pleased to share more detail about each of the family law sessions. We also asked her why she was keen on being involved in this year’s Refresher program. Here’s what she had to say.

I think that this new idea of bringing together four subject areas under the umbrella of Practice Excellence is a great idea. It’s going to give us more exposure to broader thinking about the way we practice law. I think that all of us have capacity to think about our practices from a forward thinking approach, so that excites me. In addition to that, to get Richard Susskind to speak at this conference is a major coup!”

Learn more about each of the Family Law Sessions, including

Separation and Divorce Later in Life | John-Paul E. Boyd
Do Family Lawyers Have Ethical Obligations to the Children of Their Clients? | Patricial M. Herbert QC & Prof. Nicholas Bala
Jurisdictional Issues in Custody Matters | Krysta H. Ostwald
Old Dogs, New Tricks | Deni Cashin

Happy reading!

Separation and Divorce Later in life | John-Paul E. Boyd

About the Session

Family lawyers are facing more elder divorces than ever. This is a demographic shift that all of us are feeling, and these files require that we have an enhanced understanding of the dynamics that are unique to divorces later in life. Some of the more challenging issues that intersect include, retirement; spousal support; new spouses and new partners; insurance obligations; the making of family law obligations binding on an estate; and public assistance programs, such as OAS, CPP, etc. We need to have a broader understanding of these issues.”

About the Presenter

John-Paul Boyd is a very experienced family law practitioner who’s now the Executive Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family. He brings a wonderful hybrid of practical and sociodemographic information about this topic.”

Session Value

Attendees will get a greater sense of what to watch out for in elder divorces and more confidence about guiding clients through a divorce later in life.”

Additional Session Information

This session is running Sunday, May 7 (2017). Make sure to whether or not you wish to attend this session in the comments section upon registration checkout.

Do Family Lawyers Have Ethical Obligations to the Children of Their Clients? | Patricia M. Herbert QC & Prof. Nicholas Bala

About the Session

This is a really interesting take on parenting issues. The majority of our files involve parenting issues, and we’ve come a million miles away from the old fashioned notion of simply managing various schedules. Lawyers used to just help their clients manage a schedule, decide whether it was sole vs. joint custody, and we were done. This session takes a much more sophisticated approach towards understanding our role as lawyers when helping our adult clients. Lawyers have not always been aware of the impact of divorce on children and have sometimes been blind to how their role impacts their clients’ children. This is really going to inform lawyers about how they can manage parenting issues better on their family law files.”

About the Presenters

Nicholas is an international family law star. He is one of Canada’s preeminent academics, and we were extremely fortunate in securing his agreement to speak at this session. He is a prolific writer, judicial educator, and academic who is always on the cutting edge of family law issues related to children. Patricia is highly respected and a nationally recognized expert on issues involving representation of children, parental alienation, and child focus strategies for judges and lawyers. She has experience with some of the hardest files.”

Session Value

This session will give attendees the opportunity to think about their role in an expanded way. It will stretch their understanding of how they can help or harm the children of their clients, and will also allow them to become more conscious of their impact as they move through a standard family law file involving parenting.”

Additional Session Information

This session is running Sunday, May 7 (2017). Make sure to whether or not you wish to attend this session in the comments section upon registration checkout.

Jurisdictional Issues in Custody Matters | Krysta H. Ostwald

About the Session

Family lawyers sometimes feel they have to start at zero when it comes to jurisdictional issues. All of us are concerned about conflict issues and matters that intersect – either interprovincial or international jurisdictional matters. This session provides a very important update with key new cases on jurisdictional matters as they relate to custody. These matters arise frequently on a file and it’s going to be a huge comfort for attendees to get a review of not only basic concepts but also access to key go-to cases.”

About the Presenter

Krysta Ostwald is one of those lawyers who can do it all – litigate, mediate, arbitrate. Krysta has a wealth of practical experience and she is much in demand as a speaker. She is one of the leaders of the National Family Law Program.”

Key Takeaway

This session will help attendees gain a better understanding of the basics of jurisdictional custody –how to avoid leading clients into unsuccessful litigation, how to reduce client costs, and to help clients to effectively litigate if they have to.”

Additional Session Information

This session is running Monday May 8, 2017. Make sure to whether or not you wish to attend this session in the comments section upon registration checkout.

Old Dogs, New Tricks | Deni Cashin

About the Session

About 95% of all the files we ever touch never go to court. This session reminds attendees to constantly think about more effective ways for settling files. It is important to constantly challenge ourselves to get out of our old routines and to think about strategies to bring family disputes to resolution. Everything we do – whether it is in collaboration, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, etc. – all of it requires that we constantly reexamine and improve how we help people “get to yes”. Deni is going to harvest ideas and strategies to share from other family law practitioners.”

About the Presenter

I know Deni personally as being one of those hard-working effective family lawyers, who – like all of us – is striving to constantly get better as a litigator and negotiator.”

Additional Session Information

This session is running Monday, May 8 (2017). Make sure to whether or not you wish to attend this session in the comments section upon registration checkout.

Register Online

Join us for the 50th Annual Refresher this May 7–9 in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Read the conference brochure to learn more about this once-in-a-career event.

Register on.lesa.org/50years.

Deni Cashin – Feature Volunteer

 LESA Update, Volunteer Profile  Comments Off on Deni Cashin – Feature Volunteer
Jan 262016

Deni Cashin

The latest LESA brochures are hot off the press! If you haven’t already received them in the mail, they should be hitting your desk soon. Twice a year we take an opportunity to let everyone know who our awesome volunteers are: that’s why we just published our July – December 2015 Volunteer Appreciation brochure.

This brochure is just a small way of saying thanks for all you do. LESA couldn’t function without all of the dedicated volunteers who give of their time and talent, so here’s a huge shout out and thank you to each of you!

In each volunteer appreciation brochure, we also highlight a feature volunteer who offered LESA exceptional support over the past 6 months. Since we work with hundreds of volunteers, picking just one person to highlight is a challenge, but in this brochure we’re featuring Deni Cashin.

Deni has been a loyal LESA supporter for many years. Most recently, she chaired our Domestic Contracts program and taught in the face-to-face Interviewing and Advising CPLED module.

You’ll find our interview with Deni on the front page of the brochure, where you can read about what drew her to law, why she volunteers, and more. We had such a great interview that we couldn’t fit everything into the brochure. So you’ll find even more in today’s blog.

Happy reading, and thanks again to Deni Cashin and all of our incredible volunteers!

Tell me about your practice.

I practice family law … at Daunais McKay Harms + Jones. … I have been practicing with some of the people in our office for fourteen years. My pervious firm merged with part of this firm in 2010, so I’ve been very lucky that way – to practice with people I know well and think of very highly. I am a certified collaborative lawyer. Collaborative law is a very defined process, whereby clients sign a contract saying they will negotiation based on interests with their lawyers, but if negotiations break down and either client needs to go to court then both clients must get new lawyers. That is part of my practice. I also spend quite a bit of time on family law files that aren’t collaborative – in the big “C” sense that I just described. So I go to court as needed, or I go to mediation, or I go to arbitration. Like many family lawyers, ADR is something that we try to do as much as possible – that’s Alternative Dispute Resolution. But when that isn’t possible or when it breakdown, we will go to court. … I never find it boring, that’s for sure. But I’m glad that I don’t need to dabble in any area other than family law, because that’s really my area of interest and knowledge.”

What do you like best about your job? Or is it hard to narrow that down?

Well, they say in family law that when you finally conclude a matter the best you can hope for is for the parties to be equally unhappy. But when you are able to resolve difficult issues for a client and they are satisfied with the outcome, that’s hugely rewarding. … If parties are able to come to an agreement in mediation, that is ideal because a third party such as a judge or arbitrator hasn’t forced the terms of the agreement on them – they’ve been able to mediate it themselves – and that often creates better enforcement and implementation after the fact, because it was the parties choice. Sometimes the parties are in a process of mediation-arbitration. There are maybe one or two items that they haven’t been able to get agreement on, and the arbitrator can make that decision, having tried to help the parties throughout the mediation. That can be equally effective. And sometimes there are some files that just are not amenable to mediation-arbitration. For example, if one of the parties has a mental illness or an unwillingness to be reasonable, then it may be necessary to go to court. If you prepare your case well and have obtained in court what your client has requested, then that too can be rewarding. So it just all depends on the particular file; each one is so different.”

What books do you currently have on the go?

One of my favorites is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It’s thick, but it’s fantastic. Right now I’m in the middle of a book by Anita Diamant – The Boston Girl. It’s a good read. I’ve belonged to a book club in Calgary for 20 years. … Over those 20 years the members have all become really good friends.”

Domestic Contracts – Now as a Seminar on Demand

 LESA Update, Resource, Seminars On Demand  Comments Off on Domestic Contracts – Now as a Seminar on Demand
Nov 172015

LESA is pleased to announce our latest seminar on demand: Domestic Contracts. The above introductory video with seminar chair Deni Cashin shows you what the program is all about, and today’s blog gives you additional details.

The seminar on demand provides you with course materials (as downloadable PDFs) and speaker presentations (as online, streamable videos). Together the materials and presentations cover several important topics:

This seminar on demand also offers many practical resources: it references recent case law and provides sample clauses, precedents, and checklists.

To gain access to this seminar on demand, you can register online now. Once we get your registration, we’ll send you your login credentials, and you can access all of these incredible resources online any time you’d like.

If you’re interested in other online resources, you can find a complete listing of available seminars on demand or information about the new LESA Library on our website.

Domestic Contracts – Gain Tips and Information

 Calgary, Edmonton, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Domestic Contracts – Gain Tips and Information
Sep 162015

Domestic Contracts image

UPDATE: This seminar occurred in the past, and the seminar materials are now available.

If you practice in family law, domestic contracts are probably a regular part of your routine – negotiating them, drafting them, and perhaps challenging them.

Whether you are new to the family law practice or you are more experienced and want to revisit the fundamentals on domestic contract topics, LESA’s upcoming Domestic Contracts seminar is for you.

Seminar chair Deni Cashin understands why lawyers approach domestic contracts with caution: there are many factors at play in this sometimes sticky business of domestic contract drafting.

If you find yourself looking for advice about how to handle domestic contracts, you’ll discover many helpful tips in this seminar. The goal of this program is to offer information that will form a guide for practitioners preparing domestic contracts, so that, as Deni says, “they can do all they can to assure themselves that the contract won’t be attacked in the future.”

This seminar is timely, since domestic contracts are becoming increasingly common, with more and more clients requesting prenuptial agreements or marriage contracts. For Deni, the drafting tips and considerations offered in this program are also important to keep in mind because “actions against lawyers who have signed prenups are becoming more common.”

With the drafting and challenging of domestic contracts happening more frequently, it is important to refresh your knowledge and keep yourself up-to-date. You probably wouldn’t argue with Deni’s statement that “lawyers don’t want to be negligent in the exercise of their practice.”

But are you confident that you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself? Deni points to statistics that show a significant percentage of negligence claims against lawyers arise out of domestic contract issues. Since these issues are posing challenges for many family lawyers, it’s important to keep your understanding of the issues current.

Four major topics will be covered at this seminar:

Domestic Contracts and Death
Patricia Daunais QC

Roxanne Petts
Rachel Woynorowski

Prenups, Cohabs, and Marriage Contracts
Monica Brown
John Evans

Traps for the Unwary
Laura Bruyer

A lot of ground will be covered by these experienced practitioners, and from Deni’s perspective, the main takeaways include practical information and tools:

  • Summary of major concerns lawyers should take heed of
  • Sample precedents and clauses for prenups and marriage contracts
  • Tips to avoid common drafting errors
  • Checklists to refer to when preparing domestic contracts

To gain all the benefits this program offers, register online now to attend in Edmonton (October 28) or Calgary (November 4). Make sure you register by September 22 to take advantage of the special early bird discount.