Feb 292016

March 2016: Upcoming Legal Events

It’s hard to believe that March is upon us, but it’s here and it’s a busy month at LESA! Check out today’s blog to so you don’t miss any key dates or events.

March Programs

Advanced Estate – PROGRAM FULL
Runs in Edmonton (March 1) and in Calgary (March 9).

  • Delve into advanced estate topics with other experienced wills & estates practitioners.

Advanced Lender
Register online to attend in Edmonton (March 2) or Calgary (March 10).

  • Discuss current banking and finance issues with other senior practitioners who work exclusively or predominately in the area of lender/borrower.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Kerry Day QC to learn what you’ll gain from this program and what topics will be covered this year.

Family Law 25
Register online to attend in Edmonton (March 3) or Calgary (March 10).

  • Review the top 5 cases relevant to 5 pressing family law issues: parenting, child support, spousal support, matrimonial property, and unjust enrichment. Also discover tax tips relevant to each topic.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Marla Miller QC to discover the top 5 most valuable takeaways you’ll walk away with after attending this program.
Registration Savings

Special early bird discounts are ending soon for the following programs. Register now and save!

Enduring Powers of Attorney and Personal Directives – ENDS March 1
Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 5) or Calgary (April 12).

  • Examine both the common and the extraordinary issues you face when dealing with enduring powers of attorney and personal directives.
  • Read the blog for more information on the topics covered and the range of perspectives addressed.

Unanimous Shareholder Agreement Disputes – ENDS March 1
Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 6) or Calgary (April 20).

  • Discover information, tips, and best practices for dealing with (and helping prevent) shareholder disputes.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Bryan Haynes to hear more about top program topics and takeaways.

Legal Project Management – ENDS March 8
Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 13) or Calgary (April 14).

  • Explore project management principles that can help build your practice, increase your efficiency, and keep your clients satisfied.
  • Read the blog with presenter Pamela Woldow to learn more about what project management is, why you’ll want to add these concepts to your practice management tool box, and what you’ll gain from this program.

Questioning – ENDS March 15
Register online to attend in Edmonton (April 19) or Calgary (April 28).

  • Review the scope of questioning, and discuss the use of questioning evidence, cross examination, exhibits, documents, and undertakings.
CPLED Update

Do you need to register for next year’s CPLED Program? 2016/2017 registration opens March 1.

There are several 2015/2016 CPLED modules running this month:

  • Ethics & Professionalism. This online module runs March 3 to March 10.
  • Negotiations & Practice Fundamental. This face-to-face module runs in Calgary (March 14–18) and in Edmonton (March 21–22).

If you are a current student with questions about either of these modules, please contact LESA’s Student Coordinator Ashley Iachetta at 780.969.3557 or ashley.iachetta@lesa.org.

Legal Community: Dates and Deadlines

CPA Assist Speaker Series – Running on Empty: Understanding Family Caregiver Fatigue
Attend this Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist) program in Calgary (March 2) or Edmonton (March 3) to learn more about the challenges family caregivers face and strategies for staying healthy while juggling these demands. Learn more in our recent blog post.

Declare Your CPD Plan
All lawyers are required to submit a CPD Plan (Continuing Professional Development Plan) to the Law Society of Alberta by March 15.

LESA Summer Students Wanted
Interested applicants can learn more in our recent blog post. Apply by March 21 to Daniel García at daniel.garcia@lesa.org.

February 2016: Upcoming Legal Events

 Calgary, Edmonton, Legal News: Alberta, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on February 2016: Upcoming Legal Events
Feb 022016

February 2016: Upcoming Legal Events

Stay up-to-date on upcoming legal events and programs. Today’s blog shares our program dates and early bird deadlines for the upcoming month.

February Programs

Drafting, Pleadings, Affidavits, and Orders: The Pleading Edge
Register online to attend in Edmonton (February 9) or Calgary (February 17).

  • Discover best practices, review current case law, and explore the role that pleadings play in framing your case.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair James Kindrake to learn what you’ll gain from this seminar that brings together a broad range of perspectives (from the civil litigator and family law practitioner to a Queen’s Bench Justice).

Advanced Child Support
Register online to attend in Edmonton (February 10) or Calgary (February 23).

  • Explore what’s at play in high income cases, responsibility for post-secondary expenses, section 7 and section 18 considerations, and other complicated child support issues.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Pam Bell to hear why experienced practitioners should attend this program to gain insight into issues from one end of the child support spectrum to the other.

Search Warrants
Register online to attend in Edmonton (February 19) or Calgary (February 26).

  • Recognize different types of warrants and how to utilize them. Discuss Garofoli Applications, constitutional challenges, privacy expectations, delay in access to counsel, and more.
  • Read the blog with seminar co-chair Karen Molle to discover more about the cutting edge topics discussed in this program targeted to both Crown and Defence counsel.
Registration Savings

Register now to take advantage of special early bird pricing for the following upcoming programs:

ENDING February 2

Family Law 25
Register online to attend in Edmonton (March 3) or Calgary (March 8).

  • Review the top 5 cases relevant to 5 family law issues: child support, spousal support, matrimonial property, parenting, and unjust enrichment. Also discover tax tips related to each of these areas.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Marla Miller QC for her top 5 reasons why you’ll benefit from this program, from the valuable information you’ll gain to understanding current court perspectives.

ENDING February 16

49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate
Register online to attend in Lake Louise (April 24–26).

  • Focus on common practice, thorny issues, and new methods in real estate. Engage in 6 half-day sessions geared towards all practitioners who want to keep current in the practice of real estate law.
  • Read the blog to find out what you can expect from this year’s 2016 Refresher program.

If you’re coming to Lake Louise for the 49th Annual Refresher: Real Estate, why not also register for the add-on program: Alberta Land Titles Online?

  • Read the blog with Curtis Woollard, from Land Titles North, to learn more about what you’ll gain from this add-on program and how the upcoming changes to implement digital signatures in land titles transactions will affect your practice.
  • Register online for Alberta Land Titles Online in Lake Louise on April 23.
CPLED Modules

Interviewing and Advising
This mandatory CPLED module runs in Calgary or Edmonton (February 8–12).

  • Interact in a face-to-face environment that includes instruction in and testing competence for interviewing and advising skills.
  • If you are a current CPLED student and have any questions about this module, please contact the LESA Student Coordinator Ashley Iachetta at ashley.iachetta@lesa.org or 780.969.3557.
Events in the Legal Community

Western Canada Class Actions Conference
Register online to attend the live program in Vancouver or the live webinar (February 26).

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 renee.vandermeulen@lesa.org

Family Law 25 – Discover the Latest Case Law

 Calgary, Edmonton, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Family Law 25 – Discover the Latest Case Law
Jan 202016

Register for Family Law 25

Whether you’ve been practicing family law for 2 or 20 years, we bet you’ll walk away from LESA’s upcoming Family Law 25  program with a greater understanding of current case law.

Program Topics

Review the top 5 cases relevant to 5 areas of practice:

  1. Parenting – with Kenneth Proudman
  2. Child Support – with John-Paul Boyd
  3. Spousal Support – with Anne Ferguson Switzer QC
  4. Matrimonial Property – with Judy Boyes QC
  5. Unjust Enrichment – with Richard Rand QC

As seminar chair Marla Miller QC  explains, tax tips (by Michelle Bailey) will be interspersed as they’re relevant to each topic, and presenters plan to highlight more than 5 cases each – so you’ll be getting even more than you bargained for and the program could easily have been called Family Law 30 rather than Family Law 25!

Instead of covering the seminal cases that everyone already knows about and that are easily accessible, you’ll gain information about a wide variety of current topics and cases. That’s why this program will benefit a range of practitioners – from new lawyers to more seasoned veterans.

Marla put it this way:

I don’t think it’s going to be complicated to the point where a new lawyer or someone new to this practice area is going to have any difficulty, but it’s certainly not going to bore to tears the more senior lawyers either.”

Program Benefits

In an interview earlier this week, we asked Marla what attendees would find most valuable from Family Law 25. In sticking with the top 5 theme of the program, here are the top 5 benefits she identified:

1. Gain up-to-date information. Course presenters are watching for any late, breaking cases to include in their talks and papers.

2. Explore a range of topics. This one-day review runs the gamut of family law topics, so attendees will gather a lot of information and cover a lot of ground in a single program.

3. Focus on practical implications. Because the seminar focuses on the practical effect these cases have on practice, you’ll walk away with useful information you can implement back in the office.

4. Understand current court perspectives. Knowing what the courts are thinking about and doing with current cases helps any lawyer. It helps litigators better prepare for their own cases, but it also helps lawyers who don’t appear in court as they prepare their agreements and think about how to best prevent their clients from having to go to court.

5. Hear from a range of presenters. With both senior lawyers and a few newer, younger lawyers on this interactive panel, you’ll hear various points of view to help expand your understanding of the issues.

To learn more about the program, topics, and what you’ll gain, read the program brochure.

Register Online

Register now to attend in Edmonton (March 3) or Calgary (March 8).

To take advantage of the early bird registration savings, sign up for the program by February 2.

Reflections from our 2015 Law Summer Students

 CPLED, Law Students, LESA Update, News  Comments Off on Reflections from our 2015 Law Summer Students
Sep 022015

Over the past few months we’ve had two incredible law summer students working here at LESA! Allison Boutillier and Kristine Gu joined us back at the beginning of May, and we wanted to share what they learned while working at LESA and why they enjoyed spending the summer here.

What did you do here at LESA this summer and what did you most enjoy about your job?

Kristine and Allison both emphasized the researching, writing, and editing experience they gained – especially while working on the new wills & estates practice manuals that LESA is preparing. They also helped work on some of LESA’s online courses and the new LESA Library, in addition to writing several blogs. Want to see some of their work? Read their practice profile blogs with Marla Miller QC and Donna Tingley.

The rest of the LESA staff also had the opportunity to benefit from their knowledge during two LESA coffee talks: Allison spoke about intestacy and Kristine discussed copyright issues. Both of these presentations were interesting, informative, and greatly appreciated by the LESA staff!

I really enjoyed making that PowerPoint presentation [for the LESA coffee talk on intestacy]. I expanded into features of PowerPoint that I have never used before, [and it] is surprisingly fun to make everything on the screen move. Using the polling technology [the audience response units we use at LESA seminars] was really interesting to me. … [My presentation] was really based around user interaction and having the constant audience feedback – that was the driving force. … The talk was a bit of an opportunity to explore, especially in an area where we’ve worked … all summer, and then I could take it and do what I wanted to do with it.” Allison

The blog was one of the most interesting parts, especially the practice profile series … because it was interactive and it was interesting for us too – we got to talk to the lawyers in the community. …I also really enjoyed the [LESA Library]. It was something different – it wasn’t something you would really do in a law office. It was interesting browsing all the content, because it gave me a little bit of insight about what the website will look like. It was interesting watching the transition between [hardcopy] manuals and wiki, especially trying to match up the chapters. I think it’s good to be part of … LESA growing in the online world – to be able to be a part of that change. … I like how LESA’s moving that way, with the blog and Twitter and Facebook. It’s very rare to see organizations actually integrate so many platforms in the right way. I think a lot of organizations kind of separate their social media and aren’t able to align it, so for your blog you have Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all together – so that’s good. I enjoy technology stuff.” Kristine

What is one thing you learned about LESA that you think other people
should know?

The CPLED Program (pre-call training for Alberta lawyers) comprises a large part of what LESA does. Neither Kristine nor Allison worked on any CPLED materials while doing their editing, researching, and writing this summer, but CPLED will be a part of their not-so-distant future, so it’s not surprising that they were interested in how the program works and in the faces behind it – those people who keep the CPLED Program running smoothly.

For both of them, one of the biggest things they learned was how much support LESA offers to CPLED students.

LESA’s not out to get people. … Everyone is so supportive. They take each student very seriously, and it’s not as if a student is just a number … If there’s an issue, they’ll try to work with you.” Kristine

I don’t know if you guys appreciate how much it’s sort of like looking behind the curtain. … [Those] students who are trying to get through CPLED don’t get to see that you call Ashley, who is so kind and will actually care. That’s what people should know – the person who does a great deal of the work on CPLED is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet, and I think that would help students to know that they can call Ashley.” Allison

Kristine was also impressed by the work that LESA is doing to reach out to students who are still in law school. “Another thing I learned about LESA … [is that they’re] really trying to interact with students … [by] increasing their presence with more student-oriented blogs and things like that.”

Thinking down the road to your future as a lawyer, how do you think that working at LESA helped build the skills that you will need to do that job well?

I think at LESA we were lucky because we were able to do some legal research related things – things that a law student would have done at a law firm. But like I said at the beginning of the summer – and I think it showed itself through the people – we were able to develop those skills in a very friendly and welcoming environment. Karen was very supportive. … We did some things that we weren’t sure if we were qualified to do, and I think that was a really big learning experience filling that gap by myself. But then Karen was very supportive. She never made us feel bad about what we weren’t doing properly. She walked us through it. In terms of skills, I think it gave me the confidence to take some risks. In terms of researching things I wasn’t familiar with – I’ve never taken a wills and estates class before – I walked in I was like, “Oh man, I’m not sure if I’m able to do this.” But I came to realize that you can start from nothing and work from there. School isn’t the only place you can learn. So being resourceful [is important]: being able to walk away with something and work on in it for a bit – even if you’re not right, just putting the effort in and learning about it – and then being able to confidently ask for feedback.” Kristine

We did a lot of work on the practice manuals, … and it was an opportunity to go through some of the materials that are more practical. What we do in class is comparatively theoretical, and here we’re going through a manual that’s targeted at lawyers for development purposes that focuses on which form to fill out and things that aren’t going to get covered in a theoretical course. So personally, and very selfishly, I’ve had the opportunity to just learn things, because going through and editing the manuals means reading them. Or … looking through some of the manuals to see what would work well as an online course meant I literally sat down and read some of the binders. … So I just got to sit there and read it and learn things that are very practical. I think that exposure helps a lot. I have a little toe in the door of all the things that we’re going to see right away outside of law school but that we’re not getting as much exposure to in law school.” Allison

We’re so glad that Kristine and Allison learned a lot from working here at LESA, and we’re grateful for all the help they gave us this summer. We hope they’ll be able to share more of their insights with all us during this upcoming year as guest bloggers, so stay tuned to hear more from them throughout the year. If you want, you can even follow the blog by entering your email at the top, right hand side of this page – that way you’ll be sure to see their blogs when they are posted.

Practice Profile – Family Law with Marla Miller QC

 Practice Profile  Comments Off on Practice Profile – Family Law with Marla Miller QC
Jul 302015

Marla MillerIn this latest instalment of our practice profile series, we continue to explore the different directions your legal education can take you by speaking with Marla Miller QC of the Miller Boileau Family Law Group. Marla shares with us her experiences and insight on becoming a sole practitioner, the family law practice, and the family law bar as a community.

At Miller Boileau, Marla and her colleagues have each taken on a unique role – be it a mediator, litigator, or collaborative family lawyer – to offer their clients a full range of services. Marla focuses on using mediation and collaborative family law to seek out a suitable arrangement for her clients and the parties involved.

At first glance, Miller Boileau may look and act like a small firm; however, it enjoys the structure of an association of lawyers. As Marla explained, “It is the best of both worlds in that there is support from … a group of family lawyers but you also have all the good things that come with being a sole practitioner.

Before starting her own practice in 1990, Marla worked at both a small and a mid-size firm. Her motivation to go solo came from her surroundings as well as her interest in the business side of a law practice. The idea of becoming a sole practitioner may be a daunting one, but Marla shares with us some advice that she kept in her pocket when starting out.

If you have the choice to work with a lawyer for five years and if you are doing good work and your clients are happy and sending you referrals, after five years you’ve done enough and seen enough that you have a good chance of surviving on your own.

In terms of a typical day, Marla is usually able to meet with two sets of clients, as most meetings take up a full morning or afternoon. The freedom and flexibility to set her own schedule is certainly important to her, but one of the things that Marla values the most as a family lawyer is also what sets the practice apart from others.

In family law, you can only make a bad situation better. When people come to you and are having a terrible time, you can help them get to a better place.

This ability to aid and guide people through a difficult situation is a driving force for many in their pursuit of a family law career. How to set off upon the path to reach that position, however, can be unclear. When students interested in family law ask her about articling, Marla’s answer may seem counterintuitive at first, but it is not without reason.

Don’t article at a family law firm. Instead, try articling at a general practice firm. You need to learn all the other skills in order to be a good family lawyer. Talk to the firm and tell them that, while you want to learn everything, you think you might want to end up in family law. They might already be sending the work off, and you could end up being an asset to the firm.

Students can also find comfort in knowing that the family law bar is supportive and that there are opportunities for mentorship and guidance. Marla reassured us that “if people have questions, they can probably call any family lawyer. It’s a very generous and collegial bar. We like to help people get to where they need to be in their lives. It’s what we do.

We appreciate Marla’s willingness to share her insight and expertise as well as her valuable advice for pursuing family law. We bring this chapter of our series to a close with something that has stuck with us and most certainly will stick with you. When asked about the impact her work has on her clients, Marla answered that, at the end of the day, being a family lawyer is not all about winning.

You close your file and go on to your next client, but whatever has happened is the story that these people have to live with. If you’re not helping the whole person and looking only at the legal problem, you’re doing a disservice. You do a disservice to the client, you do a disservice to their children, and, in the long run, you do a disservice to yourself.

Kristine Gu
LESA Summer Student

Upcoming Seminar – Matrimonial Property Division

 Calgary, Edmonton, LESA Update, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Upcoming Seminar – Matrimonial Property Division
Nov 262014

Matrimonial Property Division Seminar

UPDATE: This seminar occurred in the past, and the seminar materials are now available.
• LESA Library subscribers can already access course materials through the LESA Library.
• Alternatively you can purchase course materials a la carte (search matrimonial property division).
• You can also view the list of upcoming seminars to discover live programs that are available now.

LESA’s 2014 seminar offerings have almost concluded, but we’re getting ready to ring in the new year with a whole range of exciting programs, including the Matrimonial Property Division seminar.

We recently spoke with seminar chair and Best Lawyers 2014 family law Lawyer of the Year award recipient Kevin Hannah QC about why attendees will benefit from this seminar.

He indicated that a “good range of younger and very experienced family lawyers from both Edmonton and Calgary” will be presenting at the seminar. The panel includes 7 faculty:

With roughly a 150 years combined experience, this panel has an impressive wealth of insight to share with seminar attendees. Hannah anticipates one of the seminar’s main takeaways will be the opportunity for participants to hear the “stories, tips, and approaches” that experienced family lawyers will share about “how to deal with the more difficult matrimonial property questions that they face in their everyday practice.”

Hannah indicated that the seminar will be valuable to family law practitioners for two reasons: you will “gain insight into recent developments in the law and practical applications of the law to your family law practice.”

On one hand, by attending this seminar you’ll get caught up on the more academic aspects of the law, since you’ll receive “updates on the most recent, relevant matrimonial property cases.”

On the other hand, you’ll learn practical skills and tips, such as how to use Excel spreadsheets in negotiation and the top 10 things clients wish you know about settlement.

Read the brochure for more information about the topics covered in the seminar.

Don’t miss this seminar! Register online now to reserve your spot.

Edmonton – January 20, 2015
Calgary – February 3, 2015

Note: Since Brad Mustard will be discussing how to use Excel spreadsheets, we’d recommend bringing your laptop or tablet to the seminar so you can follow along in Excel as he is presenting.