May 022016

Register for upcoming May 2016 events today!

May Programs

Check out today’s blog for information on May 2016 upcoming legal events that you won’t want to miss, as LESA’s programming starts to wind down for the 2015/2016 educational year.

Complete Lawyer

Register online to attend in Lethbridge (May 6)

  • Get tips for answering commonly asked questions in 6 areas of law. Discuss practical issues from how to successfully navigate difficult litigation issues to addressing agricultural real estate concerns.
  • Read the blog to find out what seminar chair Deirdre M.I. McKenna had to say about the value of this program.
Estate Planning for Blended Families

Register online to attend in Edmonton (May 10) or in Calgary (May 17)

  • With divorce and re-marriage rates on the rise, wills and estates practitioners are increasingly facing more challenging cases. Don’t miss the chance to gain practical tools and advice for representing blended families.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Karen A. Platten QC for a sneak preview of the discussion topics and main program takeaways.
Criminal Advocacy – Experts

Register online to attend in Calgary (May 14) or in Edmonton (May 28)

  • Learn how to face complex trials using expert evidence. Participate in a demonstration voir dire, and discover important insights from the perspectives of the Crown, the Defence, and the Bench to help refine your practice.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Karen E. Hewitt QC for an overview of some of the key program goals and learning outcomes.
Privacy Update

Register online to attend in Calgary (May 19) or in Edmonton (May 25)

  • Delve into the constantly progressing world of access and privacy, and explore a road map for addressing these issues. Discuss key issues and trends, investigative reports, and more.
  • Read the blog with seminar chair Ritu Khullar QC and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, Jill Clayton for a sneak peek of some of the key questions to be addressed.
Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflict

Register online to attend in Calgary (May 16–20) – ONLY TWO SPOTS LEFT

  • Gain over 40 hours of intensive hands-on training in this course that is recognized by the collaborative law associations in Alberta.

Registration Savings

There are only a few programs left in this 2015/2016 educational year, and the last early bird deadline is coming up soon on May 3!

The Constitution in the Insolvency Tool Box

Register online to attend in Edmonton (June 9) – Early Bird ENDS May 3

  • Discover how constitutional and insolvency law intersect to shape division of powers jurisprudence, discharge in personal bankruptcy, regulators’ enforcement of powers, receivership, and priority ranking of creditors.

The registration deadline for the 2016/2017 CPLED year is May 31, 2016. Students who do not apply by this date are subject to a non-refundable late filing fee. Read the blog for more information and to register online.

If you have any questions, contact LESA’s Student Coordinator, Ashley Iachetta.

Legal Community Events

Players de Novo – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

On May 6, the 11th annual legal community play is taking on a Shakespearian tone, and the night promises to be as entertaining as ever. Read the blog for more information.

AssistFit Events

Assist has two AssitFit events – to promote health and wellness – scheduled for May. To learn more about AssistFit, read our blog.

Law Day

Although most Law Day activities wrapped up in April, you can still be part of the fun in Fort McMurray on May 28. If you want more info on the kinds of events that happened throughout the province, read the blog to learn more.

Assist Speaker Series – Amanda Lindhout

This May 30 (Calgary) and June 1 (Edmonton) marks the 2nd speaker series event hosted by CPA Assist and the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society – where Amanda Lindhout speaks about her experience as a hostage in Somalia, forgiveness, resilience, social responsibility, and more. Read the blog for registration information and event details.

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

November 2015: Upcoming Legal Events

 Calgary, Edmonton, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on November 2015: Upcoming Legal Events
Nov 032015

Mark your calenders!

November is upon us, bringing with it many exciting continuing legal education seminars (not mention the first of this year’s snowflakes!).

Today’s blog fills you in on all the seminars happening this month. Each seminar still has room available, but some are almost full, so make sure you register now to save your seat.

Top Wills and Estates Law Cases – November 3 (Calgary)
While it’s too late to register for this program, the seminar materials will be available for sale later this month.

Domestic Contracts – November 4 (Calgary)
Examine domestic contracts and learn how to negotiate, draft, and challenge them.

Mediation of Family & Divorce Conflicts – November 9-13 (Calgary)
Develop the skills, knowledge, and understanding to build a competent and professional mediation practice in this intensive program that is recognized by the collaborative law associations in Alberta.

5th Annual Law and Practice Update – November 13-14 (Edmonton)
Gain substantive legal updates, practice management tips, and networking opportunities in this program that is targeted to solo and small firm practitioners. Attendees are entitled to a $75 loss prevention rebate on your Alberta Professional Liability Insurance Levy.

PCLaw® Basics – November 16 (Edmonton) and November 19 (Calgary)
Learn how to effectively input data into the program’s software by discovering more about the program interface, basic settings, Register, and more. Attendees are entitled to a $75 loss prevention rebate on your Alberta Professional Liability Insurance Levy.

PCLaw® Beyond the Basics – November 17 (Edmonton) and November 20 (Calgary)
Review how to extract and use the data housed in the program with discussion of more advanced topics, tips, and functionality. Attendees are entitled to a $75 loss prevention rebate on your Alberta Professional Liability Insurance Levy.

Research for Legal Support Staff – November 17 (Edmonton) and November 24 (Calgary)
Discover how you can support the practitioners in your office with valuable legal research skills. Learn about the best reference tools, proper legal citation, how to make sure your information is current, and more.

Drafting Your First Will – November 18 (Edmonton) and November 25 (Calgary)
Gain confidence in drafting your first will. Review property disposable by a will, drafting considerations, common drafting errors, and how to prepare a standard will.

Enjoy the seminars this month!

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.