Learn More About LESA
Discover why we are proud to be your lifelong partner in continuing legal excellence.
Our history, mission, vision, and values serve as the foundation for our present and future business activities.
To serve the spectrum of educational and professional development needs of Alberta’s lawyers, articling students, and their staff.
To set standards of excellence in the education of lawyers, articling students, and their staff.
- We are professional. We believe in providing consistent, high-quality pre-call and continuing legal education designed to support the legal profession in effectively, ethically, and competently serving the public.
- We are collaborative. We believe in building relationships with members of the legal community, and with other continuing legal education providers, to continually enhance our offerings.
- We are innovative. We believe in leveraging current knowledge and technology to provide engaging educational experiences that respond to the diverse needs of the legal profession.
- We are responsible with our resources. We feel a strong obligation to stakeholders to exercise the utmost fiscal responsibility. We responsibly plan and manage our resources, allocate them conscientiously, and invest them for a sustainable future.
In 1975, a group of visionary individuals gathered together to create a remarkable instrument designed to meet the needs of the legal profession and the public that it serves: the Legal Education Society of Alberta. Our organization was structured to assume existing continuing legal educational activities, and to respond to future needs as they would evolve. Our two main mandates were sound pre-call training for students-at-law, and quality continuing professional development for the entire profession thereafter.
In 1976, the first Executive Director of LESA was hired. Peter Owen QC was a distinguished Edmonton barrister with the kind of reputation and personality that could imbue our organization with the recognition and stature so necessary for its success. Peter Owen was followed in 1979 by William Galloway who served as Executive Director until 1983; Professor John Law then held the office for nine months. Hugh A. Robertson, QC became the Executive Director in 1984. Paul F. Wood succeeded Hugh Robertson in 2008 and served in the position until 2013. Jennifer Flynn then led our team to success for 4 years followed by Maura O. Sutherland. Currently, Christine Sanderman is the Interim Executive Director and Counsel.
The Executive Director – in addition to participating in Meetings of the Benchers of the Law Society, the Council of the Canadian Bar Association, and other activities – plays a key role in pre-call admission training as the Director of the Canadian Centre of Professional Legal Education (CPLED) Alberta. Over the years, nearly 9000 students have benefited from our pre-call admission training activities. Our Bar Admission Course has evolved from lectures in hotel meeting rooms into the regional CPLED Program with both online and face-to-face learning and testing.
Since inception, we have developed over 850 continuing legal education programs and courses, accounting for an estimated 125,000 attendees over roughly 2000 sessions. We have sold nearly 4500 books in our Practice Manual series – not counting regular updates – along with thousands of other publications. Our flagship Annual Refresher Course, which pre-dates the formation of our organization, celebrated its fortieth anniversary in May of 2007.
Today, we continue to focus on delivering exceptional face-to-face legal education and educational resources to the entire spectrum of Alberta legal community.
Through the vision of our forebears, our organization is supported by hundreds of loyal volunteers, assisted by a team of dedicated professionals, and respected for its excellence across Canada and beyond. The organization created in 1975 continues to evolve to support the legal profession. While our content, delivery, and educational methodologies have changed, our essential function has not. We remain the lifelong partner of the legal profession in a common pursuit of continuing legal excellence.