There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has had an affect our world. Yet, despite the uncertainty of these times, there are many who are choosing to get creative and are finding ways to navigate the global crisis with innovation, determination, and connection. One such initiative is the weekly virtual chat put on by the Canadian Bar Association coined, “Coffee in the Times of COVID“. These online gatherings create a supportive space for young lawyers and law students to meet and discuss topics of interest and the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, both personally and professionally. Enabling connection is at the forefront of this virtual coffee chat with topics that focus on professional challenges/opportunities, personal growth, and creative ways to maintain wellness in these unprecedented times.
1. THE LOST JOBS SERIES
The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious impacts both on our healthcare system and our economy. As a result, many Canadians have lost jobs or been laid off temporarily as their employers weather the financial storm. The legal profession has not been immune to these challenges, and as a result, many young lawyers and law students have lost jobs or upcoming opportunities. In this series, sessions will explore the impacts of COVID-19 on summer positions, articling, and associate jobs, and participants will be encouraged to share their experiences, resources, and tips with other young lawyers and law students from across Canada.
2. THE WELL-BEING SERIES
While physical distancing will keep Canadians safe from COVID-19, it has really turned everyone’s lives upside down. Whether you are stressed about your upcoming graduation being cancelled or cannot seem to figure out how to remain productive while working from home, the struggle is real. In this series, we will explore topics relating to promoting well-being during these strange times, while trying to come up with collective ideas on how to keep calm and carry on.
Anyone who is a member of the CBA can propose a topic, so long as it falls under one of the above noted streams. Gatherings are limited to nine participants to maintain intimacy and are about an hour long on Wednesdays and Fridays beginning at 11:00 AM EST.
Did you know that webinar registration includes access to the recording? That means, that even if you are unable to make the live broadcast date, you will receive the Webinar on Demand to watch and learn at your convenience. Wherever your summer plans may take you, LESA is dedicated to providing you with continuing legal education that meets you where you are.
Whether you are watching on your laptop in the backyard or at your office, LESA webinars will ensure you stay up-to-date and current in your practice.
Presenter: Spencer Ord, MBA, CPA, CA, CBV, CFF, National Deputy Leader, Disputes, Deloitte
Attend this webinar to learn how to identify irregularities in financial statements. Gain a better understanding of how to uncover transactions and balances that are “managed” or manipulated. Review examples of the typical hot spots and walk away with increased knowledge of how you can uncover irregularities or build evidence to establish your client’s position.
Presenter:Christine E. Hicks, Hicks Intellectual Property Law
Whether your client is a large energy company actively involved in research and development, a start-up microbrewery, or a small business selling t-shirts online, your client owns intellectual property. Businesses can create value by adopting an IP strategy that includes identifying their IP assets, determining whether to register rights in their IP, creating a plan to commercialize their IP, and monitoring and enforcing their IP rights. It is also important that businesses conduct the necessary inquiries and searches to evaluate the risk of infringing third party IP rights.
This webinar will provide practical information so that you can understand the types of IP owned by your clients and the steps that can be taken to develop and implement an IP strategy. The webinar will also touch on the nature of the IP profession and some of the tools used by IP practitioners to assist their clients.
Attend this webinar to explore common drafting errors made by real estate agents and lawyers alike. Gain a greater understanding of what goes into properly drafting a holdback clause, how to take simple things out of the contract (such as RPRs), and what to do when changing the “standard” terms of the AREA contract. Attendees will address commonly confused issues, and walk away with increased clarity surrounding basic principals of real estate contracts.
Co-Presenters: Ken Proudman, Barr Picard Law and Darryl R. Antel, Felesky Flynn LLP
Learn about basic tax concepts, how the Income Tax Act classifies different sources of income in order to identify when an asset should be discounted for tax, how to minimize taxes when structuring a transfer of land or business in your family property settlement, the difference between tax credits, benefits, deductions, and amounts, and how changing parenting arrangements during the pandemic could affect their calculation.
Co-Presenters: Ken Proudman, Barr Picard Law and Radhika Gauthier, CPA, CA, Gauthier Professional Corporation
Review tax deductions, benefits, amounts, and credits as they relate to family law, with particular focus on support and legal fee deductions, child care expenses, and the Tax Court’s new approach to the Amount for Eligible Dependent. Although some tax concepts will be briefly reviewed, attending Part 1 is recommended, especially for practitioners less familiar with these concepts.
Identify risks and explore how you can improve your firm systems to be resilient and protected throughout this rapidly changing legal environment. This webinar will especially benefit sole practitioners and small firms.
Attendees will walk away with recommended steps to prevent loss and greater clarity on how to navigate key risks as they relate to cyberattacks, ransomware, client confidentiality, undue influence, and more.
On July 8, join Dr. Daren K. Heyland, MD, MSc, FRCPC to discuss the role lawyers play regarding medical decisions that patients and their agents must make when facing serious illness, such as COVID-19. Assess the challenges of ill-prepared patients and their agents, and the opportunity for doctors and lawyers to work together to the betterment of their patients/clients in our upcoming webinar, “Re-thinking Advance Medical Care Planning: The Evolving Collaboration Between Doctors and Lawyers”
Explore the deficiencies in current medical decision-making related to serious illness, and how a free, online, decision support tool called Plan Well Guide can facilitate collaboration between the medical and legal professions.
For additional insight on this important topic, read on! Click here to register for “Re-thinking Advance Medical Care Planning: The Evolving Collaboration Between Doctors and Lawyers”.
The Importance of Preparing for Advance Serious Illness Preparations and Planning (ASIPP)
Guest Author: Dr. Daren K. Heyland, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine, Queen’s University and critical care doctor, Kingston Health Sciences Centre
With the COVID-19 pandemic having spread around the world at such an alarming rate, it caused a great deal of anxiety among people. Many have been left wondering what sort of impact this serious illness might have on them and their loved ones. To reduce this stress, some people were calling for end of life or Advance Care Plan(ACP).[i],[ii] Traditionally, these ACPs have focused on end-of-life or terminal care plans. Unfortunately, those plans are not necessarily suitable for the situation we are currently facing as a result of COVID-19. Planning for death under conditions of certainty (like when you have end-stage cancer) is not the same as planning for serious illnesses with uncertain outcomes (like COVID-19 pneumonia). Let me explain this all in more detail.
Awhile back, I had a conversation with an older woman, about her advance medical care plans. Immediately, when we started the conversation about her wishes, she emphatically stated, “I would never want to be on machines” as she shook her head with a firm look of determination on her face. I was sitting in her living room in a nicely appointed, well-kept house. She was a spry, fit older person. It seemed odd to me that she should categorically refuse such potentially life-sustaining treatments. I asked, “So, what if, when you were sick there was a probability of recovery in which we could get you better and back to your baseline function, would it be worth it to you, to go on machines temporarily?” The previous look of determination vanished and gave way to a wide-eyed, almost panicked look as she said, “I don’t know! What do you think?” I went on to explain the nature of serious illness, that we don’t always know if patients will recover or die, and if they recover, what kind of shape the person will be in. She later confessed that she thought we were talking about the end of her life, that when she was dying she didn’t want to have her dying experience prolonged with machines.
Many people, including lawyers and health care professionals, associate ACP with planning for future end of life or terminal care.[iii],[iv],[v]This movement stems from society’s understandable fear regarding how technology unleashed can keep people alive in health state’s worse than death. The right to self-determination is now entrenched in law in many states and provinces and people are encouraged to fill out advance directives or living wills that pre-specify the medical treatments they want or will not want when they are dying. Unfortunately, these kind of planning tools are not valid in Ontario and are not useful to us as clinicians either. Most of the care plans or instruction directives are framed around conditions of certainty, “if I am dying, I don’t want this or I do want this…” However, most of the clinical scenarios where we need to make preference-sensitive decisions regarding the use of life-sustaining treatments are situated early in the clinical course where the outcomes are uncertain. I remember a patient who was intubated with respiratory failure secondary to heart failure and transferred up to the ICU. When I met with the family, they produced a living will that said he did not want any ‘heroics’ and the family was upset that his wishes were not honored. I set aside the written document to explore what they thought he meant when he wrote the document. Once again, they confirmed that he was trying to say that when he was dying or in some persistent terrible health state, such as coma, that he wouldn’t want life-sustaining machines. I asked, “When he made this living will, do you think he was thinking of a situation like this, where with just a few hours of positive pressure ventilation and diuresis, we have a good chance of getting him off the machines quickly and fully recovered? They unanimously agreed he was likely not thinking of his current clinical context when he filled out his living will. As a critical care doctor, I would argue in the context of life and death decision-making, we cannot have uncertainty, misunderstandings, or ambiguity about the meaning of people’s wishes. So, what then is the value of these kinds of ACP, AD and/or living wills in the context of serious illness? They may be helpful in planning your death (under conditions of certainty) but they are not helpful in the context of serious illness where the outcome is uncertain when decisions have to be made. Rather than pre-specify medical decisions in advance, how do we better prepare people (and their substitute decision-makers) to make medical decisions in the future, when they are seriously ill?
Plan Well Guide fills this gap and helps doctors and lawyers to work together to help people prepare optimally for future serious illness. Plan Well Guide is a free online planning tool which helps people discover their authentic values and informed treatment preferences and provides resources that will help make medical treatment decisions in a reliable and transparent way. It has been shown in the context of a randomized trial to improve decisional quality and satisfaction with decision-making and reduce physician time spent on decision-making (because the patient is more prepared).[vi]
At Plan Well Guide, we would love to collaborate with lawyers and have them encourage their clients to name and prepare their substitute decision-maker and fill out the necessary forms to support that determination. But in their power of attorney of health care, please stop drafting instructional directives, specifying the nature of medical treatments that the patient wants or does not want. These instructions do not have any validity, are not supported by health law and have little clinical utility. Instead, the power of attorney for health care should be instructed to work with their family doctor to make health care decisions on behalf of the patient based on their current understanding of the person’s values and preferences. The output of the Plan Well Guide planning tool is a ‘Dear Doctor’ letter which summarizes the patient’s authentic values and informed treatment preferences. The combination of the ‘Dear Doctor’ letter plus the legal form that defines the legally appointed representative is what is needed to help people think and plan ahead, so they can get the medical care that is right for them. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, people need to do their ASIPP, ASAP!
[iii] Lin CP, Evans CJ, Koffman J, Armes J, Murtagh FEM, Harding R. The conceptual models and mechanisms of action that underpin advance care planning for cancer patients: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Palliat Med. 2019;33(1):5–23. doi:10.1177/0269216318809582
[vi] Heyland DK, Heyland R, Bailey A, and Howard M. A novel decision aid to help plan for serious illness: a multisite randomized trial. cmajo 8:E289-E296; published online April 28, 2020, doi:10.9778/cmajo.20190179
Dr. Daren K. Heyland, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine, Queen’s University and critical care doctor, Kingston Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Daren Heyland is a Critical Care doctor and a Professor of Medicine at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario Canada. He also serves as the Director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at the Kingston General Hospital which functions as a methods center for multicenter clinical research. He is the principal investigator on a number of large scale, multicenter clinical trials and quality improvement projects. For over a decade, he chaired the Canadian Researchers at the End of Life Network which has a focus on developing and evaluating strategies to improve communication and decision-making at the end of life.
As the temperatures rise, we are eager to spend more time outside, lean into activities with family, and plan for some good ol’ fashioned R & R. Travel plans may look a little different this summer, and perhaps your vacation plans now include local adventures. Whatever your plans may be, LESA is dedicated to providing you with continuing legal education that meets you where you are.
Whether you are watching on your laptop in the backyard or at your office, LESA Webinars will ensure you stay up-to-date and current in your practice.
New Judicial appointments to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta have been announced! LESA wishes to extend our most heart-felt congratulations to Justice Denise Kiss, Justice Sherry Kachur, and Justice Thomas Rothwell on their recent appointments.
LESA is honoured to partner with Elizabeth Aspinall, Practice Advisor for the Law Society of Albertaand Nathan Lee of CompuVision on, “Cybersecurity for Lawyers”. Attend this one-hour webinar on June 15th to identify the risks and benefits associated with the use of technology in your practice.
We (virtually) sat down with both Elizabeth and Nathan to bring you a little more insight into what you can expect to gain from attending this program. Read on for details!
Q: With many working remotely due to the pandemic, will you be discussing the risks that lawyers should take into consideration when utilizing technology in their practice during the time of COVID-19?
EA: Yes. Working during the pandemic has been an opportunity for many organizations to update their use of technology. It has also created vulnerabilities in systems which require enhanced security and enhanced understanding of how the security works.
NL: One of the less-well discussed and understood secondary impacts of the current crisis is the increased vulnerability of businesses to cyberattack.Many are now working remotely for the first time, which brings with it a raft of new cybersecurity issues.
Q: With the changes to the Law Society of Alberta’s Code of Conduct addressing technological competence, how might a lawyer’s practice be affected?
EA: The changes to the Coderequire lawyers to be current in their practices. We cannot ignore technology and effectively practice law. This does not mean,however, that every lawyer must purchase the most sophisticated hardware and software.
Q: Is there value in support staff or articling students attending this program?
EA: The Code of Conduct requires that lawyers supervise staff and students, and that all employees of an organization understand the role ethics plays in practice. It is no different when it comes to technology. Staff and students must understand the systems, the potential vulnerabilities, and how to protect confidential client information.
NL: The greatest protection any law firm can provide to safeguard their client and corporate data is to increase the education and awareness of their staff and lawyers. The greatest threat against any business is not necessarily a lack of software or hardware (although this can happen), the greatest threat is the employee who unknowingly opens the front door to the office and provides the combination to the safe. The benefit of identifying, notifying, and preventing attacks creates a culture of security–minded individuals that each participant will gain from participating in this presentation.
Q: What are 2-3 key takeaways a registrant can expect from attending this webinar?
EA: Attendees will gain an understanding of the impact of the recent amendments to the Code of Conduct which incorporate technology into a lawyer’s ethical requirement to be competent.
NL: Attendees will walk away with an understanding of the threats and cybercriminal landscape, a greater awareness of how to help secure their workplace, and tools to increase security.
Starting on May 4th, the LESA team launched our first-ever webinar series. The Spring 2020 Webinar Series is well underway, and we are so pleased to see the positive response to our new form of program delivery. Here are a few comments from past attendees of our May webinars:
This has been an excellent update in unusual times – very valuable.”
I love the ease of the Zoom webinar.”
The speaker was entertaining and engaging. The material presented was relevant and helpful.”
We thank you for your continued support and wish to express ours as we navigate the current times. Spots are still available in our discounted spring webinars. Scroll below for our upcoming titles and dates. Click the link in the title for more details and to register. Discounted pricing on webinars will be available for a limited time only.
LESA is pleased to offer new LESA Library subscription options to assist you in these uncertain times. We know that many have migrated to working remotely, and some have pivoted their focus and are working in new practice areas. The LESA Library allows you to access electronic Alberta-specific legal information from anywhere, at anytime. Access substantive and current legal information as well as checklists, editable precedents, fillable forms, practice management tips, and so much more. Plus, LESA Library subscribers get access to hundreds of program papers from 2010 to present, available as downloadable PDFs.
The LESA Library is typically an annual subscription. However, until June 30, 2020, subscribe for as low as $195 + GST and access all that the LESA Library offers in a discounted 4-month subscription.
The Library also includes the contents of the following LESA publications in encyclopedia-style articles and downloadable PDF files:
4-month subscriptions can be purchased individually or for a firm, please see below. Firm subscription rates are based on the number of registered users, where every lawyer who has been called to the bar in Alberta is registered as a distinct user in the LESA Library.
Click the applicable option to subscribe or renew online today!
There is no doubt that these last several weeks have brought much change and uncertainty. Many have migrated to working remotely, some have pivoted to working in new practice areas, and some are searching for new opportunities. We understand these times are trying. The LESA team is dedicated to providing continuing legal education, and we want to assist you as best we can as you navigate taking new steps forward.
With change comes new opportunity, and we are excited to announce our collaboration with ASSIST to deliver a series of free webinars. With a focus on practice management and personal development skills, this series is designed for lawyers and articling students, and will deliver practical tips and strategies to help you leverage new opportunities in your career. We thank you for your continued support, and want to express ours during these uncertain times.
We are pleased to announce this webinar series is complimentary. Click on the links below for more details and to register.