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Assist: Annual Walks for Wellness


Assist Walk for Wellness

Have you heard of the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society’s (Assist) free annual Walk for Wellness events? This September, Assist is holding its Annual Walk for Wellness events in Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton.

Locations, Dates, & Times

Join Alberta’s legal community for a free walk at,

  • Fort McMurray: Thursday, September 7, 2017 | 12:00 PM | Courthouse Park
  • Lethbridge: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 | 12:00 PM | Courthouse Park
  • Calgary: Thursday, September 14, 2017 | 12:00 PM | Courthouse Park
  • Red Deer: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 | 12:00 PM | Courthouse Park
  • Edmonton: Thursday, September 21, 2017 | 12:00 PM | University of Alberta Faculty of Law

Pledge to enjoy more Family Time, Active Time, Quiet Time, Reflective Time, or Fun Time.

Help promote health and wellness and raise awareness of Assist’s services this fall. There are prizes to be won and plenty of fun to be had!

More Information

Get more information about this year’s Walk for Wellness events.

Have questions? Call, 1.877.737.5508 or 403.537.5508.

If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community,
contact Andrea Maltais, Communications Coordinator, at 780.969.0555 or


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LESA Welcomes New Executive Director, Maura O. Sutherland

Maura O. SutherlandEffective August 15, 2017Maura O. Sutherland assumes the role of LESA’s new Executive Director and Director, CPLED Alberta. We’re looking forward to having her lead our team as we continue our proud tradition of serving the spectrum of educational and professional development needs of Alberta’s legal community.

Meet Maura

Tell me a bit about yourself and your background.

I was born and raised Albertan – from rural Alberta. My dad was a teacher, so I naturally gained an appreciation for education and lifelong learning. I have lived in Edmonton for 20 years… receiving my sociology degree at the University of Alberta and then following up with a law degree. I started my legal career at Alberta Justice and Solicitor General in Edmonton and have been there ever since. I worked originally as a general solicitor on various files and then specialized in Aboriginal law, where I stayed for 9 years before entering the continuing legal education (CLE) world full time.”

How did you become interested in law and CLE?

Law school was a bit of serendipity. I was doing a sociology degree and looking at my prospects for a career when I realized there wasn’t a whole lot out there outside of academia, so I chose law. It seemed to be a good fit. I’ve always been involved with social issues in our community, in Alberta, and beyond. I’m very interested in helping the underdog, and law seemed to be a good choice for me. The career I’ve had so far, as a civil servant, was another good fit for what I’ve always wanted to do, which is to help the public. CLE came to me right out of articling. I’ve always been involved with articling programs at Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. I value what I continue to learn, and I find fresh perspective really valuable. That’s what has kept me going in the CLE world. I value education, ongoing development, and lifelong learning, so CLE has become a natural fit with my personality and interests.”

What do you like best about your current job, and what are you looking forward to most at LESA?

I work with brilliant people: lawyers, support staff, and non-lawyers. I like working with such a diverse group with various skills sets and levels of expertise. I look forward to doing more of this at LESA, to connecting with people in our profession and with the people who work at LESA—who seem just as brilliant the ones I’m leaving. What I’m most looking forward to is creating opportunities to help build and service the profession that I have so much respect for.”

What makes LESA a good fit for you?

I’ve been connected with LESA throughout my entire career. The organizational learning values that LESA follows really fit with my view of the legal profession. I want to have an impact, and I feel like I can do that here though education. Education touches all areas of our profession and is the key to changing the way we think.”

Do you volunteer at any other organizations?

I have a lot of respect for the volunteer community. I have always been one of those people that others can count on when they are in need of a volunteer. I’m a huge patron of the arts, so over the years I have done a lot of volunteer work in the arts community. I believe that volunteers make the world go round.”

What do you enjoy doing outside the office?

My family is number 1. My husband is a business owner, and together we have 3 kids. I have a 24-year-old stepdaughter, a 16-year-old stepson, and a 6.5- year-old son. We recently went on a family holiday. My husband is originally from BC and I have family there, so we go every summer. We also attend the Edmonton Folk Music Festival every year, which I’m looking forward to.”

What message do you have for Alberta’s legal community?

I’m honoured to be in this role, and I hope to come in and keep up with the momentum Jennifer created. I feel that we’re moving out of the traditional mentality of knowledge is power and coming into a generation of knowledge sharing. How this knowledge is shared and applied is key, and I think LESA will play a big role in this shift moving forward. I’m looking forward to connecting with those in the legal profession who want to help advance innovative ideas, and I’m excited to make a real impact on the new world of lawyering.”

For more information, check out Maura’s LinkedIn profile, or read the press release here. We’re looking forward to having you join our team!

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Program Feature — Effective Legal Support: Civil Litigation

Effective Legal Support: Civil Litigation

About the Program

Effective legal support staff are key to a successful law practice! Examine the role of legal support staff in managing civil litigation matters. Review the civil litigation process, including pleadings, applications, questioning, costs, and trial preparation. Analyze relevant Rules of Court Parts and learn how they affect litigation matters.

When asked about the benefits and key takeaways of this program, chair Maureen McCartney-Cameron offered,

Attendees will receive an overview of civil litigation; pleadings; applications; questionings; and case management, costs, and Queens’ Bench Filings. They will also receive practical tips for providing effective assistance to civil litigators and hear from lawyers who will provide insight into how assistants can effectively provide help.

When asked what she was looking forward to most, Maureen added,

I’m looking forward to working with and learning from a great panel and audience.

Chair & Faculty

Join chair Maureen McCartney-Cameron and a panel of experienced practitioners to discover how to increase legal support staff effectiveness and efficiency.

Chair | Maureen McCartney-Cameron (JSS Barristers)

Maureen joined JSS Barristers and has focused her practice almost exclusively on plaintiff-side personal injury and long term disability litigation. In doing so, she has appeared as counsel before all levels of Court in Alberta. Maureen is the Immediate Past President of the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA), which advocates for a strong civil justice system that protects the rights of all Albertans. She is also Past Chair of the Personal Injury Subsection of the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta. In addition, she has served as a volunteer facilitator for the CPLED Program and is a presently a volunteer lawyer with Pro Bono Law Alberta.


Robert Armstrong QC | Calgary Police Service
Christy Elliott | Parkland Fuel Corporation
Erin Runnalls | Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP
Shane Sackman | Law Society of Alberta
Michael Sestito | Bennett Jones LLP
Wilma Shim | Alberta Justice and Solicitor General – Legal Services
Cassandra Sutter | Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes LLP



  • September 12, 2017
  • 9:00 AM–4:30 PM
  • Glenmore Inn & Convention Centre (2720 Glenmore Trail SE)
  • Early bird deadline: August 15, 2017


  • September 19, 2017
  • 9:00 AM–4:30 PM
  • Chateau Louis Hotel & Conference Centre (11727 Kingsway NW)
  • Early bird deadline: August 15, 2017


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Program Feature – Effective Legal Writing

Effective Legal Writing

Effective writing skills are critical for lawyers and their staff. Take part in an interactive workshop to improve your legal writing through hands-on practice and individual feedback.

For the first time, LESA will be holding this program in a flipped-classroom format. This format requires participants to view resource materials online in the LESA Classroom and complete pre-course work, including writing practice, prior to attending the program.


We recently chatted with LESA’s Dr. Allison Fieldberg to learn a bit more about the program and about the flipped-classroom format. Here’s what she had to say.


One of the goals of this program is for participants to begin to recognize their particular writing style and to identify the strengths of that style and the areas for growth. They will learn what they need to do to increase the clarity, concision, and effectiveness of their writing. Instead of a lecture on specific content, this program is more skills-based. Participants will learn how to revise their writing based on an end goal of producing writing that has greater overall effectiveness and persuasiveness.”


My philosophy of writing is that you do not become a better writer by talking about it, and you don’t learn to become a better writer by listening to someone talk to you about writing. You become a better writer by writing. It is a skill like learning to golf, paint, or bake. You have to practice it to get better and the flipped-classroom approach allows for program time to be very practice-based. Participants will review content areas and fundamental background information about writing ahead of the day so they can arrive on the day ready to practice the skills and get individualized feedback. There will be very limited time in the program where participants will listen to me talk about writing.”

Program Benefits

One of the immediate benefits is bringing to the forefront of your mind the particular characteristics of your writing that need to be improved. I think attendees will find that the program offers the opportunity to develop the skill of self-assessment. Attendees will take a look at a piece of their writing, and within a short period of time, they will be able to zero in on what needs to be fixed and what could be better.”

Program Takeaways

I think participants will be able to make some really great connections with other people in the room while demystifying the writing process. There will be an emphasis on collaboration, exchange, and peer revision and I think that’s the direction that the legal profession is going.”

Register Online

This program has limited enrolment. Register online today to attend Effective Legal Writing in Edmonton (September 15) or in Calgary (September 22). View the program brochure to learn more.

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August Upcoming Legal Events

August upcoming Legal Events

Looking to get a head start on your CPD planning? Check out this month’s list of upcoming legal events.


Effective Legal Support: Civil Litigation

The early bird deadline for Effective Legal Support: Civil Litigation ends August 15, 2017. Register for this program to explore strategies for increasing legal support efficiency and effectiveness in wills and estates matters. Register today to reserve your spot in this program.

Effective Legal Support: Family Law

The early bird deadline for Effective Legal Support: Family Law ends August 29, 2017. Register for this program to explore strategies for increasing legal support efficiency and effectiveness in family law matters. Register today to reserve your spot in this program.

Effective Legal Writing

The early bird deadline for Effective Legal Writing ends August 15, 2017. Register for this program to improve your legal writing through hands-on practice and individual feedback. Program registrants are required to view resource materials and complete pre-course work, including writing practice, in the LESA Classroom prior to attending this program. Register today to reserve your spot in this program.

Negotiations Fundamentals

The early bird deadline for Negotiations Fundamentals ends August 15, 2017. Register for this hands-on workshop to explore negotiation theory and develop communication and negotiation skills. Register today to reserve your spot in this program.

Understanding the Brain – What Lawyers Need to Know

The early bird deadline for Understanding the Brain – What Lawyers Need to Know ends August 15, 2017. Register for this hands-on workshop to explore negotiation theory and develop communication and negotiation skills. Register today to reserve your spot in this program.


The first CPLED face-to-face session, Oral Advocacy & Professional Responsibility, runs in Calgary August 22–24, 2017, and in Edmonton August 29–31, 2017. This session is a mandatory part of the CPLED program. View the calendar or visit our website for more details.

Legal Community Events

Legal Build Edmonton

Join Edmonton Legal Build this year for the Race Judicata 2017 Fun Run, and continue the legal community’s important work of building a home for a deserving local family.

When:  September 16, 2017 (9:30 a.m. Arrival & 10:00 a.m. Race Start)
Where: Borden Park (7703 Borden Park Rd NW, Edmonton)
What: Fun Walk/Run in support of the Jean McBean QC Legal Build

The early bird deadline ends August 20. Register today and help raise money for the 2017 Jean McBean QC Memorial Build. For more information, click here.

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

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2017/2018 Educational Calendar Now Available

2017/2018 Educational Calendar

The 2017/2018 Educational Calendar is now available.

What to Watch For

This year’s calendar is full of new programs, resources, key dates, and more. Search the alphabetical program listing on pages 3–9, and discover 40 programs across multiple practice areas.

Some of these programs have limited enrolment. Register today to reserve your spot!

CPD Planning

Get started on your 2017 CPD plan. Search for programs by practice area on pages 12 and 13, and check off those of interest to you. Each category includes substantive legal knowledge programs as well as our suggestions for programs that will help you develop your skills in the following:

• analysis and communication,

• practice management,

• client relationship management,

• ethics and professionalism, and

• wellness.

Seminars on Demand 

Take a look at this year’s list of Seminars on Demand (page 10), and watch for the Seminars on Demand icon beside titles in the alphabetical program listing.


Looking for CPLED information? Find key dates and volunteer opportunities on page 11. You can also find information in the visual calendar on pages 14–19.

LESA Library

Looking for resources from past educational years? Learn more about the LESA Library (page 10). Access our Practice Manuals, Fundamentals Series, and materials from the past 7 years of LESA programming. Make the LESA Library your hub for practical, Alberta-specific tools and resources.

Keep an eye out for the hard copy calendar, which will be arriving in your mailbox soon.
We’re looking forward to the upcoming educational year!

Contact Us!

Contact our office for more information 780.420.1987 or

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Collaborative Law Programs

Collaborative Law Programs

Are you a lawyer who practices in the area of family law? Have you considered becoming a registered collaborative professional?

LESA offers collaborative law programs on an annual basis. Here’s what’s happening this year.

Basic Collaborative Law | Edmonton | September 28–30, 2017

Interest Based Negotiations | Edmonton | November 16–19, 2017

Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflicts | Calgary | November 20–24, 2017

Mediation of Family and Divorce Conflicts | Calgary | May 14–18, 2018

** NOTE: These are limited enrolment programs.

Refer to the Collaborative Divorce Alberta Association (CDAA) for certification requirements.**

Basic Collaborative Law 

Join instructors Susan L. Zwaenepoel QC and E. Leith Martin for Basic Collaborative Law this September. Learn methods for dispute resolution that encourage mutual respect, allow for open communication, utilize a problem-solving approach, as well as identify and address the interests and concerns of all parties, including children.

Cover the 4 principles of collaborative practice:

1. a pledge not to go to court;

2. an honest exchange of information;

3. good faith negotiations; and

4. a solution that considers the highest priorities of all parties.

Here’s what one of our past attendees has to say about this course.

I was impressed that the two instructors were willing to give so much of their time and with the passion they brought to the table. I know they’ve each taught this course numerous times, but there was no sense that they were just going through the motions—excellent instructors.”

Register for Basic Collaborative Law. (Limited Enrolment)

Interest Based Negotiations

Join instructors Suzan L. Zwaenepoel QC, E. Leith Martin, Sharlene Yanitski, and Marne Turnbull this November for Interest Based Negotiations.

As Susan says,

Collaborative work is fundamentally a philosophical approach to family law. … It is geared toward problem-solving, cooperation and to providing the client with the support and tools to get through the process in a less litigious manner than in a traditional divorce.”

Learn the difference between principled and adversarial negotiations, delve into the 5-stage interest based negotiation model, and discover strategies to enhance your skills, including:

• active listening

• effective questioning

• interactive learning

• reframing

Register for Interest Based Negotiations. (Limited Enrolment)

Mediation of Family & Divorce Conflicts 

Mediation of Family & Divorce Conflicts is one of the 3 pillars of collaborative law training. This 5-day program will be instructed by 3 experienced collaborative professionals:

• Patricia L. Blocksom QC, AOE

• Rhoda I. Dobbler QC

• Larry Fong Ph.D., R.Psych

As noted by Dr. Fong,

It is this harmonic range of different professionals—who provide the greatest ability to understand different perspectives—that makes this program successful. Attendees have come from the United States, Holland, and Switzerland and include judges, psychologists, lawyers, teachers, police officers, members of the cloth, politicians, and many other professionals.”

Develop the skills, knowledge, and understanding to build a competent, professional mediation practice. Register now to attend Mediation of Family & Divorce Conflicts in November (2017) or in May (2018)(Limited Enrolment)

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July Upcoming Legal Events

July Upcoming Legal Events

It’s the beginning of July, which means the start of a new educational year at LESA. Watch for the arrival of the 2017/2018 Educational Calendar in your mailbox, filled with a fresh list of programs, Seminars on Demand, and key dates you won’t want to miss.

Want to plan ahead? Take a look at our online program listing, and reserve your spot in our collaborative programs. Check back to discover other upcoming programs that will soon be available for registration.

Interested in accessing the latest LESA Seminars on Demand? Head to the LESA Classroom and check out what’s new.


The 2017/2018 Student Guide and Program Agreement have been posted. Students from Alberta and the Northwest Territories can now pay tuition for the upcoming year. The deadline for documentation and fees is July 28. Get more information at

Legal Community Events


Don’t miss the opportunity to win your firm the grand prize at AssistFit’s Line Dancing: Whoop-Up, July 11. The firm or organization that gets the most people on the dance floor wins a grand prize from Assist.

Location: Wildhorse Saloon | 500 6 Avenue SW | Calgary, AB
Time: 4:30 PM–5:30 PM

If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community, nnnnnnnnnnnn contact Andrea Maltais, Communications Coordinator.

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Incorporating Jordan: Section 11(b) Unreasonable Delay Applications

In response to the  landmark decision in R v Jordan, 2016 SCC 27, [2016] 1 SCR 631 [R v Jordan], the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently released a Notice to the Profession and Public (NPP #2017-01, “Charter Applications in Criminal Cases Including Section 11(b) Unreasonable Delay Applications” (25 April 2017) [NPP #2017-01]) that details a procedural framework specific to unreasonable delay applications under s 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in criminal cases. The aim is to ensure that s 11(b) applications are scheduled and conducted in a fair and effective manner.

Presumptive Timelines and Requirements

NPP #2017-01 sets out a number of timelines and requirements for scheduling s 11(b) applications, the most salient of which include:

  • Where the defence intends to bring a s 11(b) application, the defence must do so at least 7 days before the pre-trial conference. The court has discretion to allow or direct this pre-trial conference be conducted by teleconference,
  • Section 11(b) applications must be scheduled to be heard at least 60 days before the first scheduled day of trial or, where pre-trial applications are scheduled to be heard separately in advance of the trial, at least 60 days before the first scheduled day of pre-trial applications,
  • Before filing a s 11(b) application, the applicant must apply for the appointment of a s 551.1(Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C 46) Case Management Justice and a hearing date from the court, and
  • The applicant’s materials in a s 11(b) application must be filed a minimum of 21 days before the hearing and the respondent’s materials must be filed a minimum of 7 days before the hearing. Written briefs, not exceeding 20 pages in length, are required from each party.

The Bottom Line

Similar to the presumptive ceilings found in R v Jordan, all timelines and requirements put forth in NPP # 2017-01 are subject to any order made by a judge in a specific criminal case.

Counsel seeking to make a s 11(b) application in Alberta must be cognizant of the need to be proactive in order to meet prescribed timelines and requirements. A review of NPP #2017-01 with a careful eye towards the various deadlines is warranted.

More Information

Click here to access the NPP #2017-01. For the most recent Supreme Court decision on s 11(b), see R v Cody, 2017 SCC 31.

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Get Started on Your 2017 CPD Plan

Get Started on Your 2017 CPD Plan

The 2017 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) period begins July 1.

In 2016, 2 changes to the CPD Program were approved.

  • A CPD declaration deadline change from March 15 to September 30.
  • The implementation of an administrative suspension for failure to declare a plan.

Lawyers who do not develop and declare a CPD plan by the September 30th deadline will be administratively suspended. Click here to learn more.


The CPD Program is a regulatory program of the Law Society of Alberta. It is a mandatory requirement for all active lawyers in Alberta to make an annual CPD declaration.

The CPD Program is a flexible and convenient way for lawyers to enhance their professional competence. For further information, please contact CPD at 403.229.4766 or toll-free at 1.800.661.9003.

Watch for Fall CPD Activities

Keep an eye out for our 2017/2018 Educational Calendar to schedule your fall seminars. Want to know about new programs as soon as the Calendar is available? Subscribe to our E-Letter to get the latest LESA updates.

Seminars on Demand

Don’t forget about LESA’s Seminars on Demand, which allow you to stream video recordings of presenters and download program materials. Take a look at our LESA Classroom offerings, they are a great addition to your 2017 CPD Plan.

Need something else?

If you have any questions about the programs and resources that we offer, contact us at, 780.420.1987, or toll-free in Alberta 1.800.282.3900.