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Program Feature: Top 10+ Things Every Lawyer Should Know (2018)

Top 10+ Things Every Lawyer Should Know (2018)

Whether you’re a sole practitioner, a managing partner at a large firm, or in-house or corporate counsel for a business in the big city, you know that you’re often called on to answer questions in areas outside your primary focus. Family members, friends, associates, and colleagues have all kinds of questions, and it can be challenging to stay up-to-date on matters outside your area of practice.

Join us for Top 10+ Things Every Lawyer Should Know (2018) in Edmonton (April 13) or Calgary (April 27) and explore answers to the top 10+ questions lawyers are frequently asked.


Receive answers to common questions that arise across multiple areas of law. Questions will include:

1. When can a police officer search my car?

2. How is the legalization of marijuana going to affect workplaces?

3. I am the sole shareholder of my corporation; how do I get cash out?

4. Can I have a posthumous heir?

5. Is it ethical to store client information outside of Canada?

6. If I move out, and don’t take the kids, do I lose my parenting rights?

7. How do changes to the Employment Standards Code affect my workplace?

8. I think my brother is tricking our mother into giving him money; what can I do?

9. What is meta-data and how do I avoid sharing it?

10. I have signed a personal guarantee in my wife’s business; how do I protect myself if we get divorced?

And more!

With a brand new list of questions, this is one program you won’t want to miss! In fact, here’s what our 2017 attendees had to say when we asked them what they liked best.

Best LESA seminar I have attended so far! Very clear and concise. Loved the way the question, answer, and leading authorities were provided for each topic. Very helpful. Would strongly recommend this seminar to everyone.”

Seeing the broad cross section of lawyers who were interested in attending a program like this—even those who were very experienced still were able to learn a few things.”

The program was exceptionally engaging and dynamically delivered.”

This program was extremely well organized with clear, concise presentations on various matters of interest. The presenters were fantastic. I learned a lot and would definitely recommend this program to others in the future.”


Engage with a panel of experienced practitioners in this unique, engaging, fast-paced program, and get the information you need to provide confident, competent advice. Register online for Top 10+ Things Every Lawyer Should Know (2018) in Edmonton (April 13) or Calgary (April 27).

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Program Feature – Civil Advocacy Series: Argument

Civil Advocacy Series: Argument

Every successful litigator needs to tie evidence and law together effectively in oral submissions or argument. Join us for Civil Advocacy Series: Argument in Edmonton (April 11) or Calgary (April 18) to discover and practice effective techniques to improve your knowledge and skills in the art of argument.


Explore the art of making an effective argument. Learn how to mesh facts and law together to guide the trier of fact to better understand your client’s position.

Through in-program practice and feedback, develop personalized strategies for presenting effective winning arguments in civil litigation matters. Address various aspects of argument, including:

  • Taking notes during a trial and other tips on observation
  • Managing and citing evidence
  • Reconsidering your argument strategy (even at the final moment)
  • Developing a respectful, poised, and deferential (but confident) courtroom demeanour
  • Building a relationship with the Court

And more!


Hear from a distinguished panel of litigators drawn from across the province and engage with experienced practitioners in this skills-based program.


Allison Kuntz | Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP | Calgary


Vivian Stevenson QC | Duncan Craig LLP | Edmonton

Grant Vogeli QC | Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP | Calgary

Sean McDonough | Alberta Justice and Solicitor General – Legal Services | Edmonton

David McKinnon | Bennett Jones LLP | Calgary



Reserve your spot in this program. Register online to attend Civil Advocacy Series: Argument in Edmonton (April 11) or Calgary (April 18).

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New Continuing Professional Development Opportunities

Seminars on Demand

Looking for new professional development opportunities? The LESA Classroom is chock full of e-learning resources. Browse through our current list of Seminars on Demand. We’ve got 7 brand new titles you won’t want to miss.

*NEW Bankruptcy and Insolvency Fundamentals

A solid foundation in insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings is key to running a successful practice. Examine practical strategies for advising clients, understand obligations that survive bankruptcy including the implications of fraud, and explore the lawyer’s role in working with trustees. Discover mechanisms to maximize recovery in corporate bankruptcy or insolvency situations.

*NEW Effective Legal Support: Family Law

Learn essential skills to enhance legal support staff productivity, review a family law litigation file from start to finish, and discuss proper procedures for courthouse proceedings and family law agency matters.

*NEW Effective Legal Support: Wills and Estates

Gain insight into the Surrogate Court’s processes from a clerk’s perspective. Hear from the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee about its role in a variety of estate administration scenarios. Explore applications for probate and estate administration in both standard and more complex matters, and improve your ability to manage complex file s with the most up-to-date information available in estate administration.

*NEW Estate Planning for the Average Wealth Client

Review estate planning strategies and their applications in specific, complex situations, such as those involving minor heirs, adult dependent family members, persons with disabilities, and blended families. Gain valuable tips for managing client expectations when complex situations arise.

*NEW Labour and Employment Law Update

Examine changes to key labour and employment law statutes, review influential cases, and discuss timely issues with an experienced panel of legal professionals.

*NEW The Business of Running a Law Practice

Discover how to run a law practice from business and management perspectives. Explore topics including office space management; tax implications; alternative fee structures; technology solutions and limitations; recruitment, retention, and payroll; and marketing your business.

*NEW Understanding the Brain – What Lawyers Need to Know

Explore brain science, development, and deterioration. Understand the effects of conflict, mental illness, and aging on people dealing with legal issues. Cover topics including,

• Helping Families Thrive,

• Navigating Stormy Waters: The Intersection of Good Lawyering and Brain Science,

• The Brain and Aging, and

• How to Build a Brain.

• How to Build a Brain, presented by Dr. Nicole Sherren PhD, is offered as a separate complimentary resource.


With more than 40 additional titles across various areas of the law, there’s something for everyone.


Looking for more? The LESA Classroom also has a number of interactive self-study modules. Increase your knowledge at your convenience.

Rules of Court Series

  • Understanding the Litigation Process
  • Bringing an Action
  • Post-Commencement Pleadings
  • Framework for Managing Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Resolving Pre-Trial Issues and Preserving Rights
  • Trial
  • Judgments, Orders, and Costs
  • Family Law Rules


Practice Management and Professional Responsibility

  • Being an Excellent Principal
  • Code of Conduct
  • How to Build a Brain
  • Lawyer Assist
  • Trust Accounting Fundamentals
  • Trust Accounting for Responsible Lawyer

Discover all that the LESA Classroom has to offer. Visit to learn more and to register.

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Legal Innovator Award

2018 Legal Innovator Award: Presented at the Alberta Legal Technology Conference

LESA is pleased to announce our first ever Legal Innovator Award. This award will be presented at this year’s Alberta Legal Technology Conference in Calgary on May 25, 2018.

Join us to explore the latest trends and innovations in legal technology. Focus on a wide range of emerging topics, including how new innovations are improving processes and driving efficiency in the legal profession. Learn what your Alberta colleagues are doing to address challenges in their firms, and meet legal application technology experts to find out how they are delivering meaningful solutions to the profession.

Read more about the Legal Innovator Award, including how you can submit your nomination, how the winner will be selected, and much more.




The Legal Innovator Award is intended to recognize people in the legal industry who have developed solutions to improve processes and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the legal practice. Traditionally, lawyers and law firms have been resistant to change, so the profession has not seen as much innovation as it could. However, the legal marketplace is changing rapidly, so it is important that new innovations be recognized and shared with others in the community.

We’ve created the Legal Innovator Award to do just that—to foster innovation, originality, and to encourage meaningful, long-lasting change that will advance the legal profession unlike ever before.

If you know of a lawyer or law firm in Western Canada who has come up with an innovative approach to improve practice, we invite you to nominate them for the Legal Innovator Award. Simply email a short description of the nominee and the reasons why you believe they should be nominated. The final 3 nominees will be selected by a nomination committee.

NOTE: Submissions must be sent to before March 30, 2018

On the day of the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to hear presentations by the final 3 nominees and vote on which one they believe should receive this outstanding achievement.



There are 3 criteria for nominations to be accepted.

  1. The nominee must be a lawyer or law firm based in Western-Canada.
  2. The innovation must be something that is currently in use (not something still in the idea or concept phase).
  3. The innovation must be something that other lawyers and law firms can adopt to improve their practice.



Embrace the future; discover the possibilities. Submit your nomination today, and register to attend the Alberta Legal Technology Conference in Calgary, May 24 & 25, 2018.

View the brochure for more details about this incredible event.

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March Upcoming Legal Events

March Upcoming Legal Events

Here’s what’s happening in the legal community this month!



Custody and Access 2018
Gain an in-depth understanding of custody and access. Learn about recent developments in case law, and discover practical strategies for addressing challenging issues. Register today to reserve your spot in this program March 6 (Edmonton) and March 13 (Calgary).

Family Law 25
Review 5 key cases in 5 areas of family law: spousal/partner support, child support, property, protection against family violence, and child welfare. Register online to attend March 7 (Edmonton) or March 14 (Calgary).

The Law of Damages 2018
Proving liability is only part of a litigator’s task. Delve into the law of damages, and explore common evidentiary issues. Register today to reserve your spot in this program March 8 (Edmonton) and March 15 (Calgary).


Registration for the 2018/2019 CPLED Program opens on March 1.

You can view the CPLED Program Key Dates for details about when the face-to-face sessions and online modules are running.

The registration deadline is May 31, 2018. Students who do not apply by this date are subject to a non-refundable late filing fee. Check out our CPLED for Students page to find out what to expect from the CPLED Program and for other key information.

If you have any additional questions about the CPLED Program or the registration process, contact LESA’s Student Coordinator, Craig Edhart direct: 780.969.3554.


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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Paper Summary— Roles and Responsibilities of the Wills and Estates Solicitor

Roles and Responsibilities of the Wills and Estates Solicitor | Farha Salim

Drafting Wills and Trusts (2016/2017)

Lawyers must perform all legal services to the standard of a competent lawyer. Roles and Responsibilities of the Wills and Estates Solicitor, presented by Farha Salim, sets out the standard for a competent wills and estates solicitor. It covers a lawyer’s responsibilities when preparing a will, including potential issues concerning timing, accuracy of information, execution of the will, and liability to appointed beneficiaries.

Read a summary of this paper below.



According to Salim, When preparing a will, a lawyer must go beyond discerning the testator’s wishes and must make the necessary inquiries to ensure the provisions of the will honour and give proper legal expression to the testator’s wishes. In particular, the lawyer must be satisfied that the client has the required capacity when providing instructions for the will and at the time of executing it. Determining capacity may require making further inquiries, the extent of which will depend on the circumstances.


Once the lawyer has received instructions for the will and has made the necessary inquiries, it is important that the lawyer prepare the will in a reasonable time. The paper highlights case law concerning unreasonable delay, for example, where the will is not prepared before the testator dies.


While solicitors should be wary of lengthy delay, they should take the time needed to ensure the accuracy of information provided to them by the client. Issues may arise where a client seeks to gift property that he or she does not own personally (i.e. property owned under a company name). If a lawyer is not careful to make inquiries into the ownership of the property, a gift may fail. Thus, when preparing a will, it is important to weigh time restrictions against inquiries into title.


A lawyer must also have the reasonable knowledge and skill required to ensure proper execution of the will. This includes knowing who is and is not eligible to witness the signing of a will, as well as giving thorough and complete instructions to the client as to who is and is not a suitable witness.


Failure to meet the standard of care could result in liability to a disappointed beneficiary. The paper discusses the reasons for extending liability to beneficiaries and outlines its limit. The paper also proposes that lawyers exercise practice management skills. By confirming administrative requirements such as fees, potential outcomes, and timelines, a lawyer can reduce the potential for errors or complaints.


In conclusion, this paper highlights the steps that lawyers must perform to meet the standard of care required of a competent lawyer and discusses the roles and responsibilities of a solicitor in a wills and estates practice.


Want to learn more? View sample pages of this paper.



LESA Library



Interested in purchasing this paper? Or, are you looking to find out what other materials are available from Drafting Wills and Trusts (2016/2017)?


With an annual subscription to the LESA Library, you can access this paper and hundreds of other materials from our past programs anytime; anywhere. This cost effective resource ensures you’ll always be up-to-date with the latest educational resources.


Click here to learn more about the LESA Library. Alternatively, you can click here to purchase this paper individually.

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2018 Alberta’s Top Employers Winner

The winners of the 2018 Alberta’s Top 70 Employers competition were announced yesterday at the official awards reception in Calgary, and LESA made the list.

We are committed to setting standards of excellence in the education of Alberta’s lawyers, articling students, and their staff. Like you’ll read in our press release, we know in order to offer you exceptional continuing legal education opportunities, we need to value our greatest asset – our employees.

At LESA we strive to be collaborative, innovative, professional, and responsible with our resources. Today’s blog shares some of examples and reasons why we have been recognized as one of the distinguished winners of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers 2018.


LESA’s physical workspaces encourage collaboration. Our meeting room and offices have writeable walls, which make it easy to brainstorm, be creative, and stay organized – all important aspects of working together as a team. In addition, our organizational structure and cross-team project work facilitate collaboration across teams.


To respond to the diverse learning needs of our community and succeed in offering high quality continuing legal education, LESA strives to be innovative. As such, we use various approaches in order to remain up-to-date on current knowledge and technological advances. First, we invest in the professional development of our staff. Staff attend training sessions, engage with other organizations, and participate in quarterly team development activities. We also take part in discussions with other continuing legal education providers through the Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) to ensure we keep current in our educational delivery methods. Finally, we gather feedback from Alberta’s legal community for our programs and resources through annual Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Discovery surveys, programming proposal submissions, and more.


LESA’s organizational structure reflects our desire to effectively and competently serve Alberta’s legal community. Our structure of responsible autonomy fundamentally reflects the values LESA holds most dear: it favours empowerment, fosters accountability and communication, helps employees develop leadership competencies, and embraces collaboration and innovation.


Being responsible with our resources – being fiscally responsible now and investing in a sustainable future – entails many things. Since our employees are our greatest asset, it is incredibly important to LESA to manage our human resources responsibly and conscientiously. Our earned days-off program is hugely popular, letting staff enjoy every third Friday off. LESA staff also appreciate flexible work hours and telecommuting options that allow for work-life balance. LESA’s commitment to helping staff achieve a healthy work-life balance benefits everyone and makes for a positive work environment where staff are engaged and productive.

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2018/2019 CPLED Program Registration Opens March 1

2018/2019 CPLED Program

Are you a 3rd-year law student, recent graduate, or someone who needs to take the Alberta bar admission course (the CPLED Program)? Or, do you know someone planning to take the CPLED Program next year?


Registration for the 2018/2019 CPLED Program opens on March 1.



Students can apply to the CPLED Program before having completed the requirements to be admitted as a student-at-law. If you’re thinking there is a chance you will need to complete the CPLED Program next year, mark March 1 on your calendar.



The CPLED Program includes 7 online modules and 3 face-to-face sessions. Each face-to-face session is offered at 4 different times. Session enrolment is limited and time preferences are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Students are encouraged to register early.



View the CPLED Program Key Dates for details about when the face-to-face sessions and online modules are running.

The registration deadline is May 31, 2018. Students who do not apply by this date are subject to a non-refundable late filing fee. Head to our CPLED for Students page to find out what to expect from the CPLED Program and for other key information.

If you have any additional questions about the CPLED Program or the registration process, contact LESA’s Student Coordinator, Craig Edhart direct: 780.969.3554.

We’re looking forward to having you in the 2018/2019 CPLED Program!

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Program Feature: Custody and Access 2018

Custody and Access 2018

Gain an in-depth understanding of custody and access.

Join us in Edmonton (March 6) or Calgary (March 13) to learn about recent developments in case law and to discover practical strategies for addressing challenging issues.


Hear from program chair Michael Kraus QC and an experienced panel as they discuss frequently raised issues and current trends in custody and access.

Topics include:

  • Mobility Issues in Family Law
  • High Conflict
  • Family Law Practice Note 7 Interventions and Practice Note 8 Assessments
  • Adoptions
  • Access Issues
  • Voice of the Child



We recently spoke with program chair Michael Kraus QC to learn more about our panel of presenters and their program topics.

We are fortunate to have a distinguished panel who will speak about a wide variety of topics which will appeal to many family law practitioners.

Mobility is a very difficult issue to resolve and is therefore frequently litigated.  Diane Harms QC, an experienced litigator, will speak about mobility issues.”

Respected parenting experts Dr. Stephen Carter (Edmonton) and Dr. Jeff Chang (Calgary) will speak about the types of roles a psychologist may have in custody and access matters with a focus upon Family Law Practice Notes 7 and 8. 

Andrea Doyle, Assistant Senior Counsel from the Family Law Office will be joined by a special guest panelist from the same office, Jeff Keller, to speak about the Voice of the Child.   

Senior practitioner Jeff Wise QC practices in high conflict custody and access litigation.  Jeff will share his insights about issues relating to high conflict files.”

Wendy Young, an experienced family law lawyer, will address various and difficult issues relating to access.”

Finally, last but not least, senior practitioner Richard Low will speak about what a family law lawyer needs to know about adoption, which may be viewed as a form of extreme custody.”



Register online to attend Custody and Access 2018 in Edmonton (March 6) or Calgary (March 13). Read the brochure for more information.

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2018 Summer Student Positions Available

LESA is now hiring 2018 summer students. We’re looking for current law students who have completed at least 1 year of law school.

Benefits & Expectations

Join our innovative, dynamic organization and make a meaningful contribution to the legal community as part of our LESA team.

Gain experience and knowledge in key areas of law while refining your research and writing skills. Get the opportunity to work with LESA’s Legal team to research, write, review, and update LESA’s print publications and online resources. You will also have the opportunity to contribute here – on LESA’s blog.

Value of Being a LESA Summer Student

As one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers in 2017, LESA is a great place to work. One of our past summer students – Kelsey Dick – knows this first hand, joining LESA’s Legal team in the fall of 2015. Here’s what she had to say about working as a LESA summer student.

What did you enjoy about being a LESA summer student?

It allows you to stay involved in legal work during the summer and keep up-to-date on changes in the law, in an office atmosphere that is relaxed and friendly. Plus, LESA’s staff are wonderful to work with and always willing to help.”

What did you get to learn while working at LESA that you may not have learned elsewhere?

While summer students don’t have access to the CPLED Program materials, you do have the opportunity to work alongside the people involved with the program, so you can gain a better understanding of what CPLED is, how it works, and what LESA does. I think this is really beneficial as a student before starting the bar admission program, as it makes the CPLED Program a little less intimidating when you start articling.”

How did working at LESA as a summer student help shape your future career trajectory and opportunities?

It allows you to see the different opportunities available in the legal field, outside of the traditional firm career path. One of the real benefits of choosing a legal career is that it opens up a lot of doors to different employment opportunities. After I finished my law degree, I articled and worked at a large Edmonton law firm for a few years. I was interested in making a change around the same time LESA was looking for another lawyer to join their staff, and … I am now a Staff Lawyer at LESA.”

Apply Now

View the job posting for complete details about the 2018 summer student positions. If you’re interested in joining the LESA team, apply by February 28, 2018, to Aaron Latimer.