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Program Feature: Real Property Law Essentials

Real Property Law Essentials

Join us for Real Property Law Essentials in Edmonton (February 21) or Calgary (February 27), and explore strategies for effectively addressing common real property law issues. Discuss adverse possession, partitions and sales, subdivisions, bare land condominiums, and more.




Jeff Fixsen | Duncan Craig LLP | Edmonton

Jeff Fixsen is a partner and Co-Leader of the Business Solutions Practice Group who loves to assist owner-managed businesses succeed in growing their business. From start-ups to succession planning, Jeff enjoys all aspects of advising entrepreneurs, family-owned businesses, partnerships and joint ventures on legal issues to achieve success. Read more.



Gavin Fitch QC | McLennan Ross LLP | Calgary

Gavin Fitch QC practices in the areas of environmental and energy regulatory law. He regularly represents clients before administrative tribunals such as the Alberta Energy Regulator (formerly the Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board), the Alberta Utilities Commission, the National Energy Board, the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board, and the Surface Rights Board and the Land Compensation Board. Read more.

Nolan Johnson | Huckvale LLP | Lethbridge

Nolan was born and raised in Lethbridge. He attended the University of Alberta, obtaining a Bachelor of Science (2002) and Bachelor of Laws (2005) degrees. As Nolan is fluent in Spanish, he minored in Spanish as well during his undergraduate studies prior to law school. Upon graduation, Nolan articled and gained valuable experience at Carscallen LLP, a prominent law firm in downtown Calgary. After 2 years, he moved home to begin practice in Lethbridge at Huckvale Wilde Harvie MacLennan LLP. In 2009, Nolan accepted an in-house position with a Calgary based biofuels company where he acted as General Counsel. Nolan re-joined the firm in the spring of 2011. Read more.

Hugh Willis | Willis Law | Edmonton

Hugh Willis was called to the Alberta bar in 2005. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, class of 2004. In 2000, Hugh completed his undergraduate degree in the Applied Energy Program at the University of Calgary Department of Economics, where he graduated with Dean’s List standing. Hugh has appeared before the Alberta Court of Appeal, the Court of Queen’s Bench, the Provincial Court of Alberta, the Immigration and Refugee Board, and the Immigration Appeal Division. Read more.

William Dushenski | Blakely + Dushenski | Edmonton

William Dushenski shares a valued, common sense approach to real estate law and related litigation with his clients. He also maintains a personal injury practice, which allows him to assist clients involved in the most severe injuries including estate claims. He is a past program Director and Chair of the Canadian Bar Association Civil Litigation Section in which he continues to be active. He is also a member of the Real Estate, Construction Law, and Insurance Sections. Mr. Dushenski has appeared in trial and Appeal Courts throughout Alberta and the NWT. Read more.

Andrea Willey | Duncan Craig LLP | Edmonton

Andrea Willey is an associate practicing in both Duncan Craig’s Financial Services and Family Solutions practice groups. In her Financial Services practice, she focuses primarily on foreclosure and enforcement proceedings. She has represented clients before the Alberta Provincial Court and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. Read more.


Lawyers are commonly faced with a variety of issues and challenges when managing real property law matters. Having a solid understanding of these issues as well as practical, useful strategies to help guide you through the process can be extremely beneficial.

Examine how property rights are protected under Canadian law and learn about the contractual restraints on property ownership. Analyze land use legislation, area structure plans, and Enduring Powers of Attorney in regard to real property sale and distribution.

Explore jurisprudence relating to:

  • property assessments,
  • business revitalization assessments, and
  • local improvement taxes, planning, and development.


Register online to attend Real Property Law Essentials in Edmonton (February 21) or Calgary (February 27). Register on or before January 16 to take advantage of our early bird discount. View the brochure for details.

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AJEFA Intercultural Family Mediation Training Sessions


The Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta (French-speaking lawyers’ association) is offering Intercultural Family Mediation training in French with lawyer Natalie Tymchuk and Intercultural Specialist Maryse Bermingham this January.

This training is intended for professionals in the field of law, education, psychology, and others looking to acquire new skills.

Learn to recognize factors that have an impact on cultural understanding. Discover how to change your cultural perspective and become aware of your experience and culture to grasp the essential qualities of an intercultural family mediator.

This training is recognized by Family Mediation Canada.


Dates: January 24, 25, and 26, 2018 | 9:00 AM–4:30 PM (ends at 12:00 PM on January 26)

Location: La Cité francophone (Edmonton)

Cost: $100 (lunch included Wednesday and Thursday)

Limited Enrolment.


Register online before January 17, 2018. For more information, email Maria Vigneault or contact by phone at 780.450.2443 ext. 105.

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January Upcoming Legal Events

January upcoming Legal Events

We hope you enjoyed the holidays and welcome you back to a brand new year packed with legal events. Discover what’s happening this month.


Business Issues in Family Law Matters

Corporate and business issues often arise in family law. Learn to confidently advise clients, find out when to seek expert advice, and explore strategies and solutions in matrimonial property and support scenarios. Register today to reserve your spot in this program January 17 (Calgary) and January 24 (Edmonton).


Litigation Strategies

Strategic litigation decisions and plans should be in place long before a trial begins. Investigate strategies and approaches to litigation as a whole. Register today to reserve your spot in this program January 18 (Calgary) and January 25 (Edmonton).


The face-to-face session Oral Advocacy & Professional Responsibility starts this week in Calgary (January 3–5) and Edmonton (January 9–11). View the calendar or visit our website for more 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

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LESA Employment Opportunity: Education Coordinator

The Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) was founded in 1975 to serve the Alberta legal community. As the primary provider of continuing legal education in the province, we serve the spectrum of educational and professional development needs by delivering high-quality educational programs and resources to legal professionals throughout Alberta.

We strive to lead the way in corporate culture by valuing our greatest asset—our employees, who are forward thinking and continuously set high standards of excellence. We are happy to have been named as one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers for the past two consecutive years (2017 & 2016).

We are seeking to fill the role of Education Coordinator, based in Edmonton (some travel within Alberta is required). This position is for a term ending June 30, 2019.


Education Coordinators are responsible for efficient and effective project coordination of legal education programs, services, and resources. They report to the Director of Education.

Relationship Building

  • Build and maintain effective, collaborative relationships with LESA staff and contractors
  • Build and maintain effective, collaborative relationships with volunteers, service providers, and other external stakeholders
  • Maintain and enhance LESA’s reputation as a provider of high-quality legal education programming and resources
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of formal and informal settings, with the ability to monitor audience response and adapt content and style accordingly
  • Use diplomacy and tact to diffuse issues

Planning and Management

  • Relying on strong internal and external relationships, apply best practices and organizational standards for meeting and event coordination, including travel, accommodations, food and beverage, meeting and event set-up, on-site communications, and technical production (e.g.audiovisual support and working with preferred service providers)
  • Relying on strong internal and external relationships, apply project management best practices to plan, coordinate, and deliver high-quality legal education programs, services, and resources
  • Develop plans, project charters, and budgets
  • Integrate project activities of volunteers, contractors, and staff
  • Monitor actions, timeframes, milestones, key performance indicators, and resources to achieve goals and objectives and adhere to plans, budgets, and organizational goals
  • Track progress and completion of actions and related deadlines and expenses, including coding invoices and following up on outstanding expenses
  • Work on several simultaneous projects

CLOSING DATE: 4:00 PM on January 17, 2018, or until a successful candidate has been hired.  Click here to view the full job posting.

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2017 Reflection and Holiday Closure

The holiday season is a time of year to reflect and to thank all of our staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication serving Alberta’s legal community.

LESA extends its warmest thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who have devoted their time and expertise to us and their profession this year. Your contribution of time, talent, and energy is greatly appreciated.

The commitment of our staff and volunteers has resulted in a successful year for LESA.

From all of us at LESA, thank you for your support in 2017 and wish you a happy holiday season and prosperous New Year!

LESA will close at 4:30 PM on Friday, December 22, 2017, and will reopen on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, at 8:00 AM.

We look forward to the start of a New Year!

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Program Feature: Intersection of Immigration and Criminal Law

Intersection of Immigration and Criminal Law

Criminal issues often arise in immigration and refugee matters and vice versa. Join us in Edmonton (February 2) or Calgary (February 9) for Intersection of Immigration and Criminal Law. Learn how to competently advise clients when immigration, refugee, and criminal law matters intersect.



Examine practice issues arising in the intersection of immigration and criminal law. Hear from an experienced panel from across the province, a member of the judiciary, and one of Western Canada’s leading practitioners of immigration and criminal law, Peter Edelmann, on practice issues relevant to all lawyers working in this complex area.

Consider practice issues such as how to instruct clients on the immigration consequences of entering guilty pleas. Explore criminal inadmissibility under Division 4 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act [IRPA], the cross-border consequences of criminal convictions, and practice tips you can use from the moment your client walks in the door to the sentencing phase.

Click here to view the program brochure and learn more.

Q & A

We recently spoke with program chair, Bjorn Harsanyi to learn a bit more about this program. Here’s what he had to say.

What topics will be covered?

There will be many topics covered, including properly interviewing and instructing your client regarding immigration consequences in criminal matters, criminal charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, collateral immigration consequences at sentencing, withdrawal of guilty pleas where clients are not fully informed of immigration consequences, and generally speaking, the evolving seriousness and complexity of these issues.”

Why are these topics important?

21.9% of Canadians are immigrants—the highest percentage in 85 years. This is an area of growing complexity involving past and ongoing litigation before the Supreme Court. The consequences for both the client and the lawyer being fully informed on these issues could not be any more important or serious. A failure to be alert and alive to these issues can result in serious prejudice to the client and potential negligence issues for the advising lawyer.”

What makes this program unique?

This program is unique due to the panel that is involved. The presenting panel is comprised of a member of the judiciary and experts from both criminal and immigration law, including Peter Edelman (a leading practitioner in the practice of criminal and immigration law). He recently successfully argued that a Conditional Sentence Order is not jail for the purpose of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (a really big deal). I have never been part of a more knowledgeable and expert panel. It is rare to see this many senior and expert practitioners speak in one panel, and they will be available for the whole day.”



Bjorn Harsanyi | Stewart Sharma Harsanyi | Calgary


In March 2017, Peter Edelmann and Erica Olmstead, of Edelmann & Co. Law Offices, were granted leave to appear at the SCC on Wing Wha Wong v. Her Majesty The Queen. They will argue before the SCC in November, seeking clarification on the testing required for withdrawing a guilty plea, and specifically, whether or not understanding collateral immigration consequences renders the plea invalid.


Register for Intersection of Immigration and Criminal Law online to attend in Edmonton (February 2) or Calgary (February 9). View the brochure for details.

Register on or before December 19 to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

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Firm Spotlight: Witten LLP

Each year LESA fills upwards of 800 volunteer positions. The success of our programs and the quality of our resources is due largely to the ongoing dedication of our volunteers — program faculty, CPLED facilitators and evaluators, resource authors and reviewers, and other contributors.

We like to periodically take the time to thank our volunteers for their generous contributions to LESA and the profession as a whole. The generous contribution of time, talent, and energy of all of our extraordinary volunteers allow us to continue in our mission to set standards of excellence in continuing education and professional development of the Alberta legal communityIn today’s blog, we extend a special thank you to Witten LLP, a longtime supporter of LESA both in the past and as we move onward into the future.


Witten LLP


In the 1900’s, the late Abe W. Miller QC opened an office in downtown Edmonton. This office has since become one of the largest, most well-established law firms in Alberta. With over 50 lawyers and 100 support staff comprising a diverse, experienced team, the firm continues to support various charitable, educational, political, and community endeavors, as well as various organizations as part of their ongoing commitment to the profession. Read more.


Over the many years that LESA has been providing professional development opportunities to the Alberta legal community, we have received the ongoing support of various Witten lawyers and support staff. Learn more about some of the incredible Witten volunteers assisting us in the 2017/2018 educational year.


Audrey A. Wakeling QC | CPLED – Interviewing and Advising

A solicitor focused on corporate and business succession matters, trusts, wills, and estate planning and administration, Audrey earned her BA (1974) and LLB (1975 – gold medalist) at the University of Saskatchewan and her LLM (1977) at the University of Illinois. She was a member of the University of Saskatchewan’s Faculty of Law for several years, teaching taxation and torts. Audrey was admitted to the Saskatchewan bar in 1980 and the Alberta bar two years later. Read more.


Jonathan C. Calvert | CPLED – Negotiations & Practice Fundamentals

Jon is a solicitor whose practice emphasizes commercial lending and commercial real estate law. After earning his BA with Distinction (2003) and his LLB (2006) at the University of Alberta, Jon was admitted to the Alberta bar in 2007. He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association Business Law and Real Property subsections.  Read more.


Stephanie C. Chau | Program Faculty – Litigation Strategies

Stephanie is a partner in Witten LLP’s Litigation department who has successfully appeared before all levels of the Alberta courts and represented clients at mediations, arbitrations, and settlement negotiations. Stephanie has extensive experience litigating corporate and commercial matters. In particular, her practice emphasizes real estate and shareholder disputes, product liability, commercial negligence claims, and contractual and lease disputes. Read more.


Catherine A. Farnell | Program Faculty – 51st Annual Refresher: Business

Cathy is a commercial solicitor whose practice emphasizes commercial real estate, business law, and financing. After earning her BA with Distinction (1993) and her LLB with Distinction (1996 – bronze medalist) at the University of Alberta, she was admitted to the Alberta bar in 1997. Read more.



John M. Frame | CPLED – Interviewing & Advising | Program Chair – Bankruptcy and Insolvency Fundamentals

As a partner at Witten LLP, John focuses his practice on condominium management law providing guidance and assistance to condominium corporations, directors, property managers, and owners. He also practices in the areas of creditors’ rights, bankruptcy and insolvency, and commercial disputes. Admitted to the Alberta bar in 1992, he first completed a BA (1990) at the University of Alberta and an LLB (1991) at the University of Windsor. Read more.


Michael A. Kirk | CPLED – Oral Advocacy, Negotiations Fundamentals

Michael is a senior litigation partner and the Chair of the Litigation Department at Witten LLP. Michael graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts (1987) and an LLB from the University of Alberta (1990).  He was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1991 and has a civil litigation practice that includes corporate-commercial litigation, product liability litigation, construction litigation, insurance defence and personal injury, municipal development appeals, and estate litigation. Read more.


Jay F. Krushell | Program Chair – Alberta Legal Technology Conference

A solicitor focused on commercial lending, real estate, and corporate/commercial law, Jay earned his B.Comm (1990), MBA (1997), and LLB (1998) at the University of Alberta. He was admitted to the Alberta bar in 1999. Jay has also been involved with various boards and community organizations. Read more.


We recently asked some of this year’s Witten volunteers to tell us a bit about their experience volunteering with LESA. Here’s what they had to say.


Learning is a lifelong process. None of us would be where we are today if those who came before us had not taken the time to guide and support us in our learning journey. It is incumbent on all of us to support our profession by sharing our experience and expertise with those who would follow in our footsteps.” – Audrey A. Wakeling QC


Volunteering for LESA is a great way to give back to the profession and to further your professional development. It has given me the opportunity to research topics I am interested in and network with lawyers I have only ever dealt with over the phone and via email.” – Jay F. Krushell


It was instilled in me as a young lawyer to volunteer and give back. Lawyers are in a unique position to make contributions in many different ways to non-profit and other organizations. One of the ways of giving back to the profession in a tremendous way is through LESA. As lawyers, we benefit from the learnings and knowledge of other lawyers. Knowing that I can contribute in that fashion through LESA is part of the inspiration. There is the opportunity to network, get to know other lawyers, and also to re-kindle old friendships from the practice of law.” – Michael A. Kirk


Thank you, Witten LLP, for your continued support of LESA and your contributions to the future of the legal profession in Alberta. As your lifelong partner in continuing legal excellence, we look forward to new opportunities for collaboration and innovation as we work together to meet the professional and educational development needs of the Alberta legal community.


Interested in contributing to your profession? The 2018/2019 Program Planning Survey is now available. Tell us your learning interests for the upcoming calendar year. Complete the survey and receive $50 off any LESA program offered between January and June of 2018. This survey closes on December 22, 2017.

Looking for additional opportunities to contribute? Discover what opportunities are currently awaiting you.

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LESA Employment Opportunity: Integration Assistant

The Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) was founded in 1975 to serve the Alberta legal community. As the primary provider of continuing legal education in the province, we serve the spectrum of educational and professional development needs by delivering high-quality educational programs and resources to legal professionals throughout Alberta.

We strive to lead the way in corporate culture by valuing our greatest asset—our employees, who are forward thinking and continuously set high standards of excellence. We are happy to have been named as one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers for the past two consecutive years (2017 & 2016).

We are seeking to fill the role of Integration Assistant, based in Edmonton. This position reports to the Director of Integration.


Integration Assistants are responsible for providing general administrative support to advance the organization’s goals in a manner consistent with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Responsibilities include:

  • Providing general administrative support and backup for the Integration team;
  • Providing support for various communications and marketing initiatives (as needed);
  • Handling incoming and outgoing mail, faxes, record-keeping, and filing;
  • Preparing and sending correspondence;
  • Answering phones and welcoming visitors to the office, as well as booking conference calls, travel arrangements, and meetings (including ordering food, booking facilities, and preparing materials);
  • Entering data into, and retrieving data from, a customer relationship management [CRM] system;
  • Fulfilling customer service duties (as needed), including registration and order processing;
  • Preparing, administering, and collating data from surveys;
  • Providing backup for customer service;
  • Ordering office supplies and purchasing cards or gifts;
  • Providing general administrative support to the Executive Director;
  • Acting as primary administrative support person for all Board of Directors work (eg. organizing meetings, travel/accommodation arrangements; consolidating, organizing, filing, and sending materials; and keeping records); and
  • Performing other administrative activities, as required.

Click here to read the full job description and to find out how to apply.

CLOSING DATE: This posting closes at 11:59 PM on Thursday, November 30, 2017, or until a successful candidate has been hired.

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50th Annual Refresher: Audio Files Now Available

50th Annual Refresher Audio Files

Whether you missed LESA’s 50th Annual Refresher in Lake Louise or want another opportunity to listen to the valuable presentations and panel discussions, you can now access audio recordings and program materials from each of the four substantive streams offered at the Refresher: civil litigation, family law, transactions, and wills and estates.

What’s Included | Civil Litigation Package

This civil litigation package includes audio recordings and program materials from the following sessions:

  • “Sharpening the Saw”: Improvement in Legal Skills Through Continuing Legal Education | Sandra J. Weber & Hollick Chipman
  • “After-the-Event Insurance”: Boon or Burden to Modern Litigants? | Ian Hu
  • Effective and Competent Legal Project Management | Joseph V. Miller QC & Kristian A. Duff
  • Mastering Alternative Dispute Resolution Opportunities | Hon. Justice B.A. Browne, Robert G. McBean QC, & Marney L. Lutz

Click here for more information.

What’s Included | Family Law Package

This family law package includes audio recordings and program materials from the following sessions:

  • Do Family Lawyers Have Ethical Obligations to the Children of Their Clients? | Nicholas Bala & Patricia M. Hébert QC
  • Separation and Divorce Later in Life | John-Paul E. Boyd
  • Jurisdictional Issues in Custody Matters | Krysta H. Ostwald
  • Old Dogs, New Tricks | Deni Cashin

Click here for more information.

What’s Included | Transactions Package

This transactions package includes audio recordings and program materials from the following sessions:

  • Reviewing and Negotiating Non-Disclosure Agreements – Tips and Traps | Matt Anderson
  • Risky Business: A Look at the Allocation of Risk in Commercial Transactions | Carolyn A. Wright
  • Purchase Price Adjustments in Share and Asset Transactions | William K. Jenkins
  • Implications and Applications of the Supreme Court of Canada’s New Principle of Good Faith and Duty of Honesty in Contractual Performance | Prof. Shannon O’Byrne & Leanne C. Krawchuk

Click here for more information.

What’s Included | Wills and Estates Package

This wills & estates package includes audio recordings and program materials from the following sessions:

  • Boilerplate Clauses in Wills: Faithful Friends or Vague Verbiage | Shel Laven
  • The Story of “Emma” and “Isabella”: The Litigious Embryos and Other Tales | Nancy L. Golding QC
  • Do You and Your Client Each Have What It Takes? | Helen R. Ward
  • Restrictions on Testamentary Freedom | Malcom F. Pritchard

Click here for more information.

LESA Library Exclusive

LESA Library subscribers receive 50% off each of these packages just for being subscribers. Find out what other perks you can get through your LESA Library subscription. Click here for more information.

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2017 Bencher Election Results

The Law Society of Alberta announced the results of the 2017 Bencher Election last week. The following Benchers are elected for a three-year term commencing February 22, 2018:

  • Donald Cranston QC | President-Elect
  • Rob W. Armstrong QC
  • Sandra L. Corbett QC
  • Nancy Dilts QC
  • Karen E. Hewitt QC
  • Cal D. Johnson QC
  • Linda L. Long QC
  • Walter J. Pavlic QC
  • Robert A. Philp QC
  • Kathleen A. Ryan QC
  • Darlene W.L. Scott QC
  • Kent Teskey QC
  • Margaret Unsworth QC
  • Ryan D. Anderson
  • Arman M. Chak
  • Corie Flett
  • Jim M. Lutz
  • Bud Melnyk
  • Stacy D. Petriuk
  • Nate J. Whitling

Congratulations to all newly elected Benchers, and thank you to everyone who stood for nomination. For more information, see the Law Society of Alberta’s Official Election Results.