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CPD Deadline is Fast Approaching!

Mark your calendars! March 15th, 2011 is the due date for declaring your Continuing Professional Development plan to the Law Society of Alberta. For more information regarding resources for the development and declaration of your plan, visit the CPD website. As always, the Legal Education Society of Alberta is here to meet your CPD needs. Visit our website for detailed information on all of our upcoming programs, or click to view our 2010-2011 Educational Calendar.

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Foundation of Administrative Justice Presents the 2011 Conference, New Horizons: Legal Issues for Tribunals

This conference brings together a wide variety of leading tribunal members, counsel and advocates exploring legal issues facing tribunals today and in the future.  Valuable for individuals who are involved with administrative justice boards and commissions!!  Speakers come from a wide knowledge and experience base.

The conference kicks off with Assessing Credibility of Witnesses.  Some of the other topics covered are:  Content of a decision, navigating a complicated tribunal process, and bias.  Dean Phillip Bryden wraps up the conference with Leading Cases from the Courts.

Register Now!!  Don’t miss out on the early bird registration and save $150.00.

Visit their website for details!

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We Remember Len J. Pollock Q.C.

We received very sad news that Leonard J. Pollock Q.C. passed away last night. In addition to being a practicing lawyer, Len was an institution within the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law for 30 years, a Bencher, and a LESA contributor. We sincerely appreciate Len’s service to our profession. He will be deeply missed.

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Watch Your Desktop!

LESA Upcoming Programs

Watch for 6 new brochures to hit your desk this week!

We have incredible programming upcoming, with prominent practitioners on our faculty and topics that you will not want to miss. Register early for our Civil Advocacy Series: Evidence for Litigators afternoon skills workshop  – space is limited! And for the 29th consecutive year, we are offering our Intensive Advocacy course, which guarantees to leave you with improved skills. Space is limited for this multi-day program; contact our office today to secure your spot!

For more details or to download the digital brochures, visit our website.

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2011 Tech Trends for Lawyers

As noted by blogger Niki Black at Sui Generis, 2011 will bring rapid changes in the realm of technology for everyone, lawyers included. Lawyers, however, are a unique subset of the population, and as the trends indicate, lawyers use technology  differently.

As Black notes, lawyers will purchase technological tools that will enable them greater mobility and flexibility, predicting that by the end of 2011, most lawyers will own a smart phone. Those in large firms will maintain the conventional use of the Blackberry, while smaller boutique firms or solo practitioners will begin to shift towards the iPhone and other Android options.

The use of tablet computers, quickly gaining popularity in all fields, including the legal field, will increase throughout 2011. One of the big benefits of an iPad (or other PC-based tablet as often chosen by lawyers) is the ability to carry, read, and edit large files on the go. Not only does this mean less weight to lug around, but work can now be taken to virtually any location.

Social media is as prevalent as ever, with studies showing how micro-blogging on sites, such as Twitter and updating ones status on Facebook, have taken the lead in multiple fields. For lawyers, however, the use of Twitter is predicted to decrease throughout 2011 based on its change in usage. According to Black, lawyers are looking for ways to network, a function more aligned with Facebook, rather than the changing use of Twitter, which is now moving more towards information sharing. Blogging is predicted to be on the rise in law firms, not only for the increase it gives in search engine rankings, but also for its ability to showcase a law firm’s legal expertise.

Which, if any, technological trends are followed in your law firm? Which tech tools or social media platforms are you currently using? We’d love to hear from you!

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New Division at Alberta Justice and Attorney General, Justice Services

It was announced on Friday, January 28, 2011 that there will be a new division at Alberta Justice and Attorney General. The new Justice Services Division brings together a number of programs including:

Maintenance Enforcement Program
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims and Motor Vehicle Accident Recovery
Abandoned and Seized Vehicle Program
Office of the Public Trustee
Medical Examiner’s Office
Oversight of and relationship with Legal Aid plan
Civil Forfeiture Office

Recruitment for a new Assistant Deputy Minister to lead Justice Services is underway. This process is expected to be completed by April, 2011. The belief is that this will position Alberta to achieve its goal of leading the most innovative and accessible justice system in Canada, as well as having communities that are among the safest in the world.

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Law Society and CBA Honour LESA Board Member

Catherine A. Brown is being honoured by the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Alberta for Distinguished Service in Legal Scholarship. Catherine has been a LESA board member since the fall of 2008. The 2011 Distinguished Service Awards luncheon will occur tomorrow, Friday, January 28th, 2011 at the Alberta Law Conference at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton, Alberta.

And while you’re there…stop by and check out the LESA booth for a chance to win a complimentary 1-day registration in a program of your choice!

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From the Desk of Paul Wood, Executive Director

Do you negotiate through e-mail? Consider this blog post from Psyblog via colleague, Matt Homann at the [non]billable hour:

Email negotiations often feel difficult, especially with people we don’t know well. When Naquin et al. (2008) compared them with face-to-face negotiations, they found that people were less co-operative over email and even felt more justified in being less co-operative.

Another reason negotiations can be difficult over email is that when negotiating with a stranger, because email is so short and to-the-point,  there is little or no rapport to fall back on. So if negotiations hit a problem, they can quickly fall apart.

Morris et al. (2002) have found that even a single telephone call can create enough good feeling between the parties to bridge the rapport gap.

If you want to enhance your negotiation skills consider attending LESA’s Gain the Edge! Negotiation Strategies for Lawyers in Edmonton on February 23, 2011 and in Calgary on February 24, 2011. This program features national negotiation expert and author Martin E. Latz. For more details click on the link above.

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The QR Code – An Introduction



If you are like some of us at LESA, the innovations of technology continue to inspire, boggle the mind and allow for new growth opportunities – all at the same time! This rings true with the development and growing use of the Quick Response (QR) code. If you are a smart phone user, you may have heard of these and used them to your benefit already. Or perhaps, you’ve seen the pixelated graphic in print media and wondered what it was and how it was used.

Smart phones cameras capture/scan the image to retrieve embedded information within the QR code–information including URLs, video, imagery and audio. Some user have included a QR code on their business cards, whereby a scanner can link to a CV or website. If used within your practice, this could potentially allow your clients to find you and your firm faster.  Google is now using QR codes to promote their Google Pace Pages project by sending codes to businesses identified as being top searches on Google Maps. By calling attention to the business as being a Google Favourite Place, the business wins by gaining recognition. The user benefits by being able to pull up the ‘place page’ for information including videos, photos, nearby transit, and patron reviews. Good information faster – now that is inspiring!

Watch for a follow-up post, “The QR Code – How to Capture”.

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LESA Welcomes New Associate Director, Christine Hunter

LESA welcomes new Associate Director of Educational Resources, Christine Hunter to the team. We sat down with Christine to share with you a little about who she is, where she comes from, and what drives her ambitious spirit.

Christine, please share with us a bit about your background. Education, family, work?
I attended the University of Alberta where, after a semester abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, I received my Bachelor of Commerce. I went east to Queen’s for my first year of law school but returned to the U of A to finish my law degree. Following this, I clerked at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, in Calgary, and was hired as an associate at a large, national firm focusing on Commercial Real Estate. After two years of private practice, I decided to continue with my education and moved to New York City to obtain my Master of Laws at Columbia University. I have now happily moved into my role at LESA and am excited for this new challenge.

I relocated to Edmonton when my partner, Adam, also a lawyer, found a new job in the city. We recently purchased a home and I am immersed in the decorating process!

What influences you the most?
I am most influenced by the people who work around me – knowing that I’m part of a dedicated team just motivates me to achieve as much as I can.

What led you to pursue a career in the legal profession?
I was always interested in education and business and originally chose to attend business school. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to head after my business degree but I knew I wanted to continue with my own education. Law school seemed like the natural progression as it gave me the opportunity to do exactly what I wanted – researching, writing and learning as much as I can about a number of subject areas. Now that it has led me down an education path, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher!

You seem to be an ambitious and driven individual – what motivates you?
I have always been a classic ‘first-born child’ and motivated by the desire to do the best job at whatever position I am in. Ensuring that the people I’m working for are getting everything that I can possibly provide is a huge motivating factor for me.