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Alberta Law Society - Advisory

Friday, January 27, 2012

Printable Version

In this issue:
President's Report: Goodbye To All That
Executive Director's Report: Online Policies and Programs Support Sole Practitioners and Small Firm Lawyers
New President-Elect and Executive Elected for 2012-2013
A Portait of the Profession in 2012
Registries Liaison Committee Re-Established For Stakeholders
Profiles of Two Lawyers: Support Needed to Encourage Young Lawyers to Practice in Small Communities
Sole Practice – A New Year Resolution
Family Law Pilot Project Assists Clients in Court
Alternate Delivery of Legal Services Committee Preparing Final Recommendations
Declaration Period Now Open For CPD Plans
2011 Bencher Election Results
Law Society of Alberta Programs and Initiatives: Supporting the Retention and Re-engagement of Lawyers in the Private Practice of Law
Law Society Honours Edmonton Recipients for 50 Years of Service
Pro Bono Law Alberta: Engaging Lawyers and Involving Stakeholders through Innovative Projects
Ethically Speaking: The Ethics of Limited Scope Retainers
A Neutral Corner: Getting Away From It All!
Interest Growing Strong in SoloNet Pilot Project
Summary of Disciplinary Matters

President's Report: Goodbye To All That

By Douglas R. Mah, QC, President, Law Society of Alberta

You are reading my last message to you as President of the Law Society of Alberta. As of February 2, the very capable Steve Raby, QC assumes the presidential reins. That date also marks the conclusion of my eight years as a Bencher. I take this opportunity to make some observations about lawyer regulation both at the Bencher or governance level and at the operational or staff level.

>>To read more, click here

Executive Director's Report: Online Policies and Programs Support Sole Practitioners and Small Firm Lawyers

By Don Thompson, QC, Executive Director, Law Society of Alberta

Recognizing the unique challenges faced by sole practitioners and small firm lawyers practising in areas outside Edmonton and Calgary, the Law Society has endeavored to provide as many supports online as possible.

    Most of the Law Society’s programs, policies and supports are available online through its website, and its new Solonet pilot project.

>>To read more, click here

New President-Elect and Executive Elected for 2012-2013

At their November meeting, the Benchers elected a new President-Elect and Executive for the coming year.

    Bencher Carsten Jensen, QC will become the President-Elect for the 2012-2013 year. Steve Raby, QC becomes the President on February 2nd when current President Douglas Mah, QC steps down.
Joining Steve Raby and Carsten Jensen on the new Executive will be Rose Carter, QC; Jim Eamon, QC; Kevin Feth, QC; James Glass, QC; and Public Representative Miriam Carey, Ph.D.

A Portait of the Profession in 2012

>>To read more, click here

Registries Liaison Committee Re-Established For Stakeholders

By Steve Raby, QC, President-Elect and Representative to Registries Liaison Committee, Law Society of Alberta

The Registries Stakeholder Liaison Committee has recently been re-established as a forum for communication between Alberta Registries and certain stakeholders in respect of core registration business and policy matters.

>>To read more, click here

Profiles of Two Lawyers: Support Needed to Encourage Young Lawyers to Practice in Small Communities

By Derek Sankey

Susan Scott, Dunsford and Scott

From her home on an acreage in Rocky Mountain House, A.B., Susan Scott’s commute to work takes her about five to 10 minutes past the Clearwater River into town. Like many small towns, it’s one of those places where everybody seems to know each other. 

>>To read more, click here

Sole Practice – A New Year Resolution

By Marian V. De Souza, LL.B., Executive Director, Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist)

I hope 2012 brings you and your family health, prosperity, fun and fulfillment. Beginning a new year is perhaps a good time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future.

    In “Solo Practice: Advantages and Disadvantages,” Priya Thangarajah compares practicing solo with working for a firm. Why have you chosen the path of a sole practitioner? 

  • Job security?
  • More control of your time?
  • Greater control of the type of work you do and clients you take on? 
  • A different, some may say closer, relationship with clients and their issues? 
  • More control to align your values and ideology with your work?

>>To read more, click here

Family Law Pilot Project Assists Clients in Court

By Douglas R. Mah, QC, President, and Chair, Alternate Delivery of Legal Services Committee, Law Society of Alberta

A pilot project of Student Legal Services now enables University of Alberta law students to assist clients by appearing before the Court of Queen’s Bench in certain family law applications.

    The services in question are of limited scope and may be provided in only two circumstances: where low complexity child support orders and variation orders are sought, and where substitutional service orders are requested.

>>To read more, click here

Alternate Delivery of Legal Services Committee Preparing Final Recommendations

By Douglas R. Mah, QC, President, and Chair, Alternate Delivery of Legal Services Committee, Law Society of Alberta

In 2009, the Law Society was asked by the then Minister of Justice, Alison Redford, QC to explore alternate delivery of legal services to further the goal of enhancing access to justice for Albertans.

    Nearly three years later, the Alternate Delivery of Legal Services Committee has almost completed its work as it prepares to present its final report to the Benchers.

>>To read more, click here

Declaration Period Now Open For CPD Plans

By Jim Glass, QC, Bencher and Chair of the Continuing Competence Committee, Law Society of Alberta

With the start of the New Year, now is the time to evaluate your 2011 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) plan as the foundation for preparing your 2012 plan.

    Any time between January 1, and March 15, lawyers are required to declare they have made a plan for this year.

>>To read more, click here

2011 Bencher Election Results

Of the 8,675 packages sent to lawyers eligible to vote, 3,681 of them voted successfully – this represents 42.4% of the eligible voters.  Of those 3,681 voters, 60% voted online (2,197) and 40% sent in hard copy ballots (1,484).  The Law Society of Alberta thanks all candidates for allowing their names to stand for election.

>>To read more, click here

Law Society of Alberta Programs and Initiatives: Supporting the Retention and Re-engagement of Lawyers in the Private Practice of Law

By Sarah J. King-D’Souza, QC, Bencher and Chair, Retention and Re-Engagement Task Force

The Law Society of Alberta recognizes the importance of a diverse legal profession in serving the public interest in the delivery of legal services.

    In 2010, the Law Society renewed its efforts by forming the Retention and Re-Engagement Task Force. Considerable research has been undertaken by the Task Force to further study the attrition of lawyers, and where difficulties in the private practice of law are being encountered by lawyers. The goal of the Task Force is to recommend effective initiatives and programs that will assist to overcome the problems and barriers identified in its research.

>>To read more, click here

Law Society Honours Edmonton Recipients for 50 Years of Service

An excerpt of a speech made by Douglas R. Mah, QC, President of the Law Society of Alberta at a Long Service Awards luncheon held in Edmonton on November 24, 2011.

It is my great pleasure to welcome each of you here today as we celebrate the distinguished careers of six Alberta lawyers. 

    The six lawyers we are honouring today are: Honourable Judge D.R. Wong; David J.R. Ross, QC; Jack N. Agrios, OC, QC; R.G. Cummings, QC; Rostyk Sadownik; and Robert E. Schnell, QC.

>>To read more, click here

Pro Bono Law Alberta: Engaging Lawyers and Involving Stakeholders through Innovative Projects

By Dale Spackman, QC, Bencher and Director, Pro Bono Law Alberta

Pro Bono Law Alberta was established as the legacy project of the Law Society of Alberta during its centenary celebrations in 2007. Its vision is: “Creating and promoting pro bono opportunities for Alberta lawyers”.  Its mission is: ”To improve access to justice by increasing the scope and availability of pro bono legal services to Albertans of limited means. Pro bono legal services are intended to complement, not to replace, a properly funded legal aid system”.

>>To read more, click here

Ethically Speaking: The Ethics of Limited Scope Retainers

By Nancy Carruthers, Practice Advisor, Law Society of Alberta

Alberta lawyers have been engaged in limited scope retainers for years, perhaps without knowing it. For example, when the wrongfully dismissed employee calls to ask if the settlement being offered by his employer is fair, your advice to “take it and run” is really a form of limited retainer.

>>To read more, click here

A Neutral Corner: Getting Away From It All!

By Jocelyn Frazer, Equity Ombudsperson, Law Society of Alberta

The following is adapted from a practice management article by former Practice Management Advisory Paul McLaughlin.

Its winter and the days are slowly getting longer. Soon it will be spring and then summer, and it will seem like everyone will be going on vacation except you.  You need a holiday.

    Your family has needs too! From time to time, everyone needs to take time off to recharge their batteries. Now is the time to start planning your summer vacation.

>>To read more, click here

Interest Growing Strong in SoloNet Pilot Project

By Jocelyn Frazer, Equity Ombudsperson, Law Society of Alberta

As a pilot project, Solonet has over a hundred users, with interest still growing in the online network for sole practitioners and lawyers in smaller communities.

SoloNet was launched in mid-July 2011, by the Office of the Practice Advisors as an online forum to enable sole practitioners and lawyers in smaller communities in Alberta to connect and share information.

>>To read more, click here

Summary of Disciplinary Matters

In this Summary of Disciplinary Matters, the Law Society of Alberta seeks to educate and inform lawyers on its role as an independent regulator in the public interest.

 The hearing reports issued may correspond to the hearings held during this period, but may reflect hearings held earlier. In this issue, one of the reports are sum­marized below. All hearing reports are available at www.lawsociety.ab.ca  under Lawyer Regulation/Hearings & Outcomes/Hearing Reports.

>>To read more, click here

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Benchers Announce Recent Appointments to Legal Aid Board

The Benchers of the Law Society of Alberta recently appointed Lori Bokenfohr, an independent practitioner in Calgary to the Legal Aid Board for a three-year term.

Also, the Benchers re-appointed public members Richard Luciani of Calgary and John Bachinski of Edmonton to the Board for second terms of three years.

Lori Bokenfohr was appointed to replace Kirk Macdonald who stepped down in 2011 as Chair of the Board of Legal Aid Alberta.

 

Calgary Legal Guidance To Celebrate 40th Anniversary

On Thursday, February 23, 2012, Calgary Legal Guidance will celebrate 40 years of service with a fundraising Anniversary Dinner at Hotel Arts in Calgary. 

The reception begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner with the event program beginning at 7:00 pm. Individual tickets are $150 and tables of eight are available for $1,200. Tickets to the fundraising dinner can be ordered at www.clg.ab.ca.  

 

Did You Know?

*In communities of less than 10,000 residents, 52% of survey respondents were sole practitioners, compared to 38% in communities with 10,000 – 20,000 residents.

*Most respondents reported that they operate general practices, providing legal services in many areas of law.

*94% of respondents had not hired an articling student in the past five years, with the barriers being: time required to supervise (36%), insufficient variety of work (37%) and inconsistent level of work (35%).

From the Report on the Findings of the Survey of Lawyers Practicing in Smaller Alberta Communities, Merrill Cooper, Guyn Cooper Research Associates Lt. June 29, 2011. (Survey  completed by 230 lawyers.)

 

Counsel Positions Serve the Public Interest and Protect Principles of Justice

Lawyers seeking to make a difference are encouraged to explore two Counsel positions which offer law practitioners an opportunity to serve the public interest and protect the fundamental principles of justice.

The Law Society is seeking a Senior Counsel for either its Calgary or Edmonton office, and a Counsel for its Edmonton office.

The Senior Counsel position is responsible for all legal services required by the Law Society, and participates as a member of the executive leadership team which provides management and strategic expertise to the operation of the Law Society. This leadership position reports directly to the Executive Director/CEO. It leads a team of four lawyers and supporting staff, as well as retaining and supervising external counsel, to provide effective and efficient service.

As well, the Law Society seeks an experienced lawyer to join its outstanding counsel team in Edmonton.

To read the complete job descriptions please visit www.lawsociety.ab.ca.

The Law Society values diversity in its workforce and equal access to opportunity. All inquiries and applications will be handled with the highest level of confidentiality.

This is an exclusive search. For more information or to apply, contact Sameera Sereda at 403-444-1763.

 

 

 

Wills and Succession Act: What’s New?

This Wills and Succession Act is a new law that consolidates the Wills Act, Intestate Succession Act, Survivorship Act, Dependents Relief Act and section 47 of the Trustee Act.  It also includes changes to the Matrimonial Property Act, the Administration of Estates Act, and the Family Law Act. 

This single Act specifies how and whom property is transferred when a person dies.  It makes Alberta’s succession legislation easier to use and understand. 

This legislation was passed by the legislature in December 2010; it will come into force on February 1, 2012. The proclamation of section 117 of the Wills and Succession Act, which deals with matrimonial property on death, will be delayed pending further discussion with the bar. This delay will provide interested Alberta lawyers the opportunity for further input into the issue of inheritance rights when there is a matrimonial property claim.

Important changes to the Act include:

  • Abolishing the law that getting married revokes a will. Under the new Act, getting divorced or ending a relationship will revoke gifts to an ex-spouse or adult interdependent partner.
  • Ensuring spouses and partners have a temporary place to live when their spouse or partner dies if they do not already own the property.
  • If they own less than their share of the couple’s matrimonial property, a surviving spouse may claim the value of his or her share from the estate of the spouse, on the death of their spouse. They do not need to be divorced or separated to make this claim.
  • If two or more people die at or around the same time, the property is distributed as if each person died before the other. Previously, if two or more people died at about the same time, for property distribution purposes, the youngest was deemed to have survived.
  • The admission of extrinsic evidence (i.e. evidence which is not contained in the document itself) is permitted in interpreting a will. The court may admit corroborated outside evidence, including evidence to help prove the deceased’s intention.
  • If there is no will and a person leaves both a spouse/partner and children of the relationship with that spouse/partner, everything goes to the spouse/partner, instead of being shared between the spouse/partner and children.
  • If there is no immediate family and no will, the rules have changed with respect to the ultimate distribution of an estate.
  • Family members can apply for support from the deceased’s estate. Family members previously included spouses, partners, children under age 18 and children over age 18 who by reason of physical or mental disability are unable to earn a livelihood. Under the new Act, family members will also include adult children under age 22 who are full-time students, and minor grandchildren or great-grandchildren who depend on a deceased grandparent or great-grandparent.

Further information about the new Act and detailed amendments to sections of the Act can be found at http://www.justice.alberta.ca/wills.

To obtain a copy of the Act, visit the Alberta Queen’s Printer website at http://www.qp.alberta.ca.

 

Benchers and Executive Leadership Team

Douglas R. Mah, QC, President
Stephen Raby, QC, President-Elect
Larry Ackerl, QC
Neena Ahluwalia, QC
Rose Carter, QC
James Eamon, QC
Dennis Edney, QC
Ron Everard, QC
Fred Fenwick, QC
Kevin Feth, QC
James Glass, QC
Carsten Jensen, QC
Sarah King-D’Souza, QC
Adam Letourneau
Roy Nickerson, QC
Frederica Schutz, QC
Donald Scott, QC
Dale Spackman, QC
Scott Watson, QC
Tony Young, QC

PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVES
Miriam Carey, Ph.D.
Wayne Jacques
Larry Ohlhauser, MD
Amal Umar

EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Don Thompson, QC,
Executive Director
Howard Kushner,
Deputy Executive Director - Regulation
Michael Penny, QC,
Director, Policy & Research
Greg Busch,
Director, Lawyer Conduct
Lisa Sabo,
Director, Insurance
Drew Thomson,
Director, Corporate Services
Andrew Norton, Director, Business Technology
Nona Cameron,
Director, Human Resources

The Advisory is published five times a year for lawyers, stakeholders, and affiliates of the Law Society of Alberta. Articles and comments should be directed to Sheila Serup at Sheila.Serup@lawsociety.ab.ca  

Editors
Sheila Serup
Allison Jacoby

Design
Myron Advertising + Design


 

Printable Version

www.lawsociety.ab.ca
Law Society of Alberta
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Calgary, Alberta T2R 1P3
Phone: 403-229-4700

Edmonton Office
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Phone: 780-429-3343

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