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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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In this issue:
Disaster Recovery Resources

The result of recent devastating flooding in Southern Alberta has proven unimaginable for many Alberta residents and has affected many lawyers and their families. The best wishes of Law Society of Alberta Benchers and staff go out to those impacted by the flooding. We are confident that with the support and cooperation of fellow Alberta lawyers, those affected will be able to rebuild and continue to provide exceptional legal services to their clients.

As we begin to shift our focus to rebuilding, the Law Society of Alberta Practice Advisors offer the following advice and resources to assist lawyers in dealing with their recovery efforts. This information is also available at As always, please feel free to contact the Practice Advisors if you have any further questions.

Don Thompson, QC
Executive Director


Disaster Recovery Resources

In anticipation of a high volume of questions, the Law Society of Alberta Practice Advisors have provided the following information pertaining to flood-related issues.  

One lawyer in Calgary has indicated that he has interim office space available. Please contact the Practice Advisors for details.

Calgary Land Titles Office Reopened

The Calgary Land Titles office returned to operations on Wednesday, June 26. They have advised their work is current (3 days or less receipted) and that Calgary’s work is caught up to what was available prior to last week's closure.

Further details and updated information can be found at: and


1.  What can I do once a disaster has taken place?

Review the interim Disaster Recovery Checklist which provides suggested steps to take in restoring your practice.

2.  My files and documents are damaged. What can I do about water damaged files?

The Rules of the Law Society of Alberta require you to maintain certain accounting records for 10 years (Rules 119.36 and 119.37). Client files should be retained for a period of 10 years following the end of the fiscal year in which they were closed. Retention of hard copies of client files is not mandatory, but is recommended for loss prevention purposes. Client wills must be kept indefinitely. There may be other files which you have identified for retention beyond 10 years.

Review some brief guidelines for handling flood-damaged documents here. Also see the PracticePro link below for more information on dealing with water damaged files.

Please keep in mind that any material submerged in water for over 24 hours must be treated as contaminated. There may be a need to freeze-dry them and you may wish to contact a disaster restoration expert to assist you if they are critical documents. File restoration may, however, be an expensive process and is not necessary for many client files.

Your insurer may be able to direct you to some restoration companies, or you can search for local listings. Although most are expected to be exceptionally busy during this critical time, the following three companies may be available to assist:

Belfor: 403-215-5555 (Calgary) website

On Side Restoration: 403-291-2980 (Calgary) website 

Polygon: 1-800-422-6379 website

If destroying water-damaged files, please ensure that client confidentiality is maintained during the destruction process. We recommend, at a minimum, that you maintain a record of the files you have lost in this flood.

A file inventory form is available here.

3.  I cannot access my office. How can I gain access to my Trust Funds?

If you cannot access your office to obtain trust cheques to close your real estate deal, you may either wire funds pursuant to Rule 119.42, or you may withdraw trust funds by way of a bank draft or money order pursuant to Rule 119.46 with prior notice to the Law Society.

Fax the Bank Drafts and Money Orders form to 780-424-1620 Attention: Loreen Austin, Acting Manager, Trust Safety.

See the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta on our website.

Click on the links to access the forms for Electronic Banking Withdrawals from Trust and Bank Drafts and Money Orders from our website.

4.  I need to migrate my data. How can I do this?

At the current time, a practice management software provider, Clio, has offered 60 days of free service on a priority basis to assist lawyers in migrating their data. If you are interested, contact them at You do not have to be a Clio client to access this offer.

5.  I have lost my resource material from LESA. How can I replace it?

LESA recently communicated its willingness to assist in the replacement of lost LESA materials due to flooding. You may obtain access to the materials electronically.
Contact LESA toll free at 1.800.282.3900 or at

Other Helpful Links

Justice Alberta Website – Emergency Information Calgary Page

Alberta Government – 2013 Flood Information Page

CBA: Surviving Chaos in Times of Crisis – Disaster Recovery for Small and Medium Sized Law Practices

PracticePRO: Managing Practice Interruptions (This article contains some suggestions for dealing with water damage.)

ASSIST (Alberta Lawyers Assist)


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Law Society of Alberta
Calgary Office
Suite 500, 919 11th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 1P3
Phone: 403-229-4700

Edmonton Office
Suite 800, Bell Tower
10104-103 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0H8
Phone: 780-429-3343

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