August 16, 2022
Land Titles Office Delays and Collecting Fees
The Practice Advisors have had several inquiries from real estate lawyers facing financial pressures due to delays in collecting fees on real estate transactions. These delays are a result of the current registration times at the Land Titles Office.

When a lawyer agrees to a flat fee for a service, typically the lawyer can only take payment if they have rendered an account and the file is complete. This is because Rule 119.28(3)(b) of the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta clearly states that trust money may only be withdrawn to pay for a firm’s fees if the billing relates to services actually provided and expenses actually incurred. With the delays at Land Titles currently exceeding three months, lawyers are faced with collecting their fees months after closing.

To avoid this problem, the lawyer and client could enter into a retainer agreement that allows the lawyer to take a portion of the flat fee at a specific point in the file. For example, a lawyer may want to collect 75 per cent of their fee after the closing has been completed and most of the work has been done. The lawyer could then collect the remaining 25 per cent after final reporting is complete. This is simply an example and the lawyer and client can come to a reasonable agreement that works for them. Any agreement should be in writing, signed by the client and kept on the file.

For existing files, a lawyer could also seek written agreement from a client to take a portion of the fees now if closing has already occurred and they are simply waiting for registration. If a change to the original agreement is made midway through the file, the client must agree to the change in writing.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to a Practice Advisor.
Recruiting Firms and Organizations for the 2023 Indigenous Summer Student Program
The Indigenous Summer Student Program (ISSP) for 1L and 2L law students is recruiting firms and organizations to participate in the 2023 summer student cycle.

The purpose of the program is to:

  • Provide an opportunity for Indigenous law students early in their legal career to obtain work experience in a law firm or organization;
  • Foster opportunities for ongoing relationships to develop between the Indigenous students and practising lawyers; and
  • Allow law firms and the legal profession to gain greater insight into Indigenous culture and issues.

Firms and organizations that are interested in participating can review the criteria for program and submit an application on our website.

Over the past 17 years, this program has received ongoing support from many law firms as well as government and other organizations resulting in employment opportunities for Indigenous law students. The Law Society does not have a role in the hiring process or the employment relationship; however, we will provide ongoing support and education to program participants, firms and organizations.

We encourage you to submit your applications as soon as possible, and if you have questions please reach out to the Program Coordinator.
Recruiting Mentees for 2022–2023 Mentor Express
There is still time to register as a mentee for the 2022–2023 Mentor Express program.

Mentor Express is a non-traditional mentorship program available to Alberta lawyers free of charge. Mentees browse an online listing of mentors and choose one-hour sessions with those they are interested in meeting. This self-match system allows mentees to seek guidance and insight relevant to their own career development with a variety of mentors in different work settings.
As a new lawyer, mentoring relationships can encourage and empower your professional development, help you identify and achieve career goals, and increase your confidence. By engaging in a mentoring relationship, you can expand your professional network and identify gaps in your knowledge or skills to address them early in your career.

Any Alberta lawyer interested in mentorship is eligible to participate as a mentee. The program is particularly beneficial for:

  • articling students,
  • new lawyers recently called to the bar,
  • young lawyers in their first years of practice, or
  • any lawyer seeking advice about transitioning to a new practice area or practice setting.

A reminder that all new lawyers called to the bar in 2022 will be automatically enrolled as mentees in the 2022–2023 Mentor Express program. For more information on automatic enrolment in Mentor Express, visit our website.

Lawyers who have practised at least five years, including active, inactive and retired lawyers, are eligible to serve as mentors in Mentor Express.

Register as a mentee or a mentor on our website. For more information on the program, visit our website or contact our Customer Service team.
Court of Queen's Bench Announcements

This announcement clarifies how Rule 16(1) of the Surrogate Rules applies to applications made through the Surrogate Digital Service (SDS).

Revised Criminal Bail Release Form of Order and Order to Vary Release Order are now available on the Court’s website.

These forms should replace the Criminal Bail Release Form and should be used:
  • where bail is being consented to, and
  • to propose release where bail is being contested and/or spoken to at a bail, bail review or detention hearing.

Upcoming Events
Well-Being in Practice | Oct. 4 – 5, 2022

Visit our website for a full list of upcoming events.