May 25, 2021
"My Experience" Project: Weekly Submissions
Each week, we will feature experiences in our eBulletins collected through the “My Experience” Project. We encourage you to read each experience in its entirety, so it is viewed the way the participant intended. To read more experiences, complete self-reflection questions or submit your own experience, visit the Law Society Listens website.
"...I was at some point working in [a medium sized city in] Alberta. There was a (white) legal assistant in the office [who has a relative] who was often in Youth Court. Once the legal assistant had to go to the local detachment of the RCMP [because of her relative]. When she came to the office, she told us what she saw at the RCMP she said she saw on the wall of fame of the police, pictures of people wanted by the RCMP and they are all foreigners. I asked her how she knew these people are foreigners, was it written on their face that they are foreigners. She told me that from their names, she figured out that they are foreigners. I asked her if she encounters someone whose name is Lee Teng Hui (this was actually the name of a President of Taiwan in the 90s who died recently), will she say that this person is a foreigner although he, his parents and grandparents were born and raised in Canada. Likewise if she encounters somebody whose name is McDonald, will she say that this person is a real Canadian although he may be fresh off the boat from Ireland or Britain..."

"...Appearing before certain Justices can be quite challenging. Even more where the opposing counsel is a senior lawyer or of a Caucasian descent. While this is not always the case for some Justices, for some, this automatically means the other counsel is smarter, will make a better argument and in fact will likely proffer a more meaningful resolution. As a result, the opposing side does not need to make much effort. Hence, you are treated with bias before you open your mouth. You are shut down before your submissions are complete. If you have a thicker accent, some Justices pretend to hear what you have said, and then make a ruling totally unexpected. I have heard counsel on the other side of certain matters tell me, 'wow, I was not expecting that', or 'that is way better than what we anticipated' or 'we did not even ask for that'. In most cases, your colleagues can tell that you have been dealt a different card as a result of your origin. This can be embarrassing, and it may take a toll on your self-confidence if you are already struggling to find yourself in a place that seems to want to beat you down at every opportunity..." 

Final Reminder: International Association of Women Judges: ThoughtExchange
Please note that lawyers have until the end of day today (Tuesday, May 25, 2021) to contribute to a ThoughtExchange on improving the retention and engagement of women in the legal profession.

Visit our website to learn more about this initiative. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Best Practice When Issuing Trust Cheques
The Trust Safety team at the Law Society wants to remind Alberta lawyers to follow best practice when using forms of paper-based payment such as trust cheques. The Law Society does not guarantee trust cheques because we do not know the financial position of the lawyers’ clients that made the deposits. Additionally, the Alberta Lawyers Indemnity Association Group Policy does not cover financial loss due to overdrafts or trust shortages.

Paper-based payment instruments such as cheques, certified cheques, money orders and bank drafts are subject to forgery, fraud or can potentially be returned due to insufficient funds, holds, restrictions on deposits or stop payments. Prior to making a withdrawal from a trust, a lawyer must ensure that the client has sufficient money in trust to cover the withdrawal and the trust bank account has sufficient funds to permit the withdrawal to be completed. Failure to complete the second step is a common source of inadvertent trust shortages, where a payment is made before the necessary funds into trust have cleared the bank account.

To prevent these types of shortages, please follow best practice:

  • Allow three to five business days for any paper-based payment instrument to clear the bank prior to making a withdrawal (the deposit slip from the bank does not guarantee that the funds have or will clear the bank and should not be solely relied upon); or,
  • Receive funds by electronic payment as this method is guaranteed and often irrevocable.

For more information or if you have any questions regarding your trust accounts, please contact Trust Safety.
Court of Queen's Bench Announcement

On May 20, 2021, the Court of Queen's Bench issued an announcement about technical problems with email servers in Calgary. Materials filed via email are currently in a queue.

Counsel and Parties who filed materials via email on May 19 and 20, 2021, will eventually receive a confirmation that those materials have been received and filed.

For all non-urgent matters, please do not contact the Clerk's Office or attempt to re-file materials electronically or in person unless you have not received confirmation by Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

As a result of the delays in email filing, physical attendance is permitted at the Calgary Courts Centre in limited circumstances, for the filing of documents with statutory or court-imposed deadlines of May 20 to 25, 2021, or for emergency applications.
Upcoming Events

Visit our Events page for a full list of upcoming events.