June 29, 2021
"My Experience" Project: Weekly Submissions
Over the past few months, we have been featuring submissions 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.

After the first week of July, we will be winding down sharing these experiences through our eBulletins but they will remain available on our Law Society Listens website. The opportunity to complete self-reflection questions or submit your own experience will remain open over the summer. We are appreciative of the amount of time, effort and courage every participant put in to providing their submissions, as this provides us with real-life examples of discrimination and harassment that has taken, and is still taking place in Alberta. The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee is progressing to the next phase of work in relation to the project, of analysing the experiences and themes identified through this project to inform the allocation of resources, policies, programming, and other areas within our regulatory jurisdiction. We will keep you informed on this related work as it moves forward.

Content Notice: The “My Experience” submissions discuss multiple forms of trauma, including systemic racism, sexual prejudice, microaggressions and mental health. Some of this material may be triggering or challenging to engage with. Please review at your individual comfort and safety level. We invite you to use the self-reflection questions to better understand your own feelings and instances where you have faced, witnessed or even contributed to similar experiences. If you need to talk to someone or need support, we encourage you to reach out to the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist).
“...I thought law would be yet another significant turning point; I was working with educated
professionals after all…However, my experiences showed me that education, prosperity, religious and cultural background, and a myriad of other factors are really not predictors of racially-motivated impropriety. I have many stories, one even involving a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench. I will share two among an unfortunate many...”

"...Having grown up in Alberta, I never really considered myself subject to racism until I went to law school. There, I immediately noticed that despite being a student who was used to frequent participation in classroom discussions, I was almost always selected after my white classmates were allowed to speak. This occurred in pretty much every lecture I took. Perturbed, I started asking all of my Asian classmates if they noticed the same thing, and every single one agreed. This subtle prejudice has continued throughout my career in almost every aspect of the legal profession..."

Recruiting Mentors for Mentor Express 2021-2022
A reminder that all new lawyers called to the bar will be automatically enrolled in the Mentor Express program for one year, beginning in September 2021. This automatic enrolment only applies to new Alberta lawyers entering their first year of practice. It does not apply to lawyers who are transferring to Alberta from another jurisdiction.

New lawyers can opt out of the Mentor Express program but are encouraged to build a mentorship relationship in another capacity, such as within their firm, organization or another mentoring program.

An expanded version of the Mentor Express program is launching in September 2021 to accommodate this change. For more information on this important change, read the full announcement and our FAQ.

Given the influx of new mentees coming to the program, we need new mentors now more than ever. 

Mentor Express allows mentees to browse an online listing of mentors and choose sessions with the mentors they are interested in meeting. It is an easy, low-commitment way for new lawyers to connect with experienced members of the legal profession. If you have practised for at least five years, you can serve as a mentor in Mentor Express.

As a mentor, you will meet with new lawyers on a schedule that works for you. Mentors only need to commit to 10 one-hour sessions per year, providing flexibility for busy lawyers interested in giving back to the profession.

Register to participate as a mentor in the program through the Law Society website. For further information about Mentor Express, visit our website or contact the Mentorship team by email.
National Indigenous History Month Comes to an End
Content warning: Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports. A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1.866.925.4419 or reach out to the Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society (Assist).

As National Indigenous History Month 2021 comes to an end, we recognize there is still a lot of work to be done. We are grateful for the Indigenous Advisory Committee for guiding us towards better relationships with Indigenous peoples and a deeper understanding on the work we need to do.

We hope you had an opportunity to take part in some of the virtual activities that took place on Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, 2021. If you missed the live sessions and are interested in learning more, you can access some of the sessions using the links below. 

Additional Indigenous Cultural Competency Resources

In addition to the requirement to complete "The Path" (Law Society of Alberta), we encourage all Alberta lawyers to access additional learning and resources. 

If you have any questions, contact the Law Society of Alberta's Indigenous Initiatives Liaison, Andrea Menard. She would be happy to speak with you one-on-one or she is available to provide more directed presentations to your firm or organization by request. 
International Association of Women Judges: ThoughtExchange Results
On behalf of the Canadian Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (CCIAWJ) and our partners at the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch we thank all those who took the time to participate in the ThoughtExchange survey on the engagement of women in the legal profession. 

Through the results of the ThoughtExchange, several themes emerged such as the need for flexible and remote working arrangements, better implementation of parental leave policies, as well as the need for more systemic change in the ways we approach the practice of law. A summary of the responses from the survey can be downloaded here and includes a breakdown of the respondents and the top-rated thoughts and recommendations submitted.

Looking ahead, the CCIAWJ will be hosting virtual roundtable discussions with members of the profession in the early fall. These discussions will flow from the themes identified in the ThoughtExchange survey and focus on how we move the profession forward and make changes to address the barriers women continue to face. More information about the roundtable discussions will be available soon.

If you are interested in attending the roundtable discussions, we invite you to email CBA Alberta to express your interest. We invite all members of the profession to participate, not only women, as it will take a collective effort from all of us to effect lasting change. 
Alberta Courts Notice to the Profession and Public

Access to all courthouses in Alberta will continue to be restricted in accordance with the Courts’ Notice dated November 27, 2020 until further notice.

The mask requirements set out in the Courts’ Notice dated July 6, 2020 will continue to apply to individuals attending at courthouses, subject to the exceptions noted therein. Anyone claiming a medical or disability exemption from the masking requirement must provide proof thereof. For those who do not have a face mask, one can be obtained from perimeter security at the entrance to the courthouse. All current protocols relating to physical distancing and courtroom capacity will continue until further notice.

We ask for the cooperation of the members of the public and Bar in complying with these requirements designed to protect everyone attending courthouses in this province.
Court of Queen's Bench Announcement

The Court of Queen’s Bench will continue to take a cautious approach to the resumption of operations as they were being conducted prior to March 2020. All matters scheduled for the months of July and August 2021 will proceed as scheduled in all Judicial Centres, subject to any further Announcement of the Court, unless otherwise ordered in individual cases. Learn more.
Upcoming Events
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