December 20, 2018
The Law Society of Alberta Board and staff wish you a happy holiday season!
Dec 24 - 26: Office Closed
Dec 31 - Jan 1: Office Closed
November 2018 Board Meeting Recap and Part-Time Fee Survey Results
As part of our commitment to open and timely communication, we will be sharing highlights from each Board meeting. Watch the November Board Recap Video.

At the November 2018 Board Meeting, results were shared about the part-time membership fee survey conducted with the profession in the fall. We had 1,043 survey responses and, after reviewing potential fee options and structures, 84% of respondents were in favour of implementing part-time membership fees. View the survey results report. The Board will use the information gathered from the survey to inform future decision making.
Conduct Process Rule Amendments
The Board approved changes to the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta to confirm that Law Society staff lawyers in the Conduct Department, as delegates of the Executive Director, continue to have the authority to review lawyer conduct that comes to the attention of the Law Society under section 53 of the Legal Profession Act. The rules take the place of previous Bencher resolutions. 

The Act permits the Executive Director to review new matters, to require lawyers to provide information, and to direct investigations. The Executive Director may also attempt to resolve disputes, and may dismiss complaints or make referrals to Practice Review or the Conduct Committee. The latest amendments to Rules 85, 86, 87 and 88 delegate these powers to Law Society staff lawyers in the Conduct Department.  

Another minor amendment to Rule 89.1 permits Law Society staff lawyers to notify lawyers when the Practice Review Committee makes a direction that it will conduct a general review and assessment of a lawyer’s conduct.

The new rules increase transparency and efficiency in conduct matters.
Board of Directors Welcomes Three New Faces and Bids Farewell to Three Long-Serving Lay Benchers
The Minister of Justice and Solicitor General has appointed three new Law Society Lay Benchers (public representatives). Elizabeth Hak, Barbara McKinley, and Cora Voyageur will join the Board (also known as Benchers) for a three-year term, replacing Amal Umar, Glen Buick and Bob Dunster. We are also pleased to announce Louise Wasylenko will continue to serve as a Lay Bencher, as her appointment has been renewed for three years.

We want to thank Ms. Umar, Mr. Buick and Mr. Dunster for their many years of dedicated service to the Law Society. Their contributions have made a significant impact, and their good work will continue to assist the Law Society in fulfilling its vision of being recognized as a model regulator.

The inclusion of Lay Benchers helps the Law Society achieve its public interest mandate by adding a public perspective to the Board table. They are a vital link between the Law Society and the public it serves.

Read more about the newest Lay Benchers in our Board Directory.
Recognizing Alberta Lawyers for Milestone Service to the Profession
The Law Society has traditionally recognized Alberta lawyers for their service in the legal profession through a variety of ways, including a dinner and a pin. 

As the number of lawyers in Alberta has grown to approximately 10,000, we have outgrown the recognition program as it was originally imagined when there were fewer lawyers in the province.

We believe it is important to celebrate lawyers who reach these key milestones in service because they are providing valuable services to Albertans.

Going forward, we will continue to recognize Alberta lawyers who achieve 30 and 50 years of service but we are changing the way we recognize these milestones.  

To learn more, visit Recognition of Service Program on our website. 
New Mentoring Program Launching in the New Year: Register as a Mentor or Mentee Today
Mentor Express is like online shopping for mentors. Mentees browse an online listing of mentors and choose sessions with whichever mentors they are interested in meeting. The self-match system allows mentees to seek guidance and insight relevant to their own career development with a variety of mentors in different practice areas and settings.

In Mentor Express, traditional long-term mentoring relationships are replaced with a series of monthly one-hour meetings with different mentors and mentees. Mentees meet a mentor only once and multiple mentors over the course of the program. And mentors will meet multiple mentees as well.

This provides mentors and mentees alike with exposure to a broader range of ideas and experiences while requiring mentors to commit less of their valuable time to the program. 

We will be launching Mentor Express in January 2019. Before we do that, we are busy building a pool of mentors and mentees.  

Interested in applying? Want to find out more? Visit our FAQ or website.
Indigenous Education Series: Indigenous Laws and Legal Issues Intensive Conference
The Law Society of Alberta is committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. We are providing lawyers with free education opportunities on Indigenous issues.

As part of this commitment the Law Society is pleased to offer a free one-day Indigenous Laws and Legal Issues Intensive Conference in Edmonton (Tuesday, February 19, 2019) and Calgary (Wednesday, February 20, 2019). 

Significant Family Law Changes
The Family Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 (Bill 28), received Royal Assent on December 11, 2018. 

Effective January 1, 2020, the Act will rename the Matrimonial Property Act the Family Property Act; extend property distribution rules to adult interdependent partners; and establish the beginning of the relationship of interdependence as the start date for property sharing for adult interdependent partners and spouses who lived in a relationship of interdependence before marrying. 

The Act also amends the Family Law Act eligibility criteria for child support for children 18 years of age or older. Consistent with the Divorce Act, the amended eligibility criteria extend to persons who are under their parents’ charge and unable, by reason of illness, disability, being a full-time student, or other cause, to withdraw from their parents’ charge or obtain the necessaries of life.

Finally, the Act repeals the Married Women’s Act.  

The changes to the Matrimonial Property Act come into force on January 1, 2020. The amendments to the Family Law Act and the repeal of the Married Women’s Act came into effect on December 11, 2018.

Further information can be found here.
Judgment Interest Act Interest Rate for Awards Set
The interest rate for awards under section 4(2) of the Judgment Interest Act has been set at 2.20 per cent for the period of January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.
Changes to Civil Claims Processes in Provincial Court Effective January 1, 2019
Spring 2019 JDR Schedule
The Court of Queen's Bench JDR website has been updated with booking procedures for the 2019 spring term.

Masters in Chambers and Justice of the Peace Positions Available
Master in Chambers Position Available
Recruitment is underway for a full-time Master in Chambers in Edmonton (Job ID #1052622).
View the position notice here.

Justice of the Peace Positions Available
Recruitment is underway for full-time and part-time Justices of the Peace in Calgary (Job ID#1052624) and Edmonton (Job ID #1052625).
View the position notices here.