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Please note!
Assist staff will have new direct dial phone numbers as of July 20th.
The 1-877 numbers will not change.
Executive Director - Loraine Champion: 1-587-779-7205
Communications and Program Coordinator - Eileen Lesko: 1-587-779-7200
Administrative Coordinator - Bao-Hoa Hong: 1-587-779-7203

Are you feeling like you are
always switched on?
Join us every Tuesday at noon,
for a 15 minute guided

session to help you turn off
stress and see the world differently!

to join on Tuesday, August 4


If you are an Internationally Trained
Lawyer and new to the Alberta legal market,
(or if you know someone who is), our joint
LESA/Assist webinar is a must-attend!

Please join us on August 12, 2020
from 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Click here to register!


Our yogi Danica teaches Assist's
every Wednesday at noon.
Join her this Wednesday,
along with your colleagues
from across the province to
improve respiration, energy
and vitality.

to join on Wednesday, August 5

please note change of
date & time!!!

12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Please join for companionship,
sociability, friendship, and a
wee bit of mentoring

to join on Tuesday, August 4

Today is my last day in the office before beginning a two-week vacation, the longest break I have taken since joining Assist a little over two years ago.

This week, we quietly launched our updated website ( As I took my dual monitors and ergonomic keyboard home in March for what I thought was going to be a two- or three-week hiatus from downtown, I was grateful that we had a big project that we would be able to focus on that was well-suited to remote-working. I had no idea how intense responding to COVID-19’s impact on Alberta lawyers, articling students, law students and family members would be.

As I check things off my to do list to get ready to be away from the office for two whole weeks (!), I took a few minutes to think about what we have done since March and I want to express my gratitude to everyone who made it possible.

When I think about how Assist operates, I always think of the classic line from Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire (although in a very different context!): “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”. Assist relies on the kindness of strangers, but we enfold them into the Assist family and they are not strangers anymore.

So, at the risk of sounding like Sally Field at the Oscars, I want to thank some unsung heroes without whom we could not do what we do:

First, Icona, our website designer who, when confronted with what we wanted and what our budget allowed, donated the balance back to us so that we could have our dream website without breaking our piggy bank. Dave and his team treated us like valued clients and not the poor cousins they had to be nice to. I hope that you will explore the website and join us in thanking Icona for making it so wonderful.

(The search function is still populating but should be operable soon!)

Secondly, our in-kind supporters:
  • Frontier Solutions who provides us with pro bono tech support. The fact that I am successfully working from home without breaking our database and the internet is a testament to their good work.
  • MNP who does our annual financial review pro bono. We had to defer our April board meeting and AGM because of the lockdown, but we will be holding them in September to approve our financial statements which will then be posted on our website.
  • JSS Barristers, who provide us with furnished offices for free. During the pandemic, they have kept our offices available to us, included us in their office reopening plan (although we opted to continue to work remotely) and assisted us with incoming mail. Thank you, JSS, for giving us a such a lovely home.
  • CBA-Alberta who is kindly allowing us to piggyback our fundraising campaign with the final print issue of Law Matters. This means that we won’t be reaching all 10,000 lawyers in the province plus articling students and judges, and sending instead to 5500 CBA members, but mailing letters to everyone would cost more than $8,000 in postage, which cannot be justified in the current economic climate. So if you are a CBA member, please notice the envelope from us later in August and if you aren’t a CBA member and want to support us, please visit Thank you CBA-Alberta!
  • ToppanMerrill who greatly subsidized production of our fundraising letter and customized bookmark. We have a limited number of Assist’s resilience building bookmarks available to non-CBA members who donate online and email Eileen at
Thirdly our volunteers.
  • I can’t count our yoga instructors as in-kind donors because that feels impersonal when they are giving from the centre of their beings. So thank you, Danica Doucette-Preville, a Calgary lawyer who helped us migrate yoga online (and Gowlings who allowed us to use their secure Zoom link to keep unwanted visitors out) and Amanda Huxley, an Edmonton lawyer and yogi, who leads our weekly mindfulness breaks. We look forward to the return of our favourite judge-yogi when in-person classes resume, but there may be a strong movement to keep yoga online while holding an in-person class …. We will have to see!
  • We held 2 sessions of refresher training and Level 1 training for new volunteers during July. Peer support continues to be busy and we are gearing up to what may be our biggest initiative to date when we take on telephoning all articling students to ask how they are doing at designated times during the year. It’s not too late to sign up to join this project and we will offer Level 1 training (the training required for participation) again if there are more of you wanting to train.
  • And we are grateful to our Red Mug Coffee Circles peer support volunteers. We have moved online (Mondays at noon if you would like to join) and I am thrilled that two young lawyers who participated in our group have found new positions as well as one of our law students! Red Mug Coffee Circles are not about connecting people with jobs but our volunteers help with resumes and insight into practice areas. Thank you to our amazing volunteers and the wonderful students and lawyers who join us!
We produced resources for the Alberta legal community, responding to needs as they presented themselves. The quiet time where I was going to focusing on the website did not exist anywhere but in my dreams.

I have spent the last few months saying, “if we just get through X, everything will be fine" and X kept growing into more projects. But we made it to the X that was "Loraine getting her vacation" and I am so grateful to everyone who supported us.

Practicing gratitude builds positivity, and taking the time to think about all of the people and organizations we have worked with over last little while and how we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them, has calmed my mind from my frantic TO DO list. I feel happy and optimistic about our path forward.

While I am away, you will see guest blogs from a couple of our volunteers (thank you Michele and Tiro). Eileen has everything well in hand so please contact her if you need anything (and I am very grateful to Eileen and Bao-Hoa for doing what they do so well that I can go away for two weeks feeling confident that all will be well).

I hope that you have a lovely two weeks until we chat again,
Copyright 2020 Alberta Lawyers' Assistance Society, All rights reserved.
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Assist: Alberta Lawyers' Assistance Society · c/o JSS Barristers · 800, 304 8 Avenue SW · Calgary, Alberta T2P1C2 · Canada

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