Legal Information Services with Primo: Robust, Responsive, and Capable

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By Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick

In Fall 2017, the Law Society Library launched Primo, our new catalogue and Integrated Library System. In doing so, the Law Society Library took a big step towards the future of modern legal information services. Our goal is for you to be able to access the entirety of our services and resources – print and digital – through a single convenient portal. Primo is going to be your one-stop shop for legal information in Saskatchewan: ebooks, textbooks, articles, databases, case law, websites, and more.

If Primo seems familiar to you, don’t be surprised. Many libraries, including the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and Saskatchewan Legislative Library, are using Primo as well, and for good reasons. Primo will ensure the Law Society Library continues to excel at customer service, provide robust and responsive legal information services, and offer members competitive return on investment.

If you have not already, we urge you to watch our free recorded CPD webinar on using Primo:

Free Webinar: Primo (CPD-178) December 14, 2017
Presenters: Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick
Qualifies for 1 CPD hour

On that note, here are a few tips to help you maximize Primo’s potential:

First, make sure to sign in. Primo has many features that are not active unless you sign in. Look for the word “Guest” in the top right corner of your screen, and click on it. You will be directed to the Members Section sign-in screen, then, having signed in, you will be redirected back to Primo.

Searching will go much better if you know your search operators. Primo does not display its operators, but it does recognize the following operators displayed in the table below.  In Primo, operators are case-sensitive.  This means that you must capitalize the letters of the operator for the search to work.

Primo automatically identifies term variants, applies truncation, recognizes compound words, and corrects spelling errors. There are advantages and disadvantages to such highly mediated searching. Novice searchers will tend to get better results. A major drawback is that not knowing exactly how a search engine works sometimes makes it difficult to refine a search.

Once you have some search results, you can sort and filter them in various ways. Note sorting and filtering options on right side of screen. The default sort option is relevance, but you may also select date, reverse date, author or title. You can also limit your results by applying one or more filters such as subject, material type, or library location.

And finally, since you are signed in, take advantage. Primo allows you to organize your records into different folders. In the search results screen, click on the pin icons to the right of a few hits. These records are now in your favourites. Now look to the top right of the screen and find the pin icon just to the left of your name. The Favourites screen allows you to add labels to your records so you can store related ones together. You can also save your searches and re-run previous ones.


Career integration of Internationally Trained Lawyers

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By Lola Ayotunde

This is the second of 2 articles on Equity and Diversity. The first article “Equity and Diversity Committee Seeks Input by Kara Dawn Jordan was posted yesterday.

In response to this article, the Law Society is offering the following free webinar on May 24, 2018: Integration of Internationally Trained Lawyers. The webinar qualifies for 1 CPD Hour, which also qualifies for Ethics.

To register click here: Integration of Internationally Trained Lawyers

For most professionals who decide to migrate to other countries, one question resonates: “How do I integrate into my profession in my new home country?” As a lawyer planning to migrate to Canada, I found out that the door to my career integration is the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA).

The NCA is the standing committee of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada that assesses the legal education and professional experience of Internationally Trained Lawyers (ITLs). This article focuses on the challenges of ITLs who received their legal education outside Canada.

This is not an attempt to understate the plight of Canadian lawyers who received their legal education outside Canada or immigrants who received their legal education from a Canadian University. However, this article brings to light the challenges of migrant-ITLs who received their Certificate of Qualification from the NCA.

After crossing the rigorous hurdles of the NCA exams, I obtained my Certificate of Qualification. Becoming a lawyer is challenging everywhere but the process of searching for an articling position was one of the most difficult hurdles I have crossed in my career.

Although I received my Master of Laws degree from a Canadian University, I was not prepared for the realities that confronted me in my search for an articling position through countless calls, emails and visitations to law firms. I took the proactive step of applying for articling positions while I was writing my NCA exams, but the lawyers I was fortunate to meet either did not understand my position as an NCA student or were unwilling to commit to an NCA student because they were not sure I would obtain the Certificate of Qualification.

I received responses like “come back when you are qualified”. It was clear to me that many lawyers did not know about the NCA stream of lawyers/applicants and did not understand the  evaluation of foreign law degrees and certificates. I must say, however, that some lawyers spared time to ask questions and showed interest in knowing my capabilities and how my professional qualifications compared to the Canadian legal system, but for the most part, my endeavors to become a lawyer in Canada were met with several obstacles.

ITLs are saddled with unanticipated stumbling blocks in the process of seeking articling positions and, unfortunately, after call-to-the-bar. I found out that different factors worked against me as an ITL/NCAcertified applicant:

1. Recruitment Calendar

Most law firms and government organizations recruit articling students who are in the second year of law school a year before the students intend to commence articling. The process is totally  different for ITLs because of the NCA schedule. I was unable to secure an articling position while writing my NCA exams because the lawyers were not sure of my success in the NCA process and were unwilling to commit to a yet-to-be-certified ITL.

When I completed my NCA exams and received my Certificate of Qualification, I was ready to start articling, immediately. Unfortunately the big law firms had already recruited articling students during the recruitment period. Other firms have either not decided to take on an articling student for that year or already have an articling student or need some time to decide whether to take on articling students.

Of course most law firms do not recruit articling students spontaneously, hence the benefit for a second year law student. For an ITL looking for an immediate placement, and depending on when the Certificate of Qualification was obtained, this may mean waiting for months or a year before the recruitment window opens again and/or before a law firm decides to advertise for articling position.

2. Lack of Mentors

Most law schools have career officers that assist students with securing articling positions. ITLs do not have access to the services of career officers. More so, law schools often organize career  workshops that give law students the opportunity to meet lawyers while in law school.

Law students can cultivate mentorship relationships with lawyers in this process and receive valuable guidance in their career path. ITLs do not have the same access to career officers and mentors. It is a daunting task to navigate through and sometimes against the conventions and practices of the legal society you are about to join.

3. Systemic Discrimination

Underlying discriminatory factors can influence hiring practices or create roadblocks for ITLs. From my experiences thus far, I must respectfully suggest the matter is a systemic one. Persons in charge of hiring can be taken aback by an applicant’s name, professional background, accent or race, and this systemic discrimination can shut the door on an ITL’s integration into the legal profession.

The unfortunate impression that is left is that future colleagues, because of your name or background or race, may see you as less intelligent. Many ITLs come from countries that speak differently from Canadians. Even those that have English as their first language sometimes have a differentiating accent.

This sometimes creates communication gaps and some lawyers, colleagues and judges do not have the patience to listen and understand a different communication style. Having a senior lawyer advise an ITL/articling applicant to “consider taking a course at the Open Door” without ever meeting or talking to the aspiring lawyer is discouraging and disheartening. Such perceptions about ITLs are difficult to dispel even if the preconceived notion does not apply to that applicant you may be about to decline.

4. NCA Students or ITLs are not the same

Painting people with the same brush and making negative assumptions about them is perhaps another indication of systemic discrimination. Similarly, judging ITLs by the experience or job performance of another ITL or articling student is also common. No one should be judged by the capability and performance of another person, especially someone they have never met or identified with. No one should be visited with the repercussions of the actions of another person on the sole basis of sharing a similar racial or professional background.


In our progressively globalizing world, diversity is the new norm and the value an ITL can bring to a firm or organization cannot be understated. The international experience and exposure of ITLs has great potential to the legal profession and the evolution of law in Canada.

With the increasing number of ITLs routing through the NCA stream, our law societies need to affirm their commitment to embrace diversity and inclusiveness and develop effective plans to do so. The starting point is to educate lawyers about the NCA stream of lawyers and how foreign legal credentials compare to Canadian credentials.

In furtherance of a fair recruiting system, lawyers and hiring personnel should bear in mind that academic grading systems differ when analyzing foreign law school transcripts. Sensitizing lawyers about ITLs and the importance of a diverse and inclusive legal profession in the global legal industry is a good way of encouraging lawyers and others in the legal profession to welcome the change and prospects ITLs bring to the table. We all have a role to play; having a self-assessment and consciously dispelling the myths or notions about ITLs will help lawyers evaluate all applicants with open mind.

Originally published in Benchers’ Digest, Spring 2018

REMINDER! – Annual General Meeting: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Implications for the Legal Profession

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Implications for the Legal Profession
Thursday April 26, 2018 – Saskatoon (Delta Bessborough Hotel)

In a continuation of the Law Society’s efforts to address the TRC Calls to Action, the focus of this year’s CPD Presentation at the Annual General Meeting will be the implications of the TRC recommendations for the legal profession. Our panel of Professor Larry Chartrand, Former Judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and Leanne Bellegarde, Q.C. will each approach this question from their unique viewpoints.

At the conclusion of the discussion, cocktails will commence allowing time for networking with panel members, colleagues, and members of the Bar. Dinner will be served shortly thereafter, and the business matters and awards presentations will conclude the evening. The Law Society’s 2017 Annual Report and Financial Statements are available on our website. SLIA’s Financial Statements are also available.

Qualifies for 2 CPD Hours, which also qualify for Ethics.

Additional information and registration details can be found here: AGM 2018




Equity and Diversity Committee Seeks Input

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By Kara-Dawn Jordan
Policy Counsel, Law Society of Saskatchewan

In 2017, the Law Society of Saskatchewan re-established its Equity and Diversity Committee. The purposes of the committee are to monitor developments and advise the Benchers on issues affecting equity and diversity in the legal profession; explore and recommend equity and diversity actions/initiatives; and recommend and support ongoing education and awareness training for members of the profession.

Over the last year, the committee’s focus has been on enhancing its understanding of the makeup of our membership as well as the equity and diversity issues affecting the legal profession in Saskatchewan and society generally. To that end, the committee has sought (and continues to seek) the input of various individuals and groups willing to share their experiences and perspectives. This input will inform the committee’s recommendations for action.

The committee is interested in hearing from any members who have personal experiences they are willing to share regarding barriers they have faced either entering the profession or practicing in Saskatchewan. Anyone interested may contact Ronni Nordal (Chair of the Equity and Diversity Committee) or Barbra Bailey (Policy Counsel), in confidence, to discuss how their experiences might best be communicated to the committee.

In order to enhance awareness and encourage dialogue among the membership about equity and diversity issues, the Law Society will look for opportunities to share the experiences and insights of our members and to focus on topics relating to equity and diversity. As such, we would like to thank Lola Ayotunde for submitting the following article (to be posted on Legal Sourcery tomorrow) sharing her experience and perspectives gained as an Internationally Trained Lawyer entering the profession in Saskatchewan.


Originally published in Benchers’ Digest, Spring 2018

CPLED 2017/2018 Wraps Up!

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By Christine Johnston
CPLED Program Director, Law Society of Saskatchewan

The 2017/2018 CPLED Program year has now wrapped up!  The final face-to-face module, Negotiations, took place in Regina from April 9th to 13th.  Students took part in negotiation teaching and exercises, as well as learning about residential real estate and criminal law.

One of the week’s highlights was a mock criminal trial featuring Judge C. Toth, Bill Roe, Q.C., Brian Hendrickson, Q.C., Beverly Klatt and Greg Chovin.  We’re happy to say our accused, Brian Hendrickson, was acquitted of street racing and dangerous driving charges – by most of our juries at least.

This year we also held a casual dress day.  Students, staff and presenters were invited to dress casually and provide a donation to CLASSIC Law.  Over $640 was raised for CLASSIC!  Many thanks to Sarah Nordin, clerk at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon, for organizing this fundraiser.

Free Family Law Assistance in Saskatoon – April 2018

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FamilyLawbannerDo you need information about child support, custody/access or divorce?

Do you need help with court forms and processes?

Do you wonder if you have options to going to court?

Family Law Saskatchewan (PLEA) can help answer your questions, and use the court forms available on their website.

These sessions are available in Saskatoon in April:

Thursday, April 19

Saskatoon Public Library
Frances Morrison Central Branch
311 – 23rd St. E.
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Friday, April 20

Law Society Library
520 Spadina Crescent East
9:30 am -11:30 am

There is no cost to attend.  No registration is required. For more information, contact or call 1-888-218-2822 (ext. 2)