Notes on a Week in Calgary

I’m at the tail end of a productive week spent in Calgary. Last Thursday I gave a seminar for Petro-Canada and its outside counsel, Fraser Milner Casgrain. On Friday I gave a lunchtime presentation for the Canadian Bar Association Alberta. And today, I gave a seminar for the law department of Enbridge Pipelines. Based on preliminary feedback, those who attended found these sessions useful. And over a hundred people attended the CBA event. I was told it sold out in a few hours—a sign of the appetite out there for a new approach to contract language.

In my presentations, I look for a happy medium between jitters and complacency. In particular, I don’t want to be so comfortable as to go through my material on autopilot. But I can count on my Canadian seminar participants to keep me on my toes, and in that regard Calgary didn’t disappoint:

  • During the redrafting portion of the seminar for Petro-Canada and FMC, those present pointed out a simple way to make one extract more concise—a fix I had cheerfully missed.
  • When at the CBA event we worked through examples illustrating the categories of contract language, twice individuals present immediately got issues that I normally have to tease out, making me feel a little silly when I teased them out anyway.
  • After the CBA event, someone came up to point out to me a nuance in the fine print of one of my slides, a nuance that I had lost sight of.

And that list doesn’t include the issues raised that prompted me to post today’s three other blog offerings.

As per usual, I didn’t get out a whole lot. I’m not big on solo tourism, so aside from some strolling around downtown Calgary, I spent most of my downtime working in my hotel room. But here’s a first for this blog: a restaurant tip. On Saturday I had dinner at the restaurant Blink. The food I ordered was simple enough and resembled dishes I attempt at home, but the local produce and thoughtful presentation made it truly memorable. And I ate at the bar, which gave me the opportunity to chat with the bartender and the pastry chef, who exhibited a gently gracious hospitality that I’ll call Canadian.

I’m certainly spending a lot of time in Canada. Last month it was Quebec for the Canadian Healthcare Licensing Association; this month, Calgary; in April, I’ll be back in Toronto; in May I’ll be in Vancouver; I expect to be back in Calgary and Toronto in the fall; and I’m considering whether there’d be sufficient interest in Montreal for a public seminar. If you’d like to take advantage of any of my visits to schedule an in-house seminar, send me an email.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.