Focus On

Law Foundation of Ontario names new CEO

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 @ 10:53 AM | By John Chunn


The Law Foundation of Ontario announced that Lisa Cirillo will be its new CEO, effective Sept. 8, 2020.

According to the foundation’s press release, Cirillo has been the executive director of Downtown Legal Services, a community-based legal clinic at the University of Toronto law school, since 2010. Downtown Legal Services serves a highly diverse community of more than 1,500 clients per year in a number of high priority areas of law and provides clinical legal education opportunities to approximately 120 students per year.

“The foundation’s board and staff are delighted to welcome Lisa,” said Linda Rothstein, the foundation’s board chair. “Lisa brings such well-rounded experience in social justice, poverty law, and legal education grounded in an understanding of community need. We’re confident that Lisa’s values and expertise will keep the foundation resilient and responsive to the diverse access to justice needs in Ontario.”

Cirillo has practised human rights, education, housing and family law in a wide variety of social justice organizations including Downtown Legal Services, ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

She also has experience in public legal education and information (PLEI). She managed the Family Law Education for Women project, which assisted marginalized women in understanding their rights and responsibilities under family law. 

“I am excited to be joining The Law Foundation of Ontario at such a critical time in Ontario’s history,” said Cirillo in the release, “and I look forward to working with the board, the staff and the foundation’s many community stakeholders to help advance the foundation’s mandate of improving access to justice across the province.”

Cirillo is a member of the: National Association of Women and the Law’s National Steering Committee; Legal Aid Ontario’s Clinic Law Advisory Committee; and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Community Advisory Group. She served on the board of the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education for eight years, acting as president from 2013 to 2017.

She earned her BA from the University of Toronto, her LL.B. from Queen’s University and her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the bar in 1998.

Cirillo succeeds Tanya Lee who has been the foundation’s CEO since 2015.