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LEAF appoints O’Brien as executive director, general counsel

Friday, October 26, 2018 @ 10:51 AM | By John Chunn


The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) announced the appointment of Shaun O’Brien to the position of executive director and general counsel.  

O’Brien joined LEAF as legal director in April of this year. Her extensive experience as a litigator in public law, human rights and Charter cases has enabled LEAF to expand its important work in the courts and in law reform initiatives. Most recently, she argued on behalf of LEAF in R. v. Barton and R. v. Gagnon, two critical cases that concerned the law’s response to sexual violence.

“I have been a huge fan of LEAF’s work for many years,” said O’Brien, “and am very honoured to have participated in our cases over the past few months. I’m also excited for my new role and for the opportunity to lead LEAF in fighting for women and girls’ equality.”

Called to the bar in 2000, O’Brien is a skilled and experienced appellate advocate. For many years, she was a lawyer and partner at Cavalluzzo LLP, where she developed a deep commitment to defending and advancing fundamental rights, with a particular focus on the rights of women. Until recently, she also served as president of the board of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which provides legal and other services to women experiencing violence.

Incoming LEAF board chair Elizabeth Shilton is excited about O’Brien’s new role: “Shaun has already made her mark at LEAF as legal director. Her talent, energy and vision will be a huge asset to LEAF as we confront the many challenges ahead.”

LEAF looks forward to pursuing its mandate to advance the equality of women and girls in Canada through litigation, law reform and public education under O’Brien’s leadership.