Community Legal Education Ontario has new executive director

By John Chunn

Law360 Canada (March 23, 2023, 12:12 PM EDT) -- Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) announced that Jessica (Jess) Reekie is its new executive director, as of April 3, 2023.

According to a press release from CLEO, Reekie brings more than 15 years of experience in public legal education and information (PLEI) to her role at CLEO. She joined the team on March 20 and will begin her transition into the new role.

CLEO is a non-profit organization that develops clear, accurate and practical legal rights education and information to help people understand the law and exercise their legal rights. Its work focuses on providing information to people who face barriers to accessing the justice system.

Reekie was most recently the executive director of the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN). OJEN is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that develops innovative educational tools that introduce young people to the justice system, help them understand the law and build their legal capability.

A graduate of Harvard University and Dalhousie Law School, Reekie practised immigration and refugee law before she began working in the field of public legal education. She joined OJEN in 2008 to develop public legal education programs and resources for newcomer youth. Later, she became the director of programs where she oversaw all of OJEN’s outreach activities and work with vulnerable communities. In 2014, she became OJEN’s executive director.

Reekie currently serves as president of the Public Legal Education Association of Canada (PLEAC). The organization facilitates communication and co-operation between provincial and territorial PLEI groups, promotes knowledge-sharing and skill-development, and it acts as a national voice on issues concerning the PLEI community.

The release noted that Reekie will take on her duties at CLEO with the support and guidance of CLEO’s outgoing executive director, Julie Mathews, the board of directors and the entire staff team.