The Executive

Me Leslie Ning

Executive Director

Leslie became Executive Director of the Mile End Legal Clinic in November 2015. In her capacity as Director, Leslie manages the legal services offered by the Clinic, acts as a lawyer within the mandate of the Clinic’s mission, and is responsible for the recruitment and oversight of law students completing internships at the Clinic. Moreover, she recruits and maintains close ties with volunteer lawyers who practice in various areas of law. She is responsible for the finances of the Clinic and plays a key role in developing initiatives and projects related to access to justice, in addition to acting as a spokesperson for the organization at various events. She also manages the Tyndale Clinic service point, located at the Tyndale St-Georges Community Center.

A graduate of McGill University’s Faculty of Law in both civil and common law, Leslie was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 2015 after completing her articles at a national law firm. During her studies, she was involved with non-profit organizations such as Project Genesis and Just Solutions, a legal clinic that provides services in immigration and refugee law, and held the position of National Coordinator with Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC). She also holds a Bachelor in International Relations and International Law from the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she was involved with the International Clinic for the Defense of Human Rights (CIDDHU in its French acronym).

Me Anne Thibault

Legal Director

Anne is a graduate of Laval University’s faculty of Law, and was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 2014, after completing her articling at a well-established workers union. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University in Community, Public Affairs and Policy Studies, and a minor in Human Relations.  In 2009, she also obtained a Certificate in social work law.  She started her own practice in 2014, concentrating her efforts in youth law.  She became a member of the Association of Youth Lawyers of Montreal in September 2016, and was regularly appointed as a child’s attorney at the Court of Québec, Youth Division between 2015 and 2017.  Throughout her studies, Anne was involved with non-profit organisations including the League of Rights and Freedoms, Inform’elle, the UQAM Legal Clinic, and Alternatives.  In 2011, she interned on a project of international cooperation in Ecuador, producing documentaries with vulnerable youth about women’s rights.

As Anne has worked in several community organisations with vulnerable populations, she is looking forward to continue her work with the communities the Clinic serves.

The Board

Prof. Alana Klein

President of the Board

Alana is an Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. She teaches in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law, and human rights law, with a focus on poverty and marginalization. Alana was previously a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, where she addressed the intersection of HIV/AIDS and immigration, as well as the legal and other barriers to harm reduction programs for people who use illegal drugs. This position also allowed her to work on law reform to promote the rights of women and girls in the context of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. She has also been a law clerk to former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Arbour and a Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Me Geeta Narang

Founder and Board Member

Geeta has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 2002. After practicing aboriginal and public law at a Montréal law firm, she began her own practice in 2008, focusing on civil litigation, tenancy law and constitutional issues. In 2009, the Young Bar Association of Montréal named Geeta the “Leader de demain” in the Pro-Bono / Social Involvement category. In 2011, Pro Bono Quebec awarded her the Saint-Yves Medal in recognition of her contribution to pro bono legal practice. She also sits on the Committee on Cultural Communities, which advises the Quebec Bar Association on equality, cultural and race issues.

At the Mile End Legal Clinic’s 10th annual 5 à 7 on September 18, 2012, Geeta was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Mr. Graham Carpenter, representing Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair. This medal highlighted Geeta’s great contribution to the community and to advancing the provision of free legal services for people with low income.

Me Aisha Topsakal

Vice-President of the Board

Aisha has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 2004. She holds a Master’s in International Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a B.C.L/LL.B. from McGill Law. After articling at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, Aisha worked at Éducaloi as a Project Coordinator. She has also interned with AMERA (Africa and Middle East Refugee Assitance) in Cairo. Aisha acted as the Assistant Dean, Student Life & Learning at the McGill Faculty of Law. Most recently, she obtained the position of Director of Administration of the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor at Concordia University.

Me Allen Mendelsohn

Board Member and Secretary

Allen has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 2002. He currently practices in the field of internet law, having received his Master of Laws degree in 2010 with that specialization and having spent five years as vice-president of an internet company. He previously practiced in litigation and immigration law and acquired extensive business experience after receiving his MBA.

Photo de Simon Dupuis

Me Simon Dupuis

Board Member and Treasurer

After completing undergraduate studies in international law and relations, Simon obtained a civil law degree at the Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM). Conscious of issues surrounding human rights, he was for a long time involved with the International Clinic for the Defence of Human Rights at UQAM. Today his work focuses on more local issues. After working as a law clerk at the Québec Court of Appeal, and in the legal department of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, Simon now dedicates himself to defending employees’ rights at the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST). He pleads regularly at the Tribunal administratif du travail and superior tribunals. Simon was the coordinator of the Mile End Legal Clinic in 2010 and has been a member of the Barreau du Québec since 2011.

Mrs Valérie Gascon

Board Member

Manager in the field of healthcare for over 6 years, Valérie is currently Assistant Director of Access and Care Trajectories at CIUSSS Nord de l’ile. She has completed a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Laval University and is an occupational therapist.

Me Sara Gauthier

Board Member

Sara was admitted to the Barreau du Québec and to the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2011. She holds a B.C.L. /LL.B. from McGill University as well as a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science. During her time at McGill, she was implicated with the McGill Legal Information Clinic, Project Genesis and the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy. She articled at the Federal Court and then joined the Department of Justice, Canada, where she now practices in civil litigation and public law.

Me Marek Nitoslawski

Board Member

Partner and trade-mark agent at Fasken Martineau, a national law firm, Marek focuses his practice on intellectual property litigation and protection. He provides strategic and timely advice to clients including multinational corporations, broadcasters, on-line music distributors and other on-line content users. Marek has successfully handled litigation involving patent, copyright, trade-mark, trade dress and trade secrets; and unfair competition before the Québec courts, the Federal Court of Canada at the trial and appellate levels, and before the Supreme Court, as well as before various administrative tribunals including the Copyright Board.

Law Student Interns

Nathan Afilalo

Student Intern - McGill

Nathan is currently a law student in the B.C.L./LL.B. program at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. He has previously worked at the Legal Information Clinic at McGill and at the Concordia Student Union Legal Information Clinic. Prior to studying law, he completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Concordia University. Merging his two degrees, Nathan collaborates with the Center for Research-Action and Race Relations, focusing on issues of discrimination, where religion, culture, ethnicity and economic conditions intersect. He has also worked in fundraising and campaign development for international non-governmental organisations.

Sam Bick

Student Intern - McGill

Sam Bick is a third generation Montrealer living in occupied Tio’tia:ke (Montréal). He is a student at McGill’s Faculty of Law. For more than ten years, Sam was involved in several community organizations that mobilize around workplace and migrant justice. In 2013, he completed a master’s degree in Labour Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY). Sam is also a member of the community radio station CKUT 90.3 FM and produces a radio program.

Alexandra Ghelerter

Student Intern - McGill

Alexandra is currently completing her B.C.L./LL.B. at McGill University. At the Faculty, she is involved with the Legal Information Clinic at McGill and she coordinates the McGill Chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada, an organization dedicated providing students with the opportunity to work with organizations within the Montreal community. In this role, she works to develop projects and recruit volunteers to help provide legal services to organizations and individuals in need. Before studying Law, Alexandra obtained a B.A. in Psychology, also at McGill, with a minor in Hispanic Languages. On the side, she loves travel and cooking.

Jessica Lelièvre

Student Intern - Université de Montréal

Jessica recently began her second year at University of Montreal’s Faculty of Law after earning her B.A. in Political Science from Concordia University. Driven by her consideration for environmental protection and social justice, she participated in many community-oriented initiatives. Notably, she collaborates with the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE) and has been a member of the Sexual assault policy review committee at Concordia University. She appreciates and values the opportunity to collaborate with the Mile End Legal Clinic to further access to justice in Montreal.

Jean-Sébastien Neault

Student Intern - Université de Montréal

Jean-Sébastien completed a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Interpretation, and recently in Law. He will soon attend the Quebec Bar School in order to work as a lawyer. Since high school, he has been an actor in his social surroundings, both as a member of student associations and volunteering with non-profit organizations , and he firmly believes in the importance of communities and the benefits that they generate.  When he first heard of the Mile End Legal Clinic, it was clear to him that he wanted to be a part of it, both because of its mission and the proximity that exists between the law students interns and the community.  It is also a way for him to be part of ensuring greater access to justice.

In the future, he wishes to work within the community of musicians, both in his current role as an active guitar player and by helping them with the legal and administrative questions that are necessary to ensure the life and recognition of their creations.

Amelia Philpott

Student Intern - McGill

Amelia is a third year B.C.L./ L.L.B. candidate at McGill University. She is a former musician and holds a B.A. in Arabic and Latin American Studies from the University of Ottawa. Amelia dedicates her time to migrant and Indigenous-focused solidarity efforts.

Amelia is an active member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, where she has researched in preparation for intervener litigation at the Supreme Court of Canada. She currently serves as one of the organization’s national student coordinators.

In 2016 Amelia interned with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Justice Department, where she worked with Canadian Aboriginal and traditional Haudenosaunee law, drafted community legislation, and worked with the community justice diversion program. This work inspired an interest in extra-judicial dispute resolution, thus completing certification in restorative justice conferencing facilitation in fall 2016.

In addition to her work at the Mile End Legal Clinic, Amelia will be working with the TRC Task Force at the McGill Faculty of Law, and serving on the QPIRG-McGill board of directors.

Ariane Vanasse

Student Intern - Université de Montréal

Ariane holds a Bachelor of Law from the Université de Montréal. Her involvement in organizations devoted to improving access to justice, such as Juripop, have made her aware of the shortcomings of our legal system as well as the major and lasting positive impact of community initiatives like MELC. She strongly believes that sharing and disseminating legal concepts are great tools of empowerment. Ariane joined the Mile End Legal Clinic team in September 2016, and is interested in criminal law and civil liability.

Besides her passion for law, Ariane is a great traveler and lover of the outdoors.

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