The Legal Services Society board appoints a chief executive officer to administer the business of the society. Our society is managed by an Executive Management Committee (EMC) made up of the chief executive officer and five vice presidents.
Chief Executive Officer
Mark Benton, QC
Mark has been a lawyer since 1980, and has served as the CEO of the Legal Services Society since 2002. He holds a B.A. from the University of British Columbia, a LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School, and a LL.M. from the Dalhousie University Faculty of Law. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2008.
His legal experience includes small office practice, legal aid work, appellate advocacy, and four years as an adjunct professor at the UBC Faculty of Law. He is past-chair of the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada, is a Canadian Forum for Civil Justice board member, and is an active participant on a number of prominent government and non-government collaborations addressing justice issues of importance to Canadians, including the steering committee of the Action Committee on Civil and Family Justice and the Reinventing Criminal Justice Forum. Mark has served as an advisor to governments and NGOs on the development of legal aid programs in the Caribbean, East Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia’s Pacific region. He has an active interest in making justice systems more effective in responding to people’s needs.
He is regularly invited to speak on topics related to legal aid, not-for-profit governance, and justice innovation. Mark has been recognized in the BC legislature as “a passionate advocate for access to justice for the economically disadvantaged in British Columbia, and he brings along with that passion great creativity in the search for solutions for how to make a difference in people's lives.”
Strategic Planning, Policy, and Human Resources
Manages LSS human resources, reporting, policy and planning issues
Departments: Human Resources and Organizational Development; Strategic Planning and Policy
Harold Clark, CPHR
Harold has been with LSS since 1998, when he joined the society as manager, Human Resources (HR). He was promoted to director of HR in 2000 and became director of Field Operations and HR in 2002. His position changed to director, Strategic Planning, Policy, and Human Resources with the implementation of Redesign 2005. Harold came to the society with extensive experience in the HR field, including senior personnel officer for the Greater Vancouver Regional District and City of Burnaby, and executive director for the Life Saving Society Canada (BC & Yukon Division). He holds a BA with a double major in Business Administration (Personnel Management focus) and Criminology, and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR).
Harold is affectionately known as the "fun guy" in recognition of his leadership role in — and insistence on — bringing fun into the workplace. Harold was instrumental in developing LSS' Human Resources Strategic Plan and bringing employee wellness, recognition and succession management programs to the fore at LSS. He also developed and introduced the performance management system for LSS staff. In addition to sitting on the society's Executive Management Committee, Harold chairs the Operations, Planning & Policy Committee and is the LSS Liaison Designate to the Ministry of Attorney General and Law Foundation.
Public Legal Information and Applications
Manages LSS application and legal information services, community outreach and digital delivery
Departments: Community and Publishing Services; Intake and Referral Services
Sherry joined LSS as a staff lawyer in the Vancouver Family Clinic in 2000, before going on to implement family duty counsel services across BC. She became the manager accountable for intake and regional centres before being appointed director (now vice president), in 2009. Sherry’s accountabilities in this role include intake and public legal education, community engagement and information services. They expanded to include Indigenous Services until June 2018, when that department became a division. During that time, Sherry oversaw the introduction of LSS Gladue reports, training and Elders support for First Nations courts.
In July 2018, Sherry assumed responsibility for the digital delivery of legal aid. As vice president, she has seen an increasing shift in online use by LSS clients and ensured that LSS responded with online resources to meet their needs, including the launch of MyLawBC in 2016. This internationally recognized, interactive site customizes legal information and provides a platform for dispute resolution.
Prior to joining LSS, Sherry was in private practice in Saskatchewan and then BC, gaining experience in civil and criminal matters in Provincial, Supreme and appellate courts.
Sherry is passionate about access to justice and is an advisory board member for Pro Bono Students Canada and the National Self-Represented Litigant Project. Sherry is frequently asked to speak on technology and access to justice.
Legal Advice and Representation
Manages LSS referral and advice services, tariff accounts, and case management and operations
Departments: Criminal, Immigration, and Appeals; Family Law Services; Lawyer Services
Heidi stepped away from a thriving civil litigation practice in 1994 to take a position as a policy lawyer at the Legal Services Society. She wanted to effect change in the justice system by ensuring the limited resources available for legal aid were utilized with the user of the system in mind. During her first three months at LSS, Heidi worked with a small team to re-invent the service delivery model by introducing a case managed approach to the allocation of family resources. The Family Case Management Program became the national and international prototype for managing complex cases funded by legal aid providers.
From 2002 through to 2005, Heidi played a key role in the development of LSS's self-help Family Law website, the design and deployment of the Family Duty Counsel Program, the introduction of the Supreme Court Self-Help Centre (the first of its kind in Canada), the delivery of advice via a telephone hotline, and use of legal information outreach workers to assist pro se litigants. In 2003, Heidi was appointed to the Family Law Working Group for Justice Reform Task Force. The culminating report set the stage for the creation of the Justice Access Centre (a project Heidi co-designed and implemented with the executive director of the government's Family Justice Branch), the development of the expanded family advice pilot project, and the framework for the Family Law Act.
In the mid 2000's, Heidi initiated the first of a series of evaluations intended to measure the outcome of these innovations from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Developing, implementing and then measuring the benefits of legal aid services became the key methodology for LSS securing ongoing funding for its growing spectrum of information and advice services.
Prior to her appointment as the director, Legal Advice and Representation in 2009, she was the director of Public Legal Information and Applications from 2005 to 2008. In addition to her work as the vice president of LSS's Legal Advice and Representation Services Division, Heidi is also the project lead on the Justice Innovation Transformation Initiatives.
Finance and Corporate Services
Manages LSS finance, information technology, facilities, administrative, and audit functions
Departments: Audit and Investigation; Finance and Administration; Information Technology
Chris joined LSS in April 2018 after several years of running his own consulting company that provides financial and governance advice to profit and not-for-profit businesses around BC.
Prior to that, he held senior financial positions at a complex care hospital and hospice in the Lower Mainland and at an organization that oversees funding for sustainable development projects in First Nations communities.
Earlier in his career, Chris stepped away from leadership roles in several of Canada’s largest, publically held technology firms to take positions in the not-for profit-sectors. He wanted to contribute to change in the lives of marginalized peoples by assisting organizations to develop enduring financial efficiencies and governance practices.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta, a Chartered Professional Accountant designation, and a Chartered Director designation from McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada.
Chris is a strong believer in serving marginalized communities and is the past chair of the MPA Society, which provides support to people with mental illness.
As vice president, Finance and Corporate Services, Chris is responsible for leading the society’s financial operations including transactions, central support services and audit and information systems.
Manages Parents Legal Centres, implementation of the Reconciliation Action Plan, engagement with Indigenous communities
Departments: Indigenous Services; LSS Initiatives
Gail Murray has dedicated her career to making a positive impact on the lives of Indigenous people by following her passion for economic and community development, education, training, financial management and social justice. She has over 22 years of experience working directly with a variety of clients including First Nations, government and corporations.
Gail has taken a holistic approach to providing Indigenous engagement services, blending her financial and business background with community and economic development. She has a significant track record of success in business, assisting clients to understand that recognition of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights contribute to long-term community empowerment and well-being.
Gail has extensive experience working with senior leadership in the private, non-profit, and public sectors and Indigenous communities. She has created successful charities, not-for-profit societies and for-profit ventures that have made a remarkable impact on local communities, the economy and society.
Gail’s volunteer efforts include contributing her knowledge through governance on many boards. This has included terms as a director of the Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Vancouver Island. She was also a founding director of the Haisla Business Development Corporation. Gail held a two-year appointment as co-chair of the British Columbia Aboriginal Workforce Strategy Steering Committee. She currently sits as a Treasurer and Finance Committee chair on the Bill Reid Foundation and Bill Reid Trust.
Gail is a registered Metis and an active member of the Metis community while being an advocate for all Indigenous people. In 2008, Gail was greatly honoured by being adopted into the Haida Nation, specifically the Gidens of Skidegate (Eagle Clan). She was given the name Kuuya Jaad, meaning Precious Woman.