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
LSS's chief executive officer (CEO) leads the Executive Management Committee, which includes the vice presidents of the society's five divisions.
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.”
The vice presidents of the society's five divisions sit on the Executive Management Committee and report to the chief executive officer.
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
Vice President, Strategic Planning, Policy, and Human Resources
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 and community outreach
Departments: Community and Publishing Services; Intake and Referral Services
Vice President, Public Legal Information and Applications
Sherry joined the Legal Services Society as a staff lawyer in 2000, and later moved into a service coordinator role where she implemented family duty counsel services. She became the manager accountable for intake and regional centres before being appointed as director, Public Legal Information & Applications in 2009. Accountabilities later expanded to include Aboriginal services and she oversaw the introduction of Gladue reports and Elders engagement in First Nations courts.
Prior to joining LSS, Sherry was in private practice in both Saskatchewan and BC, gaining experience in civil and criminal matters in provincial, supreme and appellate courts. Sherry is the past chair of the BC Public Education & Information Working Group and participates on national advisory boards on access to justice projects. She oversaw the delivery of MyLawBC, an innovative online platform for legal information and dispute resolution and was a founding member of a national consortium that organized Canada's first conference on innovation and access to justice. 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
Vice President, Legal Advice and Representation
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 affect 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
Vice President, Finance & Corporate Services
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
Vice President, Indigenous Services
Renzo Caron is a member of the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation. He is a lawyer who was called to the BC bar in 1996, and has been a sole practitioner in criminal and family law since 2005. Prior to law school, he studied social work and worked as financial assistance worker in Chetwynd, BC.
Renzo’s legal background includes senior positions with Indigenous organizations at the Band and Tribal Council levels and with the Assembly of First Nations’ national office and Alberta regional office. He acquired executive-level strategic planning experience in his positions as CEO and General Counsel with Lesser Slave Lake Management Services Ltd. and provided CEO services to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops) and Skeetchestn Indian Bands’ limited partnership.
With his extensive background working within Indigenous communities and on behalf of legal aid clients, Renzo’s values and passions align well with the Legal Services Society. As vice president, Indigenous Services, Renzo is responsible for advancing the society’s Service Plan goals to better meet the needs of Indigenous people.
The society's senior management is located in the Vancouver office. To contact senior management, please see Contact us.