Board of Directors and Staff

Neil Guthrie (Chair)

Neil is the Director, Professional Development, Research and Knowledge Management, Aird & Berlis LLP.

With a focus on education, innovation and collaboration, Neil is responsible for managing Aird & Berlis LLP’s professional development activities and knowledge management initiatives.

Neil ‘s experience includes continuing legal education, student training, writing and editorial support, and knowledge management. He also has conducted and supervised legal research on a wide range of matters from all areas of practice.

Neil was responsible for developing the curriculum in legal research and writing for the Law Practice Program at Ryerson University, and has taught Advanced Legal Research and Writing at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.

Fernando Garcia (Vice-Chair)

Fernando Garcia has held the General Counsel role at various companies throughout the last 15 years.  He has an MBA, civil and common law degrees, a Master of Industrial Relations, and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Labour Studies.  

Fernando enjoys speaking and writing about advancing diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession, as well as speaking about the future of law and how technology is changing and will change the profession.

He was named the Thought Leader of 2018 by the Association of Corporate Counsel and Lexology, one of the100 World’s Leading General Counsel by Legal Era Media Group in 2017, received the Professional Contribution Award from the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association and was also named one of the Top 25 Most Influential in the justice system and legal profession in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

Sarah McCoubrey
(Chair, Governance Committee)

Sarah McCoubrey is the founder of CALIBRATE, a consultancy where she works with small and large organizations to tackle access to justice challenges internationally, nationally and locally. 

She received her law degree from UVic, and her Masters of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.  Sarah practiced at Shibley Righton, LLP, in Toronto, focusing on education law followed by 10 years as the Executive Director of the Ontario Justice Education Network, combining her interests in law, education and social justice. She received the Peter Cory Community Leadership Award for her efforts in Justice Education.

In 2015 Sarah founded CALIBRATE, a consultancy providing A2J strategy to UN agencies and Canadian organizations. Her international work focuses on the rule of law, gender and equality initiatives, technology and systemic changes in the legal sector.

Jessie Singh
(Chair, Audit and Finance Committee)

Jessie Singh

Jessie Singh is Paliare Roland’s Chief Operating Office (COO).  In this role he oversees the firm’s finances and operations, drawing on deep experience in strategic planning and financial analysis. A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Jessie worked previously for major banking, telecom and accounting organizations.

Most recently, Jessie was director of finance and operations at another major law firm. He is an active member of his community, serving as executive board member and treasurer for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Halton branch.

Vicki Whitmell

Vicki Whitmell is a librarian with extensive strategic and operational experience in the management and provision of legal and legislative information and the technologies that support its access and preservation.

Her portfolios have included law firm, courthouse and academic libraries. For 18 years she was a member of the senior executive team at the Office of Legislative Assembly of Ontario, with responsibility for the Assembly’s library, information management, research and technology branches.

Vicki is an active volunteer on national, provincial and local projects and boards, associations, and community groups.

Augustine Krawchenko
(Chair, Network Policy Committee)

Augustine Emily Krawchenko is the owner of Krawchenko Law, a boutique law firm in Hamilton Ontario, with a focus on Estate Administration, Wills and Powers of Attorney as well as Residential Real Estate.  

Augustine provides legal services in these areas with a hospitality- minded approach built on mutual respect, compassion, and clear communication. She graduated with a combined Honours degree from McMaster University and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the Faculty of Law at Leicester University in England in 2015.

A proud and passionate Hamiltonian, she returned to Canada and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2017.

Outside of her legal practice,  Augustine is an active member in the Hamilton legal community- she is a member of the Hamilton Law Association’s New Lawyer’s Subcommittee and sits as a board member of the Lawyer’s Legacy for Children. She is passionate about mentorship and actively engages with new licensees, articling students and NCA candidates. Augustine is also a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces- Royal Canadian Navy, having served as a reservist for 11 years.

Brenda Albuquerque-Boutilier (Treasurer)

Brenda Albuquerque-Boutilier

Brenda Albuquerque-Boutilier is Treasurer and an Officer of LiRN Inc. In the role of Treasurer, she provides leadership and guidance to the Board related to LiRN’s finances as well as oversight of financial administration and stewardship of its capital resources.

Brenda is a Chartered Professional Accountant with extensive experience in the not-for-profit and public sector.  As Executive Director, Finance and Chief Financial Officer of the Law Society of Ontario, she is responsible for the finance and facilities management division. Her career spans more than 30 years of varied experience in financial management, business leadership, and corporate strategy.

When not working, Brenda volunteers her time focused on healthcare and opportunities to improve patient experience.  She is an advisor on a couple Toronto area hospital committees focused on congestive heart failure and palliative care.  In addition to volunteering in this sector, she is a member of the Finance & Risk Management Committee at an independent school in Richmond Hill.

LiRN Staff

Theresa Leitch (Managing Director)

Theresa Leitch

Theresa is LIRN Inc.’s inaugural Managing Director.

Early in her career, Theresa practiced municipal law as both a litigator and a solicitor. After leaving the practice of law, she served in positions in law firm and organizational management, knowledge management, continuing professional development and project management of strategic initiatives.

Throughout her career she has developed a superior understanding of the legal information and knowledge needs of the profession. She has demonstrated a collaborative approach to leadership and expertise as a communicator and relationship-builder, bringing vision and creativity to her work.

In the Managing Director role, Theresa is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of LIRN, including administration of funding to county law libraries, creation and implementation of appropriate business and operational protocols to support LIRN, establishing collaborative relationships with stakeholders, and governance, legal and other compliance obligations.

When she’s not working, Theresa can be found traipsing the trails around the GTA with her hiking group, the Viking F’ing Warriors. She also sings in a punk rock choir, and has performed at such storied venues as the Horseshoe Tavern and the Bovine.

Jacquie Fex, LiRN Data Analyst

Jacquie Fex

Jacquie Fex brings a wealth of experience to LiRN as their Roving Librarian / Data Analyst and is thrilled to be part of a wonderful network supporting Courthouse library services across Ontario.

One of her first jobs was with the Law Society when she was part of the team that brought the county libraries’ collections into the online catalogue of the Great Library. Since then, she’s been a law librarian for large and small firms and the Ontario Securities Commission, which was a great training ground for being a data analyst and looking at evidence to make good decisions.

Jacquie’s varied experience includes vendor negotiations, website design, and many years as a trainer which allowed her to flex her creative muscles to create training aids and develop training sessions that were dynamic, informative and had as much humour as possible in a legal setting.  

She has played an active role in library communities and has previously served as President of the Toronto Association of Law Libraries, Chair of the Ontario Government Libraries Council, and was a member of several committees of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries. 

She’s passionate about sharing information and has shared her expertise at many conferences such as TALL, OSC, Ontario Libraries Association, OGLC and Showcase Ontario.

When Toronto law librarians could no longer get the funding to attend national or international conferences, Jacquie pitched the idea of a local conference that would provide high quality professional development for her community.  This innovative idea, combined with a lot of hard work, brought together speakers, vendors, and the law librarian community for a highly successful one day conference, TALL eXchange, that continues on a bi-annual basis.

Outside the library, this Northern Ontarian enjoys her camp on the French River, yoga, swimming, biking, #shoplocal, and is known to dance until dawn at late night alt 80s dance parties.  She was able to combine her love of travel and choral singing when she had the opportunity of a lifetime and sang at Carnegie Hall with an international choir under the musical direction of Deke Sharon of Pitch Perfect fame.

Tania Sangha

Friends and family often ask me “ how do you manage being a mom of two active boys the ages of 5 and 7 , a wife that always has the house in order along with assuring her work is complete ”. My reply to them is my years of experience as an administrator!! That’s what I do, I keep things organized, stay on top of tasks, and ensure everyone and everything around me is organized and seamless to assure productivity , positivity, and purpose.

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with the family ; our favourite activity is hiking early morning during the summers and barbecues . During our down time we all enjoy doing crafts and drawing along with watching movies.

My “me time” includes early morning work outs, getting my nails done, reading, and eating lots of yummy food.