Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) Inc. is staffed by lawyers, community legal workers, licensed paralegals, support staff, students and volunteers.
Jeff Schlemmer, LL.B., Executive Director
Jeff is the Executive Director of Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex), a Legal Aid Ontario legal clinic, where he has practiced since 1990. He has appeared in thousands of disability benefit appeals, mostly successfully. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Western University and was called to the bar in 1985, practicing civil litigation at Siskinds and Dyer Brown prior to joining the clinic.
Jeff is an Adjunct Professor at Western University’s Faculty of Law. Jeff’s extensive volunteer work has included serving as Chair of the London Lawyer’s Feed the Hungry Program, President of the Middlesex Law Association, Chair of the London Public Library Board, and Vice Chair of the London Police Services Board. He has been named to the Mayor’s Honours List, received the Middlesex Law Association’s Award for Promoting Access to Justice, and the Canada 125 Medal for service to the community.
Mike Laliberte, B.A., B.Ed., LL.B.
Mike is a senior staff lawyer at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) and has worked at the clinic for over 25 years. He concentrates his work on social assistance issues and has engaged in many law reform efforts and enjoys participating in community development. Mike has chaired the OW & ODSP Advocates Group since 1995.
Although born and raised in the lovely town of Sarnia, Mike attended undergraduate studies at King’s College in London and completed his law degree at the University of Western Ontario Law School. He also has a teaching degree. Mike articled at a large law firm in London but much prefers practicing law at a legal clinic.
In 2017, Mike received a Canada 150 medal recognizing him for his contributions to our nation in all his years of service!
Monica Wolf, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.
Monica Wolf joined Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) as a staff lawyer in 2000. She has a B.A in Modern Languages from the University of Toronto and a law degree from the University of Windsor. While Monica has worked in all areas of the clinic’s areas of practice, her focus now is on housing law – representing tenants, housing law reform and tenant education.
Before joining the clinic, Monica worked as Family Court Duty Counsel in the London Courthouse, as Tenant Duty Counsel at the Landlord and Tenant Board and as a private bar family law lawyer and mediator. She has also worked at Legal Clinics in Sarnia and Windsor.
Kristina Pagniello, M.A., LL.B.
Kristie Pagniello has worked as a staff lawyer at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) since 2001, having previously articled and practiced at Seabrook Epstein St. Marie & Miller in London. She has a Masters Degree in Sociology, with a Specialization in Criminology, and a Law Degree from the University of Windsor.
Kristie works on the social assistance side of NLSLM representing clients before administrative tribunals regarding Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, Canada Pension Plan Disability, and Criminal Injuries Compensation. She has a particular interest in student development work and as such coordinates and supervises the student placements from King’s College School of Social Work, Fanshawe Paralegal Studies, and Ryerson’s Law Practice Program.
Kristie is also a part-time professor at Fanshawe College in the Post Graduate Paralegal Studies program, teaching Tribunal Practice and Procedure.
Stephanie Dickson, B.A., LL.B./B.C.L.
Stephanie has been a staff lawyer at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) since April 2012. As a lawyer in this community legal clinic, she helps low-income clients address social justice issues, with a focus on disability benefits appeals.
Stephanie also has extensive experience with Medical Legal Partnerships through Pro Bono Law Ontario. Since 2012, she has been assisting Paediatric families to identify and resolve legal problems that can impact a child’s health or the family’s ability to care for that child. She strongly believes in working with the medical community to identify the social determinants of health and to ensure that her clients obtain the benefits, services and income security they deserve.
Following her call to the Ontario Bar in 2009, Stephanie was an associate in the Class Actions Department at Siskinds LLP. She holds a combined LL.B/B.C.L. degree from McGill University and a B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of Windsor. Stephanie is fluent in both English and French.
Justin Chong, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.
Justin has been a staff lawyer at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) since August 2015. He is currently the primary lawyer who provides employment law services at our office. Justin graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in 2014 and was called to the bar in 2015. He was employed at the Belleville Community Advocacy & Legal Centre, primarily doing Ontario Disability Support Program appeals, prior to joining NLSLM.
Justin has always been interested in poverty law issues. Justin completed his Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University. Justin did a full year work placement with Jonathan Boss, a solo-practitioner of Criminal Law, prior to being admitted to law school. Furthermore, he has volunteered with both the Ottawa Mission and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre during his undergraduate years.
Lawrence Burns, Ph.D., J.D.
Lawrence received his law degree from Western Law in 2014 and was called to the bar in June 2016. He completed his Law Practice Program work placement at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London and Middlesex) and was fortunate to stay on at the clinic as a Staff Lawyer in July 2016. Lawrence’s area of practice is administrative law, working primarily on appeals concerning social assistance benefits (Ontario Disability Support Program, Ontario Works, and Canada Pension Plan Disability). He is also interested in health law, especially issues relating to mental health and capacity.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Lawrence completed his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Toronto (in 2005) and worked at various universities in Ontario and Nova Scotia. In addition to his work at the clinic, Lawrence teaches courses on medicine, law and disability at King’s University College in London.
Micheal is our Tenant Duty Counsel, providing summary advice to residential tenants about their legal rights and responsibilities. He is a highly experienced paralegal, and a graduate of Fanshawe College.
Betsy Esbaugh, B.A.
Betsy is a licensed paralegal who focuses on housing law at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex). Betsy first came to NLSLM as a student in 2014 through the Paralegal Program at Fanshawe College. After her placement ended she chose to remain at the clinic to assist in any way she could through volunteering, part-time support work and assisting with tenant duty counsel services, until the clinic was able to hire her full time.
In addition to her focus on tenant rights, Betsy enjoys engaging in community outreach. Betsy is currently serving her third term on the Board of Directors of the Independent Living Centre London & Area, a community resource centre for people with any kind of disability. She also enjoys maintaining the NLSLM website and is constantly adding new content with the goal of creating an accessible hub of legal information for the community.
Chelsea McMullan, B.A. (Hons.)
Chelsea McMullan was born and raised in Leamington, Ontario—the Tomato Capital of Canada. She attended McMaster University and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and English Literature. Afterwards, she attended Fanshawe College to become a Paralegal.
Chelsea first became involved with Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) as a placement student in 2014. She has worked in social assistance law (OW, ODSP, and CPP-D) as well as Criminal Injuries Compensation since joining the staff after her placement. Chelsea has always been passionate about helping others and feels very at home at NLSLM. She loves cats and has a small black one named Poe (after Edgar Allan).
Community Legal Workers
Erika was born and raised in Romania and worked as a substitute kindergarten and elementary school teacher after completing her college education in Cluj Napoca, Romania.
Erika emigrated to Austria in 1986 and lived there for a year prior to coming to Canada. After learning English at Fanshawe College’s English as a Second Language program, she was accepted to the Women Immigrants of London Office Procedures program. She was hired at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) in December 1988, first as support staff, and since 2002 as Office Manager. Her responsibilities are wide-ranging and encompass all facets of running the office as smoothly as possible – dealing with staff, Board, clients and Legal Aid Ontario, administration, equipment, facilities, policies, finances.
Erika is a voracious reader and loves fashion, photography, architecture, design and decorating.
Ewa was born and raised in Poland and completed her University education in Warsaw. She emigrated to Italy where she worked in a refugee camp for two years assisting immigrants from all over Europe.
Ewa came to Canada in 1988 and was accepted for a one year Immigrant Community Outreach program. During that program, and while also completing classes at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College, Ewa participated in placements at the Cross Cultural Learner Centre, Women Immigrants of London, and Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre. Her work in those placements combined with her earlier work in a refugee camp, gave her great knowledge and experience in dealing with people and their various challenges arising out of poverty and struggle. Her experience and education allowed her to be hired as secretary/receptionist/intake worker at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex) in 1990. All these years later she continues to enjoy her job largely because of her compassionate and caring attitude and eagerness to help people
Wall of Fame
We would like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals who have provided years of dedicated service to our clients and community at large in their tenure at Neighbourhood Legal Services (London & Middlesex).
Patty was one of the founders of our legal clinic and the very first Community Legal Worker since the day the clinic opened in 1986. In her latter years at the clinic, Patty helped clients appeal Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works decisions by preparing their cases for hearings. She was a dedicated union and social activist.
Patty retired from the clinic in 2018 after 32 years of service to our community.
Carol was our long-serving staff secretary. Carol started volunteering at the clinic in 2001 until she moved into her support staff role for the balance of her tenure. Carol was an invaluable asset to the clinic assisting casework staff and keeping our office running smoothly.
Carol passed away in 2018 after 17 years of service to our community.
Last updated April 25, 2018