Executive Director

Marion Overholt, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B. (Windsor), of Osgoode Hall,

Marion has practiced law in Windsor and Essex County for over 30 years. She is the Executive Director of Legal Assistance of Windsor and Community Legal Aid. She was a staff lawyer at Legal Assistance of Windsor for many years and has represented clients in public law benefits practice while training law students in the practice of poverty law.
She is considered an expert in public benefits law and is often called upon to speak and write about this area of law. Over of the years she has been a board member of numerous community agencies and social justice initiatives including the Downtown Mission, Unemployed Help Centre, Windsor Coalition against Poverty, the Welcome Centre, the Windsor Social Justice Coalition and Project Ploughshares and Pathway to Potential. She is a past chair of the Provincial Community Legal Clinics Steering Committee on Social Assistance. She has been served on a number of United Church committees at both the national and local levels, including a ten year term on United Church Judicial Committee.
For ten years Marion was the Social Justice Representative on the Windsor and District Labour Council Executive Board. This is the first time that a labour council anywhere in Canada has had a non-union representative sit on its’ executive. She recently chaired the Ford/CAW local 200 Worker’s Adjustment Committee. She currently serves on the Advisory Board on Mental Health for the Legal Aid Ontario Board of Directors, in addition to serving on the 672 Mental Health Court committee and the Human Services Justice Coordinating Committee Co Chair for Windsor Essex.
Marion was the recipient of the Law Society of Upper Canada Bicentennial Award of Merit, the 29th Charles E. Brooks Labour Community Service Award, the 2007 recipient of the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario award for Women Working in Social Activism, the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Council of Canadians 2015 Activist of the Year Award.

Staff Lawyers

Johanna Dennie, B.A., J.D.

Johanna Dennie joined LAW in August of 2015 and provides representation and supervises students in the areas of Immigration and Refugee Law. Johanna is a graduate of the University of Ottawa Law School. She joined LAW after summering and completing her articles in Toronto with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, a specialized clinic which provides free legal, counselling, and interpretive services to women who have experienced violence.

Anna Colombo, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.

Anna Colombo joined LAW on February 1, 2016. Anna is a graduate of the University of Ottawa Law School. Anna has several years of clinic experience as Review Counsel at the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic. She has taught Landlord and Tenant law at the University of Ottawa. Anna supervises Landlord/Tenant and Criminal Injuries Compensation Board matters.

Laura Stairs, J.D.

Laura Stairs joined LAW in July of 2019 and supervises public benefits matters. Laura was a student at LAW while attending the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. While in law school Laura also participated in Community Legal Aid and CLA’s Family Law Program. Laura was on the board of LAW from February 2017- July 2019. Prior to joining LAW as a staff lawyer, Laura was practicing in the areas of corporate/commercial, real estate, wills and estates and immigration.

Social Work Staff

Shelley Gilbert, B.S.W., R.S.W.

Coordinator of Social Work Services
Shelley graduated from the University of Windsor School of Social Work in 1989. She joined Legal Assistance of Windsor in 1993 as a staff social worker. During this time she was responsible for supervision of law and social work students as well as direct service of clients in need of advocacy, counselling and contact with other services in the community. Shelley became the Coordinator of Social Work Services in 2001 and currently is responsible for the creation and coordination of LAW’s community development initiatives.

Claire Gatto, M.S.W., R.S.W.

Social Worker
Claire Gatto joined LAW in July 2017 as Staff Social Worker. Claire is responsible for the supervision of social work students as well as working with clients in the areas of crisis intervention and advocacy. Claire is a graduate of Laurier University’s Master of Social Work – Aboriginal Field of Study program. As a non-Indigenous person she is interested in Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Canadian society. She has worked in the areas of providing support and advocacy for at-risk families, in community development both within Canada and South Africa, in indigenizing education in post-secondary settings, and in community-based urban agricultural programs.

Gillian Golden

Youth in Transition Worker
Gillian graduated from the Child and Youth Worker Program at Fanshawe College (London) in 2009. She has previous experience working with homeless and at-risk youth in the community.  She is passionate about empowering youth to reach their full potentials and is an advocate for social justice. Gillian joined L.A.W in May 2017 as the Youth in Transition Worker and is working under the WEFiGHT (Windsor Essex Fights the Growth of Human Trafficking) initiative.

Robyn Hodge, M.S.W., R.S.W.

Anti-Human Trafficking Project Coordinator
Robyn graduated from the University of Windsor, the School of Social Work with a Master’s Degree in 2011.  Robyn has experience in Child Welfare, and working with those who are homeless and at risk within our community. Robyn joined Legal Assistance in June, 2017 as the Anti-Human Trafficking Project Coordinator. This position blends Robyn’s passion for client centered supports and community advocacy.

Sharon George

Indigenous Justice Coordinator
Sharon George is the Indigenous Justice Coordinator. She is an Indigenous Woman, who comes from the Oneida of the Thames First Nation. She recently returned to the community after working in London in Indigenous Child Welfare and the court system. She brings a wealth of knowledge in Indigenous people and the impacts of historical trauma. She is passionate about Social Justice and Human Rights for all people.

Service Coordinator

Laura Pratt

Laura joined Legal Assistance of Windsor in 2014. Laura is a graduate of St. Clair College’s Legal Assistant program, and has since obtained extensive experience in her field, with a focus on the provision of efficient and effective legal services. Laura’s background with the CAW, CUPE, and a municipal government helps reinforce her commitment to social justice and access to justice in general.

Support Staff

Kelly Demers

Kelly Demers joined LAW in June of 2018. As Support Staff, she performs reception duties, opens and closes files, maintains statistical records, provides assistance to staff and students in creating and printing documents, and in general, provides practical knowledge and information about our services and operations.

Intake Worker

Sarah Whalen

Sarah joined LAW in November of 2016. She graduated from the Law Clerk program at Fanshawe College in 2009. Sarah has previous experience in private law firms and most recently as a Court Clerk and Court Reporter in the Superior Court of Justice. As the Intake Worker she is the first point of contact for individuals seeking assistance from LAW and is responsible for the assessment and assignment of new intakes or making a suitable referral where necessary.