Faculty and Advisor Board


Ellen B. Zweibel, Professor, and Legal Writing Academy’s Co-Founding Director

Ellen Zweibel has a LL.M Tax Law (Denver University, 1981); J.D., cum laude ( Booklyn Law School,1974) and  B.A. English, cum laude( SUNY at Stony Brook,1970).  Ellen’s curriculum innovations meet the changing needs of the profession. Her blended learning course materials and interactive teaching websites in both dispute resolution and legal writing received the: 2014 CNIE Award for Excellence & Innovation in the Integration of Technology in Instructional Design, Teaching and Learning; 2013 Desire2Learn Innovation in Teaching; 2011 University of Ottawa Excellence in Education Prize; and 2007 Canadian Council of Learning- Sharing the Flame Award.   “Legal Memos Made Easy, co-authored with Sessional Professor Virginia McRae, on their open access  legal writing website www.pointfirstwriting.com, is used in courses and for self-study by professors, law firms, students, and lawyers.  The website is expanding with a new unit, “Edit Your Own Work” (Fall 2015).  Ellen exercises her left-brain teaching Introduction to Income Tax and her right-brain directing and teaching Dispute Resolution and Professional Responsibility,  an experiential learning program for all uOttawa first year law students. The Writing Academy occupies both her left and right brain continuously.

Adam Dodek, Associate Professor and Legal Writing Academy’s Co-Founding Director

Adam Dodek is a graduate of McGill University, Harvard Law School, and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.  He has clerked at the Supreme Court of Israel, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court of Canada.  Dodek has worked in private practice in San Francisco and Toronto and also worked for the Attorney General of Ontario as a Senior Policy Adviser and then as Chief of Staff.  He is the founder of the Cavanagh LLP Professionalism Speaker Series as well as the co-founder of the Legal Writing Academy.  He has written for many academic and popular publications including the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, Slaw and Policy magazine.  Professor Adam Dodek, won the 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize for his distinguished book Solicitor-Client Privilege (LexisNexis Canada).  You can follow him on Twitter at @Adodek.

Virginia McRae, Sessional Professor and  LWA’s co-program director

Virginia McRae has been teaching legal writing since 1979.  She graduated from the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law in 1979 and joined the faculty to teach Legal Research and Writing for two years.  She was in private practice in Ottawa before joining the Department of Justice, where she practiced in a number of areas (administrative law, human rights law and the Charter, family law and policy) before becoming Assistant Deputy Minister.  She received her LL.M in 1991.  She was on faculty in the Bar Admission Course for 11 years, teaching Legal Writing, Research, and Public Law.  She is now co-Director of the Legal Writing Academy at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law and teaches legal writing and the Writing Leadership course.  Virginia co-authored with Professor Ellen Zweibel  “Legal Memos Made Easy, on the open access  legal writing website www.pointfirstwriting.com

Shelley Appleby-Ostroff, Sessional Professor and  LWA’s co-program director

Shelley Appleby-Ostroff  received her law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1986 and her  B.A. (Philosophy) from the University of Toronto in 1982. She has a keen  interest in writing and language. In addition to practicing law in both the  public and private sectors, Shelley has worked as a senior government  executive, mediator, and executive coach. Currently, she is a legal writing consultant.  Shelley teaches legal writing at uOttawa.

Jackie Huston

Jackie Huston is a University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law alumni (1981). A sessional professor at the University of Ottawa in the Common Law Faculty since 2004, Jackie currently teaches the Dispute Resolution Practicum course, Negotiation, Children and the Law, Advanced Family Law and Legal Writing.  Prior to coming to the law school Jackie practice law full-time focusing on family law, mediation, child protection, child representation and young offender law. She assisted in setting up the Unified Family Courts and the Family Law Information Centres throughout the East Region of Ontario.  She spent a year and a half as the People's Lawyer of Kiribati, a small independent nation situated in the central Pacific.

Jackie’s Legal Writing Seminar demystifies

In January, 2003 Jackie left Canada and took up the position of the People's Lawyer of Kiribati, a small independent nation situated in the central Pacific. She practiced law before the High Court and the Court of Appeal doing diverse cases ranging from election petitions to murder trials, international shipping cases to wrongful dismissals, native land claims to divorce and custody cases. She also mentored and trained the local lawyers who worked in the Office of the People's Lawyer. She returned to Canada in the summer of 2004.
In September 2004 Jackie started working as a sessional professor at the University of

Jackie is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous boards and committees, including St. Mary's Home, the David Smith Centre and Youth Services Bureau. She was a recipient of the Law Society of Upper Canada Bicentennial Award in 1997, and the recipient of the 1994 Gordon Henderson Award given annually by the County of Carleton Law Association.

Anthony Daimsis

Anthony Daimsis has been teaching at the University of Ottawa since 2003. He is the current Director of the National Program, a program that leads to a dual JD/LL.L degree.
Prof. Daimsis teaches Contracts and Torts law, International Sales law, International Commercial Arbitration and legal writing. He also supervises the common law Jessup, Vis and FDI moot teams and serves as the faculty's moot program coordinator.  

As a leading authority in his field, Prof. Daimsis is frequently approached to serve as an arbitrator in domestic and international commercial disputes and is a sought after speaker on the topics of international arbitration and international sales law, most recently travelling to Myanmar to advise its government entities on investment into Myanmar.  He is on the ICDR panel of international arbitrators. Prof. Daimsis is the lead instructor for the Professional Certificate in International Arbitration. This certificate aims to introduce senior lawyers to the world of International Arbitration, by covering the process from start to finish. For more information on the Professional Certificate.

Advisory Board

The Hon. Thomas A. Cromwell, Supreme Court of Canada

The Hon. Louise Charron, Supreme Court of Canada (retired)

The Hon. John I. Laskin, Court of Appeal for Ontario

Hon. David Stratas, Federal Court of Appeal

The Hon. Anne L. Mactavish, Federal Court of Canada

Robert Frater, Senior Office of the Assistant Deputy Attorney General Department of Justice Canada

Ms. Susan Lightstone, Office of the Chief Justice, Ontario Court of Justice

Eugene Meehan, QC, Supreme Advocacy LLP

Stephen Bindman, Special Advisor on Wrongful Convictions, at the Department of Justice Canada

Ms Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor, Slate Magazine

Eugene Meehan, QC, Supreme Advocacy LLP

Edward Greenspon. Managing Editor, Global Energy, Environment and Commodities, Bloomberg News

Ms. Melissa Kluger, editor and publisher of Preceden

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