Chris Bentley

Managing Director

Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ)

Chris is the Managing Director of the Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ) and the Law Practice Program (LPP), both housed at Ryerson University, Toronto. Chris co-founded LIZ, Canada’s first incubator dedicated to legal start-ups, to help deliver better legal solutions to consumers. It supports legal start-ups, R & D for law firms, businesses, organizations and government, and practical reform initiatives. Chris led the development of the LPP, a modern approach to lawyer licensing authorized by the Law Society of Ontario.

Chris was elected as an Ontario MPP for London West from 2003-2013. He was a member of Cabinet for all 10 years, serving as Minister in 5 Cabinet posts: 4 years as Attorney General, as well as Labour, Training Colleges and Universities, Aboriginal Affairs, and Energy. He drove a number of change initiatives, such as Justice on Target (that reduced, for the first time in 18 years, the time to trial and the number of court appearances per criminal case), a health and safety initiative that reduced workplace injuries by 20 % in 3 years, the 4 Pillars of Family Reform, Civil Justice Reform, the largest funding increase in Legal Aid’s history, and was part of a new approach to indigenous relations recognized by the United Nations. He also helped drive the implementation of the Reaching Higher investments in postsecondary education.

For 23 years before politics Chris practiced criminal defence and labour law. He taught part-time for 10 of those years at Western’s Law School and helped establish and became the first Chairperson of Neighbourhood Legal Services, London and Middlesex, which provides legal services to those who cannot afford them.

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