New CanLII President and CEO Appointed

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada are pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Sutherland of Vancouver as CanLII’s new President and CEO, effective October 12, 2021. The announcement was made jointly by Crystal O’Donnell, the Chair of the CanLII Board of Directors, and Stephen G. Raby, Q.C., President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

Ms. Sutherland joined CanLII in 2013 as manager of content and partnerships, and has been the director of programs and partnerships since 2018. She has a Masters of Business Administration and a Master’s Degree, Library and Information Studies, from the University of British Columbia.

“Sarah Sutherland has a solid track record of achievement at CanLII and is focused on the future of legal technology”, says CanLII Board Chair Crystal O’Donnell. “Combine that with her passion for CanLII’s mission and her commitment to open access of legal information, and it is clear why Ms. Sutherland is such an ideal fit to be CanLII’s next President and CEO.”

Federation President Steve Raby added, “The Federation is very pleased to welcome Ms. Sutherland to her new assignment as CanLII’s President and CEO. Her considerable experience and skills will serve CanLII well as it continues to provide open and free access to Canada’s legal heritage.”

In her current role, Ms. Sutherland has been responsible for leading the addition of commentary to CanLII which now features over 19,000 contributions. The CanLII Manual to British Columbia Civil Litigation, also managed by Ms. Sutherland in 2020, won the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing from the Canadian Association of Law Libraries / Association canadienne des bibliotheques de droit (CALL/ACBD) and a “Clawbie” award for one of the “Best Innovative Projects”. She has also initiated a program to identify strategic legal information projects that could improve access to law in provinces and territories across Canada.

Ms. Sutherland is also the secretary of the Free Access to Law Movement Secretariat. She presents regularly to national and international audiences on legal information and technology, and writes on the subject with a focus on legal data and artificial intelligence. She is a long-time columnist for Canadian online legal magazine Slaw.ca and recently completed a book on legal data that will be published by Routledge in January 2022 titled Legal Data and Information and Practice.

Ms. Sutherland’s priorities as President and CEO include continuing to grow CanLII’s position as a major source for Canadian legal commentary and leveraging CanLII’s strategic position to provide leadership in innovative solutions to access to justice and other issues facing the legal profession.

CanLII is a non-profit organization created by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada on behalf of its 14 member law societies. It was launched in 2000 to provide efficient and free access by the legal profession and the public to the growing number of judicial decisions and legislative documents available on the internet. CanLII is a member of the Free Access to Law Movement, which includes the primary stakeholders involved in free, open publication of law throughout the world.

The CanLII website features over 3 million documents, including nearly 2.9 million cases. CanLII Connects, CanLII.org’s companion site, hosts over 61,000 case commentaries and summaries supplied by the legal community. In 2020, CanLII registered 15.3 million site visits. Access to the CanLII service is available at https://www.canlii.org, or through the web site of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada https://www.flsc.ca. Access to CanLII Connects is available at https://canliiconnects.org