Osgoode Hall Law School Appoints Two Journalists in Residence

Publication Date

Summer 15-5-2017

Document Type

News Article


Osgoode Hall Law School of York University today announced the appointment of two award-winning journalists in its inaugural Journalist in Residence Program that will get underway this fall.

Gail J. Cohen, former Editor-in-Chief of Thomson Reuters-owned Canadian Lawyer magazine and its family of publications, and Roxana Olivera, a Canadian investigative journalist of Peruvian heritage, will each spend time during the 2017-18 academic year pursuing journalistic projects that will engage the Osgoode community, involve law students and enrich our understanding of law and its impact.

“We received stellar applications from talented journalists for these two positions,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin. “We’re delighted that Gail Cohen and Roxana Olivera will be joining us to explore stories about justice and the impact of law in our society and in our world.”

Osgoode’s Journalist in Residence program is designed to encourage journalistic projects focused on interpreting legal history, examining law’s realities today, and imagining law’s future. The Journalist in Residence Program is funded in part from Osgoode’s Fund for Innovation in Law & Media (FILM), made possible by a gift from alumna Kathryn Podrebarac, and the Art Vertleib Q.C. Fund. Both funds are dedicated to exploring the intersection of law, media and journalism.

Cohen was Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Lawyer, Canadian Lawyer 4Students, Law Times, Canadian Lawyer InHouse and Legal Feeds blog from 2006 to 2016 as well as FindLaw.ca from 2012 to 2016. She is currently a media and communications consultant and is working with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as its Director, Media and Communications.

Among the projects she plans to pursue while at Osgoode, she will examine the impact of landmark rights and equality cases involving the LGBTQ community from the litigant’s perspective as well as on the legal landscape in Canada.

“I’m looking forward to having the time and resources to focus on a project that I am passionate about as well as being able to take my years of experience running the largest group of legal periodicals in Canada to help amplify to the public the great work happening at Osgoode,” Cohen said. She also looks forward to working with students, staff and faculty on the role media can play in legal advocacy.

An exceptional writer and editor, Cohen has received a long list of awards over the past 20 years including a Canadian Association of Journalists/Canadian International Development Agency fellowship in 2003 to cover the International War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda.

Olivera’s passion for the rule of law, human rights and social justice informs her work, which has been published in English, Spanish and German. At Osgoode, she will be working on a project that will explore the boundaries of the law concerning child abuse and exploitation and the proliferation of offending material online in the digital age.

“This appointment is for me a great opportunity to work alongside internationally renowned scholars on a project that aims to stir debate about change in national and global legislation regarding online child exploitation and how to better support and protect survivors,” Olivera said.

Olivera’s reporting has appeared in digital, broadcast and print media. Her radio documentary, The Good Italian?, which she produced with Steve Wadhams, won a bronze medal at the New York Festival’s International Radio Program Awards for the World’s Best Radio Programs in 2014. Her feature, Standing Up to Big Gold, which was published in the United Church Observer, received an award of excellence from the Associated Church Press in Chicago in 2014.

More recently, she formed part of the investigative team of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that carried out an investigation – Evicted and Abandoned: The World Bank’s Broken Promise to the Poor – which received several awards, including the prestigious Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award.

For more information about Osgoode’s Journalist in Residence Program, please visit our website.


Gail Cohenhttp://news.yorku.ca/files/Gail-Cohen.jpg

Roxana Oliverahttp://news.yorku.ca/files/Olivera_Roxana.jpg

Osgoode Hall Law School of York University has a proud history of 128 years of leadership and innovation in legal education and legal scholarship. A total of about 900 students are enrolled in Osgoode’s three-year Juris Doctor (JD) Program as well as joint and combined programs. The school’s Graduate Program in Law is also the largest in the country and one of the most highly regarded in North America. In addition, Osgoode Professional Development, which operates out of Osgoode’s facility in downtown Toronto, offers both degree and non-degree programming for Canadian and international lawyers, non-law professionals, firms and organizations. Osgoode has an internationally renowned faculty of 60 full-time professors, and more than 100 adjunct professors. Our respected community of more than 18,000 alumni are leaders in the legal profession and in many other fields in Canada and across the globe.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni. York U’s fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario’s Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact: Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820, vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca