Advisory Committee Bios
Irene Hamilton, Chair
Irene Hamilton was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1980 and is the former Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Civil Law Division of Manitoba Justice.
Irene has previously served as the Ombudsman for the Province of Manitoba from 2005 to 2012 and also served as Public Trustee for the Province of Manitoba, Office of the Public Trustee from 1991 to 2000.
Her board experience includes Chair of the Deer Lodge Hospital Ethics Committee and member and Chair of the United Way of Winnipeg board of trustees. She is currently a member of the Public Utilities Board.
Irene has been a member of the Advisory Committee since September 2015, and has been the Chair since September 2017. Irene was re-appointed a member of the Advisory Committee and Chair for a period of two years effective September 17, 2019.
Serena Puranen was called to the Manitoba Bar in 2005.
Serena’s practise is exclusively in the area of criminal defence. She has practised as an associate in a private firm in Winnipeg, and since 2010 has practiced in Thompson, both as sole practitioner, and as staff lawyer with Legal Aid Manitoba. Serena has extensive experience in all areas of criminal defence including adult and youth defence.
Serena is actively involved in her community: treasurer of the Thompson Playhouse Theatre, Board Chair of Juniper Centre Inc, President Thompson Bar Association, and on City committees for the new Pool facility in Thompson. She also regularly gives presentations at RD Parker High School and the Boys and Girls Club. She Was previously elected as a Bencher to represent the Northern region, but did not seek re-election.
Serena was appointed a member of the Advisory Committee for a period of two years effective December 13, 2018.
Therese was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1988, and began her practise with Legal Aid Manitoba in Dauphin Manitoba shortly after her call.
Therese is currently the Supervising Attorney of Legal Aid Manitoba’s Amisk Community Law Centre in Dauphin Manitoba, and has previously been an Area Director with Legal Aid Manitoba for the Dauphin Judicial District.
Therese is also currently a member of the Catholic Network of Women’s Equality working on an international level challenging misogyny in her community of faith.
Therese’s practice is exclusively in the area of family and domestic law. Therese has extensive experience in all fields of domestic law including divorce, separation, custody, maintenance and child protection.
Therese is appointed a member of the Advisory Committee for a period of two years effective December 7, 2018.
Gerri Wiebe was called to the Manitoba Bar in 2004, however she began her legal career in 2001 as a summer student with Killeen Chapman, where she later articled, worked as an associate, and ultimately joined as a partner in 2009. In 2012, Gerri left Killeen Rolston Wiebe in order to join the partnership that is now Bueti Wasyliw Wiebe.
Gerri’s preferred area of practice is criminal defence, and she has represented clients charged with offences ranging from Impaired Driving to First Degree Murder. She appears regularly in the Manitoba Provincial Court, as well as the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench and the Manitoba Court of Appeal.
Gerri also practices in the areas of civil litigation and administrative law. In this capacity she has appeared before various Administrative Tribunals including the License Suspension Appeal Board, The Residential Tenancies Commission, the City of Winnipeg Municipal Council, and the Driver Improvement and Control Section.
Gerri is appointed a member of the Advisory Committee for a period of two years effective November 22, 2018.
Gary Robinson graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 1991 with a BA, majoring in psychology. He graduated from Robson Hall law school at the University of Manitoba in 1996. He articled with Legal Aid Manitoba in Winnipeg and was called to the bar in 1997. Gary has practised mainly criminal law since then.
From 2001 to 2007, Gary was a staff attorney at the Thompson Community Law Centre, then transferred to the Winnipeg office. In 2011, he became the Supervising Attorney of the Criminal Duty Counsel office.
Gary volunteers with the Air Cadet League as the Squadron Committee Chairperson, he is also the Secretary of Judo Manitoba and a volunteer referee.
Gary is the President of the Legal Aid Lawyers Association.
Gary is appointed a member of the Advisory Committee for a period of two years effective September 17, 2019.