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From the OJEN Blog

Meet Bryn Rieger – OJEN’s New OOCMT Coordinator

OJEN is pleased to announce that Bryn Rieger has accepted the position of Coordinator for the OJEN/OBA Competitive Mock Trial Program.

Before joining OJEN, Bryn practiced criminal defence in Winnipeg, with an emphasis on youth criminal justice.  In this role, he engaged with Indigenous and other marginalized youth.  He brings a strong background in social justice and public interest law as well as community and youth engagement. 

It was his experience advocating for youth that led to his interest in justice education.

“I have a lot of experience with youth caught up in the criminal justice system,” Bryn explained. “Often it is the result of a lack of resources, a lack of support and lack of understanding of our legal systems.  A lot of the barriers youth I have worked with face can be directly addressed through legal education.   

Bryn Rieger

Referred to the role by a colleague in the legal community, Bryn was immediately drawn to OJEN’s project model.  The reciprocity of the learning for justice professionals and youth involved in programs offer a possibility for meaningful change.  Not only do youth gain exposure to legal systems and those working within them, justice professionals gain the valuable perspectives of youth from diverse communities they might not otherwise hear.

Bryn is excited about being part of the OJEN team and using his skills in youth advocacy with the OOCMT program. Over the next few weeks he will be getting to know the members of the local OJEN committees and reaching out to OOCMT sub-committee members in advance of the approaching tournament season.  He is especially looking forward to cooperating with teachers, with whom he has worked in different circumstances in his previous job.

“I love working with teachers,” Bryn remarks. “They have a special relationship with youth that isn’t replicated in any other role.”

Since the program began in 2015, the OOCMT has grown to become one of OJEN’s largest programs.  In 2019 it involved approximately 1600 students from 169 schools province-wide.  Hundreds of volunteers including teachers, lawyers, judges and court staff volunteer their time to ensure a meaningful learning experience for student participants.  They coach student teams, judge mock trials, arrange for snacks and lunches for the students, and deal with the myriad challenges that arise in the course of delivering the program.  Local courthouses in every region of the province support by opening their doors to host the tournaments.  Supporting each of the local organizing committees with the administration of the tournaments is the Coordinator’s role.

Bryn approaches the position with enthusiasm, looking forward to problem-solving challenges and exploring new regions of Ontario, his new home.  Watch for announcements about the 2020 OOCMT Program from him soon.  Learn more about the OOCMT Program here.

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