Benjamin Ries

Young Alumni Achievement Award

Ben RiesBenjamin Ries (BA 2006, Honours Political Science/Applied Studies Co-op) is the recipient of the 2014 Arts Young Alumni Award.

While at Waterloo, Ben’s studies in law and politics, along with his co-op work experiences, led him to pursue a career in law. In 2009, he received his Juris Doctor, and in 2011, his Master of Laws, both from the University of Toronto. As a graduate student, he received a Faculty Graduate Fellowship, the Houlden & Morawetz Scholarship, and the Albert S. Abel Award, while studying the legal theory and economic analysis of Ontario’s low-income housing policies.

Ben has dedicated his career to the problems of homelessness and inadequate housing. “From my very first month as a law student, I was most attracted to the student legal clinic as a place where I could immediately apply what I was learning in my classes to real world problems that affected ordinary people,” says Ben. His interest took him from policy work in government to graduate research and teaching. Until recently, he worked as a staff lawyer at Neighbourhood Legal Services in Toronto, while he continued to train new law students and intervene in housing rights litigation at the Ontario Court of Appeal.

This past July, Ben changed jobs and is now review counsel at Downtown Legal Services in Toronto, a teaching clinic operated by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, where he teaches and supervises law students.

Ben obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Applied Studies Co-op and Political Science Co-op from the University of Waterloo in 2006.