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CBABC executive director Kerry L. Simmons

B.C. pro bono organization takes over lawyer referral service

Thursday, August 15, 2019 @ 12:10 PM | By Ian Burns


B.C.’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is under new management.

With funding from the Law Foundation of B.C., the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch (CBABC) has operated the LRS for over 60 years, providing the public an opportunity to have an initial consultation with a lawyer about their concerns. However, as of Aug. 12, Access Pro Bono (APB) has taken over operations of the LRS.

CBABC executive director Kerry L. Simmons

Kerry L. Simmons, CBABC executive director

“We are so proud of the LRS’ history of helping people in B.C. take that important first step in getting the legal help they need,” said CBABC executive director Kerry L. Simmons. “Improving access to justice for British Columbians continues to be our goal, and Access Pro Bono is a natural new home for LRS. We know it will complement and enhance APB’s ability to offer free legal services of high quality to those in need.”

In the past year, LRS received an average of 180 calls a day and made over 25,500 referrals to lawyers, according to the CBABC.

“We welcome the LRS and are committed to maintaining the exceptional level of service for which it is known,” said APB executive director Jamie Maclaren. “Our mandate is to promote access to justice through pro bono service, and with continued funding from the Law Foundation of B.C., we are pleased to announce the elimination of the $25 fee that many LRS lawyers have traditionally charged for an initial consultation.”

To access the referral service, clients call up and explain their situation to an operator, who will provide the name and phone number of a suitable lawyer. Once they receive the number, the client will call the lawyer and will provide up to a half-hour of in-person free consultation.

People can contact the LRS by calling 1-800-663-1919 or (604) 687-3221 (in Metro Vancouver), or by e-mailing lawyerreferral@accessprobono.ca.