July 17, 2009

Salvation Army Pro Bono Program: Volunteer Lawyers Needed

The following is a request for assistance I received from the Salvation Army Pro Bono Progam. I have worked with this organization in the past and would recommend it to lawyers looking for a chance to do some valuable pro bono work. The commitment is only 2 hours a month and there is no obligation to represent the clients beyond giving summary advice at clinics.

The Salvation Army Bro Bono Program program is facing a shortage of lawyers and a significant increase of clients (due to legal aid cuts). Currently, The SA pro bono program needs lawyers in all areas of law. The commitment: 2 hours once a month to provide needy individuals with summary advice only. Here are the details:

The Salvation Army – Belkin House
Pro Bono & Justice Services
555 Homer Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6B 1K8
Telephone: (604) 694-6647
Fax: (604) 681-3005

· Lawyers usually hold a 2-hour-legal-advice session (“legal clinic”) once a month, and see approximately 4 clients (30 minutes each). Lawyers inform us of the date and time they will be available to hold clinics

· Lawyers provide summary advice only; lawyers do not represent clients (unless they want to provide a greater amount of assistance)

· Lawyers inform us what sort of cases they are willing to advise clients. Our staff will only refer cases related to requested matters

· Lawyers are linked to clients through our legal clinic staff. Clients call our program for appointments and for follow-up appointments (when necessary)

· Before seeing a lawyer, clients are screened so that clients present problems within the lawyers’ field of expertise

· Our staff provide our volunteer lawyers with a list of clients, opposing parties and counsels to assist lawyers in preventing conflicts

· Volunteer lawyers are covered by professional liability insurance coverage in providing legal services to our pro bono clients. This includes full insurance coverage with waived deductibles and surcharges to members in good standing with the Law Society of British Columbia. (We encourage lawyers to contact the Lawyer’s Insurance Fund for details). It is worth mentioning though that we have not had any claims whatsoever since our pro bono program started in 1998

· Clinics may be held in different locations. For example, clinics may be held at:

o Belkin House (555 Homer St)
o Robson Square (800 Hornby St)
o Provincial Criminal Court (222 Main St)
o Salvation Army (3213 Fraser St)

Please direct inquiries to:

Regiane Garcia, LL.B., LL.M
Pro Bono Development Coordinator
The Salvation Army Pro Bono and Justice Services
555 Homer Street Suit 104
Vancouver BC V6B 1K8
Tel.: (604) 694 6622 or (604) 681 3405
E-mail: regi_garcia@telus.net

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I would love to hear your views on this post so please leave a comment below. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide any legal advice through these comments. If you need legal advice, please contact one of the pro bono resources listed on the right side of the Rights & Remedies blog.