FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Two Vancouver-based lawyers will be hitting the road in a 24-foot RV to bring legal services to residents in Northern BC over the next few weeks.
Two of the three founders of Reach Legal, which was launched last month, will be clocking more than 2,500 kilometres over 10 days this month to bring much-needed legal services to residents of underserved communities. Reach Legal operates on a web-based platform to offer individuals and businesses across the province convenience, flexibility, and options when choosing a new lawyer.
“We believe that all BC residents should have access to specialized legal services, regardless of the size or location of their community,” said Erin Brandt, one of the lawyers behind Reach Legal, and the official route planner for the RV trip.
The “Law Bus” journey will visit communities from Williams Lake to Fort Nelson, including: Quesnel, Mackenzie, Tumbler Ridge, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Chetwynd.
“In smaller communities it can be a real challenge for residents to find expert legal representation. In some cases, it’s practically impossible,” said Simon Kent, another of Reach Legal’s founders.
Kent cites examples of cases where a community may not have two lawyers available for a divorce case, leaving one spouse without representation. Reach Legal hopes to fill this gap with its innovative plan to offer legal services via video conferencing and other mobile options. The legal team said it will travel as needed for court appearances, and is also planning to provide support for their fellow lawyers already practising across B.C.
“Lawyers in smaller communities are often asked to take on complex cases that require specialized knowledge outside their primary practice area, simply because there are no other local options,” said Brandt. “We hope to act as a bridge for these lawyers, connecting them with legal professionals who can consult on specific cases and specialized areas of law. The idea is to build a stronger community of legal professionals in these regions, by supporting what is already working.”
The Reach Legal RV’s itinerary is as follows:
- Tuesday, May 8: Quesnel
- Wednesday, May 9: Mackenzie
- Thursday, May 10: Tumbler Ridge
- Thursday, May 10: Dawson Creek
- Friday, May 11: Fort St. John
- Sunday, May 13 – Tuesday, May 15: Fort Nelson
- Tuesday, May 15 Thursday, May 17: Fort St. John
- Thursday, May 17: Chetwynd (tentative)