As lawyers, problem-solving is our bread and butter. Whether advising employers on workplace best practices, separating spouses on asset division or access schedules, or business owners on commercial transactions, we spend the better part of our days finding practical, creative solutions to our clients’ legal problems.
So, naturally, we welcomed the opportunity to solve one of the most fundamental legal quandaries of our time:
How can someone living in an underserved community access the legal services they need and deserve?
In recent years, legal thought-leaders – from law society presidents to judges to everyone in between – have observed the challenge that residents of remote or smaller Canadian centres face when looking for efficient, affordable resolutions to their legal problems. Despite efforts to entice law school graduates away from the big city, many communities remain underserved by lawyers.
According to one law blogger,
There is no question that many small Canadian cities and towns are doing without a sufficient number of lawyers. Indeed, some vast regions— like the far northern parts of most provinces— are doing without any lawyers at all.
A key piece of the puzzle is the “greying of the bar”. As one recent National Post article noted, the average age of lawyers living in smaller British Columbia communities is upwards of 52, and younger lawyers are not arriving to replace their elders as they retire.
Unfortunately, even when local lawyers are available, demand often still exceeds supply and potential clients end up turned away, forced to travel for legal advice.
So what’s the answer?
Because we have the expertise that people want and the desire and will to share it, it’s up to us to reach out and bridge the distance. When relocating isn’t an option, virtual and face-to-face solutions like Skype, pop-up offices and mobile legal services allow us to make meaningful, timely connections with our clients. We are available and accessible when, where and how you need us.
We bring the law to you: it’s a solution for our times.