Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

I need help with a criminal defence/employment/immigration/civil litigation matter – can you help me?

We’re very sorry, but we have only just launched recently, and we can only accept family law and child protection files at this time. However, we hope to expand our services to other areas of law in the near future. Please check our website regularly.

I live in ____ (outside Greater Vancouver, in another part of BC), can you still help me?

Absolutely. We are available to conduct consultations by phone, if you can’t make it into our office for any reason. Unfortunately, we are not able to represent you in person outside of Vancouver, but we’re happy to do what we can through phone and email.

I have a matter in ____ (a jurisdiction outside BC). Can you help me?

Sorry, no. Our lawyers are not licensed to practise outside of BC, and it is against Law Society rules for any lawyer to offer advice or assistance on a file that’s being heard outside the jurisdiction in which that lawyer is licensed.

Are you part of legal aid?

No, we are not affiliated with the Legal Services Society (legal aid in BC). We are a separate organization.

I already have a legal aid lawyer, but I want extra help/a second opinion.

Due to the high number of women who need legal advice and don’t qualify for legal aid assistance, we are generally unable to assist clients who qualify for and are currently receiving legal aid, or otherwise have retained legal representation. However, if your file has reached its billing limit with LSS, or if you no longer qualify for assistance due to income/assets, we may be able to help. Please call or email us to discuss.

Is it okay if I just come by and talk to someone? I don’t want to make an appointment. Can I just talk to a lawyer quickly on the phone?

Sorry, we are unable to accommodate drop in service at this time, either in person or on the phone. In order to serve you best, we want to set aside sufficient time and resources to give your matter its proper attention. We hope to add additional services (including summary advice) in the future, so please keep checking our website.

My matter is urgent and I need to talk to someone right away.

Due to the overwhelming need for our services, we often have a wait-list in place. We can sometimes see individuals outside our regular appointment schedule, in emergency circumstances. Some emergencies might be: women whose physical safety, or that of their children, is in immediate danger; women whose family home or another significant joint asset is at risk of being sold without their consent; women who have had a threat of abduction made against them or their children; and one or two other very limited circumstances. As much as we understand and sympathise that so many other legal situations are difficult and stressful, unfortunately they may not warrant emergency measures, given the limitations of our small clinic and staff.

How does the wait-list work?

When we receive your completed Client Appointment Request, your form is dated and filed in our ‘Upcoming Clients’ folder. As appointments become available, either through new blocks becoming available or cancellations, we offer them to the next client(s) in line on the waiting list, on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

I have a court appearance/mediation/conference in a few days/next week. Can you represent me?

For your sake, we would want to be as prepared as possible if we were to represent you in any proceedings, and so it’s unlikely that we would be able to appear for you on very short notice. However, depending on our wait-list, we may be able to offer you some assistance in preparing you for your appearance on your own, or we may be able to help you obtain an adjournment.

Will I be able to meet with a real lawyer?

Rise Women’s Legal Centre is a training program/externship for future family lawyers as part of their clinical legal education. Our legal services are delivered by upper-year articled students with family law-specific education and training, and who are assisted on every file by our supervising lawyers. You likely won’t be meeting with a lawyer at any of your Rise appointments, but lawyers will be overseeing your file at every step.

I have a day job and can’t make appointments during business hours.

No problem. We offer evening appointments on alternate Wednesdays. Please mention it when you are booking your intake appointment.

It’s hard for me to make it to an appointment because I don’t have childcare.

Children are welcome at Rise. We have a relaxing ‘living room’-style space with stuffies, toys and books where your older children may wait for you, and you are welcome to have your infant or toddler in the room with you while you speak to you your legal advisor.

Do you charge for your services?

We do not charge for the first three hours of legal services, including your consultation at our office. After that, we may charge you on a sliding scale ranging from $25-$100 per hour if your income is over the following:

Family size

Residing in rural areas

Residing in community of less than 30,000

Residing in community between 30,000 and 99,999

Residing in community between 100,000 and 499,999

Residing in community of 500,000 or more


22,003 25,181 28,091 28,446 33,637


26,780 30,650 34,191 34,620 40,938


33,348 38,163 42,573 43,111 50,977


41,601 47,612 53,115 53,783 63,598


47,373 54,217 60,484 61,245 72,419


52,538 60,128 67,079 67,922 80,314

7 or more

57,704 66,040 73,671 74,598 88,209

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