Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Services

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

We’re very sorry, we can only accept family law, child protection and wills files at this time, and will soon be accepting some immigration matters for Mothers Without Status files on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. We hope to expand our services to other areas of law in the future. Please check our website regularly.

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.

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

1

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

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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

7 or more

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

Who We Help

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.

Provincial Legal Aid

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.

Appointments

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.

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.

However, as much as we understand and sympathise that so many other legal situations are difficult and stressful, we are not a crisis organization, and are rarely able to assist on short notice 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 day job and can’t make appointments during business hours.

No problem. We are able to offer a limited number of evening appointments. Please mention that you need an evening appointment in the section of our request form where we ask you about what accommodations you need to access our services.

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 your legal advisor.

About the Clinic

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. It’s unlikely that you will meet with a lawyer at any point, but lawyers will be overseeing your file at every step.

When I come to the clinic, is there designated parking available?

Rise does not have any designated parking, but there is limited metered and two-hour free street parking nearby. If you will be driving, please leave yourself enough time to find parking in the neighbourhood, as the traffic can be very heavy first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon.

Where exactly are you located?

Our office is located on unceded Coast Salish Territory, directly beside the Broadway-City Hall Skytrain Station at Cambie and Broadway (#201-456 West Broadway Vancouver, BC V5Y 1R3). If entering the building from Broadway, take the elevator or the stairs to the second floor and come to suite #201. We are open Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9:00AM and 4:00PM (except on statutory holidays).

Safety

I have a feeling I’m being monitored online. How can I use my devices in a safer way?

There is no guarantee that any of us aren’t being monitored online. However, there is a greater risk of being monitored online when women are leaving abusive relationships. What we can do is be aware of our online presence so that we can make safer decisions about our online activities. Our online use can be monitored in a variety of ways including, but not limited to;

  • looking up internet browser history, email accounts, and social media accounts,
  • searching cell phones and other devices,
  • sharing accounts such as iCloud,
  • hacking of passwords,
  • monitoring through software such as spyware, and hardware such as keystroke loggers.

Internet Safety – Start by deleting your web browser history. Some web browsers will let you surf the web in privacy/stealth and incognito modes. Check if these modes are available in the web browsers you’re using.

  • Always use a safer computer when you’re communicating with friends and family about your private plans, searching, setting up appointments and communicating with support services and setting up new accounts and passwords. Safer computers can be found in public libraries, schools, community centres, support service offices or even at a trusted friend’s house.
  • Check your settings to see if your accounts are linked and shared between devices such as a smartphone and tablet as information which is sent from your phone when you are out in the world may be accessible from the tablet at home.

Email – Your (ex)partner could have access to your email account.

  • To be safe, open a new email account your partner does not know about, on a safer computer and use a new and hard to guess password.
  • Also, try NOT to “click” on the email address on web pages as your email and the reply you receive may go to an (ex)partner’s account.
  • Always copy and paste an email address into the account you own that you know the (ex)partner doesn’t have access to.

Cell Phone – Call and text history can be retrieved in a variety of ways and your cell phone can be used as a tracking device.

  • Turn off location services on your phone when you don’t need them. Also, check your shared family and friends location settings or any location apps that may have been downloaded on your phone.
  • You can consider a pay-as-you-go phone if you suspect your phone is being monitored.

Social Media – Change your password and ensure you’re notified if any changes are made to your account through options in your settings.

  • Only post things you want the public to see or know.
  • Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and information like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find out where you live, hang out or go to school.
  • Tell people not to post your personal information or include you in comments, tags and check-ins on social media. Set your settings to options like having to “approve” all information about you before they are posted on your page. Remember this doesn’t stop information about you being shared on other people’s accounts, just your own.

Maintain Appearances – If you are being monitored and concerned for your safety, consider continuing to maintain appearances by using your computer, email, cell phone, and social media for non-sensitive information. Consider setting up an appointment with a local anti-violence program to safety plan around your technology use.

Please see http://nnedv.org/resources/safetynetdocs.html for more information on technology and safety.

 

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