|For immediate release||January 24, 2012|
First president from Kootenays wants better public access to legal services
Vancouver – For the first time in its 128-year history, the Law Society of BC has a president from the Kootenays. Bruce LeRose, QC, will officially be sworn in at the Society’s January 27 board meeting in Vancouver, where he will launch the organization’s new strategic plan. LeRose was born and raised in Trail and has spent his entire legal career practising there.
“We have three goals in the 2012-2014 plan and one of them is to make sure the public has better access to legal services,” said LeRose. “People from my area of the province are acutely aware of the need to improve the situation. The Kootenays is a big area geographically and many people have to travel great distances to meet with a lawyer and attend court.”
Not only is it tough for many people throughout BC to afford a lawyer, it’s hard for some people to find one in smaller communities. There are dwindling numbers of lawyers in rural areas, partly because of an aging profession.
“In the Kootenays there is roughly one lawyer for every 1000 people who live there,” said LeRose. “And as lawyers retire, the Bar isn’t replenished with enough young lawyers – many of whom prefer to practise in bigger centres.”
In 2011, the Law Society provided support to the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch’s REAL initiative to attract young lawyers to rural BC. The Society also made some changes to its rules, with a view to enhancing the ability of law students and paralegals to provide affordable legal services.
The new Strategic Plan commits the Law Society to finding more solutions. More on the Law Society’s 2012-2014 Strategic Plan, Bruce LeRose, QC and the Society’s efforts to increase access to legal services.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
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