Dozens get free legal advice

For the 10th year, Kelowna lawyers volunteered their time in City Park, Tuesday, helping dozens of people with free legal advice.

Despite torrential rain briefly bucketing downtown Kelowna, 16 lawyers spent four hours under pop-up canopies from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the Access Pro Bono annual event.

“It just shows the need. People are going to wait in the rain, torrential rain, because at that point it was pouring, just for the opportunity to see a lawyer,” said co-ordinator Annie Baric.

The Vancouver-based organization hosts four clinics year-round in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

“Clients can call and make appointments to see a lawyer at those clinics,” Baric said, adding that more information can be found on their website.

While Tuesday's outside event saw 39 people get free advice, it also served to raise awareness about Access Pro Bono, while raising money for the non-profit through pledges from the legal community.

Baric said they have lawyers who practise all types of law come out to the events, including family law, employment law, residential tenancy matters, along with civil and criminal law.

“This was our busiest Kelowna year ever,” Baric said, noting there are issues with access to legal services across the province.

While Legal Aid provides free legal services for some based on income, Access Pro Bono helps those people who may not qualify, but still have a hard time affording a lawyer.

“We tend to do low- to moderate-income clients,” Baric said. “Our threshold is higher than Legal Aid.”

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