Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about Rise Women’s Legal Centre, please review the frequently asked questions below. If your question has not been answered, please email Rise at [email protected] and we will answer your question as soon as possible.

Legal Services

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

We’re very sorry, but at this time we can only accept files in the following areas of law:

  • family law
  • immigration applications for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) 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?

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 on very short notice. However, 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, which includes your consultation at our office. After that, we may charge you on a sliding scale ranging from $25-$100 per hour if your income exceeds our maximum. This can be assessed after your initial consultation and before we begin work on your file.

About the Clinic

Will I be able to meet with a real lawyer?

Rise Women’s Legal Centre is a training program and externship for future family lawyers as part of their clinical legal education. Our legal services are primarily delivered by upper-year UBC law students with family law education and training, and who are assisted and supervised on every file by our licensed lawyers. It’s unlikely that you will meet with a lawyer at any point, but lawyers will be overseeing your file at every step. Although we are a teaching clinic, we operate much the same as any other law office, and are bound by many of the same responsibilities and obligations that guide all members of the legal profession. 

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).

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 will do what we can through phone, email and videoconference. 

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 BC Legal Services Society (also known as legal aid). We are a separate organization.

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

We are unable to assist clients who are currently receiving Legal Aid, or otherwise have retained legal representation.

However, if your file has reached its billing limit with Legal Aid, 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, at 236-317-9000 or [email protected]

"Legal aid turned me down/I ran out of hours - can you help?"

If you:

  • applied for legal aid and were turned down, or
  • had legal aid previously and your file has reached its billing limit, or
  • no longer qualify for assistance due to income/assets

we may be able to help. Please call or email us at 236-317-9000 or [email protected] and we’ll see if we can assist.


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. Like any law office, we want to serve you to the best of our ability, and so we need 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.

Although we are not a crisis organization, we can occasionally see individuals outside our regular service model.

Some emergencies circumstances 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 possibly one or two other very limited circumstances, at our discretion.

We know that most legal problems are difficult and stressful. As much as we understand and sympathise, we are not a crisis organization and our ability to respond quickly in an emergency is limited by our small clinic and staff, and the availability of student clinicians. 

However, our case manager has a social work background and many years of experience helping women in crisis in the community. She may be able to help you find information and alternate resources quicker than you might otherwise. Please complete the request for an appointment here, and then email the case manager at [email protected] to bring your request to her immediate attention. 

How does your service model work?

When we receive your completed request form, our case manager will review it and then contact you to help determine whether one of Rise’s programs will be the best fit for you, or if another community organization would be better suited to your needs. If Rise is able to serve you, the case manager will then add you to our intake list, and we fill appointment spaces as they become available. Apart from our transition periods between semesters, when client services are not available, most appointments can be arranged sometime within a few days to a few weeks. Learn more about our semester transitions here. 

Do you offer appointments outside your regular 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, or let our case manager know when you speak to her. Please note that we are also able to meet by phone.

Can I bring my children?

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.


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 you can do is be aware of your online presence so that you can make safer decisions about your online activities. Your 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; and
  • 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 addresses 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 or use webforms to send messages where available.

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 or location tags 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 for more information on technology and safety.


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