The Lawyers Assistance Program of British Columbia depends on a network of lawyers who give generously of their time to reach out to their peers and colleagues, for its continued success. The LAPBC’s volunteer representatives (“Volunteers”) fulfill a number of functions:
- Volunteers meet with peers on a strictly confidential basis. Volunteers should treat confidentiality with the same respect as solicitor-client confidentiality.
- While not asked to be therapists, Volunteers provide one-to-one assistance such as 12-step referral and an attentive ear.
- Volunteers have often successfully dealt with life issues and problems and are available to share their experience, strength and hope.
- Volunteers will be aware of the resources and options available to aid and support the suffering peer.
- Volunteers may be asked to report on the progress of their peer to the Executive Director or other members of the LAPBC to ensure the goals of both the Volunteer and peer are being met.
- While all persons acting as Volunteers may appear on behalf of their peer as an advocate or witness, the Volunteers may not represent himself/herself to be appearing in the name of the LAPBC. Volunteers are not to act as legal counsel to represent any peer they are supporting until another Volunteers rep is found to support the peer.
- A Volunteer should not have an employment relationship with a peer they are supporting. Should a Volunteer wish to hire a peer they connected to through LAPBC, they must ensure that the peer has another Volunteer to provide ongoing support.
- The Volunteer will not portray himself/herself as representing the LAPBC unless he/she has received prior authorization from the Executive Director (e.g. presentations/letters of reference).
- Volunteers spend their own time to attend ongoing training offered by the LAPBC staff on topics that help them in assisting peers.
The LAPBC Volunteers receive no remuneration. They donate their time and abilities out of a belief in “lawyers helping lawyers.” Through their generous efforts, they are able to contribute in a tangible way to improving the legal profession.