The Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) has announced the first of its initial Rural Education and Access to Lawyers Initiative (“REAL”) programs for 2014. The REAL Initiative is a “coordinated set of programs that aims to address the current and projected shortage of lawyers practicing in small communities and rural areas of British Columbia.”
One of the key elements of the Initiative is the summer student program. This program will provide funding and support to lawyers and law firms from around the province who are interested in hiring a second year law student for the summer.
In order to be eligible to apply for funding under the REAL Initiative, lawyers or law firms hiring the student must be practicing in a community with a population under 100,000 and a lawyer to resident ratio of over 1:5. Priority will be given to “high need communities” with the following characteristics:
- Low number of practicing lawyers in relation to population;
- High average age of practicing lawyers;
- Limited access to other communities with higher lawyer levels; or,
- A stated willingness to consider bringing the student back for articles.
Funding for the REAL Initiative program comes from the Law Foundation of BC, the Law Society of BC and the CBABC. An application form for the program is available for download on the CBABC website.