What Lawyers Do in the Community

  • August 01, 2015

Here and abroad

Laura Atkinson, associate family law lawyer with Brown Henderson Melbye in Victoria, volunteers her time in her community both in the legal field and beyond.

Laura is on the Board of Directors for the Victoria Women’s Transition House, a society which works to end violence in relationships. Laura is also a Director with African Leaders of Tomorrow, a tremendous organization which supports orphans in Tanzania to pursue high quality education.

For the past eight years Laura has volunteered with Easter Seals, most recently as part of the organizing committee for the 24-Hour Relay, which raises money to send children with disabilities to summer camp.

Laura has been on the Executive of the CBABC Young Lawyers – Victoria Section for four years and is currently the Chair of that Section. She is Vice-Chair of the CBABC Family Law – Victoria Section and has been part of the Executive for the past two years.

Since 2012, Laura has volunteered with Access Pro-Bono, providing free legal advice to clients through that program, and she has been a participant/fundraiser for Access Pro-Bono going public since 2013. For the past two years Laura has been a lawyer supervisor for the Access Pro-Bono student program for University of Victoria law students.

Laura also currently acts as a lawyer supervisor for law students making court appearances as part of the UVic Law Centre clinical program.

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Kim Karras, lawyer and managing partner of Brawn Karras & Sanderson, dedicates her time to give back to the communities she has lived in. Why? Because she cares about people, and cares about making a difference in the
lives of others.

As far back as 1987, Kim served as a member of the Board of Trustees of her community hospital. From 1997 to 2001, she served on the Board of the Surrey Foundation, a community foundation connecting residents and donors to charitable initiatives that directly affect the vitality of the community. Her longest standing volunteer position has been as a member of the Board of Directors of the Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation (PAHCHF), joining the Board in 2000, serving as Board Chair 2004–2006, and recently returning for her 15th year.

Kim not only donates her time and expertise to the Boards she serves on, but also regularly supports local charities financially. Kim is indeed a strong supporter and enthusiast of local causes and community initiatives.

Kim gives back to the community she calls home, not because it is the right thing to do, not because she has to, but because she wants to. This is her way of making an important difference.

Kim is grateful for her thriving practice and her success as a lawyer, but she also stands by her belief: with success comes the moral responsibility to give back to her community. The work she does in the community helps her understand the issues and needs of the people in her community. Reaching out in the community builds relationships, builds continuity, and a healthier, stronger, and more efficient non-profit sector. It is a win-win situation, and the rewards are far reaching.

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Top photo: Kim and her husband Howard Karras at this past May’s PAHCHF’s 2015 Partners in Caring Gala – “Code Blue for ER.”  Kim’s firm was one of the sponsors and the Gala raised more than $1 million for the ER. Bottom photo: Kim (right) with her friend Dragana Sanderson (left) at the hospital Foundation’s 2014 Great Pumpkin Walk. Dragana is one of the Co-Chairs for the campaign for a new ER and also a past Chair of the Foundation’s Board. Every October the Run/Walk takes place over the streets of White Rock. In 2014, the event raised more than $75,000.