New legal services available in village

 | April 13, 2020
Rina Jeyakumar in her new Sun Peaks office. Photo SPIN

Sun Peaks now has its own dedicated legal practice.

Araya Law opened its doors in early March and offers a variety of legal services, as part of a wider trend of new businesses catering to the growing permanent resident market in Sun Peaks.

The firm specializes in wills and estates, real estate, immigration, business, workplace law and notarization services, stated Araya Law founder and principal lawyer, Rina Jeyakumar.
Jeyakumar, originally from the Lower Mainland, completed her legal training before travelling abroad and working in human rights, ahead of starting her own eco-transportation business in South Africa.

She eventually returned to Canada with her partner, Ryan, to work as an associate, and then senior associate of two different law firms in the Lower Mainland.

Having periodically visited Sun Peaks since 1997, she introduced Ryan to the mountain resort last winter and said they both fell in love with the place.

Jeyakumar quickly learned no legal services existed in the village, save a notary public based in Kamloops that retains a branch office in Sun Peaks.

Needing a change from her then-job and considering the promise of a growing community, Jeyakumar enquired about office space and soon after was told a storefront was available in Fireside Lodge.

“It was all very serendipitous,” she said.

Insights from the community and Jeyakumar’s personal experience shaped what legal services Araya Law now offers.

“I had young families coming up saying we need help with our wills and our power of attorney because we want to make sure that everything’s going to be in order for our kids if something happens,” she said.

Similarly, Jeyakumar anticipated new businesses in a growing community like Sun Peaks could need guidance with corporate structures and incorporation, employment contracts and the like. Her practice also includes wills, estates, and, of particular importance during the current pandemic, power of attorneys and representation agreements.

On a more personal level, she is the daughter of immigrants and sponsored her partner to come to Canada. So it’s not surprising that she is passionate about immigration rights—something that affects many in Sun Peaks’ employment pool and visiting population.

“I think the unfortunate reality of the immigration system in Canada is that it’s not really user-friendly,” Jeyakumar lamented.

Australian Casey Lambert has lived in Canada for eight years and is now a permanent resident.

“I’ve had friends before who are just so frustrated by [the immigration process] that they’re ready to give up,” she said.

Lambert said she believes a local lawyer could offer more immediacy for residents seeking help with immigration applications, in reducing communication delays, than alternative sources based primarily in the Lower Mainland.

Araya Law is now open five days a week. Jeyakumar welcomes appointments booked over the phone or online.

“I’m both very excited and humbled, because I didn’t expect the feedback and support and enthusiasm to be what it has been,” she said. “I’m hopeful that I can provide a service that previously didn’t exist in a way that makes sense and is meaningful to the community.”

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