Tetiana Bersheda, Lawyer and Founder of LexSnap writes about the implications to cuts to legal aid funding in England & Wales.
Since 2013, a crisis has been brewing in family law. Cuts to legal aid in England and Wales have decimated the client base for family law practices as it has become so expensive to get legal advice that 1.2 million people are going to court for family issues without legal representation.
As many as 70% of people report that they would ‘think twice’ before going to court without legal representation (according to the Ministry of Justice), but more and more people are increasingly forced to represent themselves because they have no other choice. The current situation has had a severe effect on both vulnerable members of the public and many family lawyers who have faced reduced access to clients and less control over who and when they can assist.
Having access to accurate, expert legal advice is a cornerstone of UK society. Even more so in an age of instant but misleading information online. That’s why I founded LexSnap, which seamlessly combines the consumer-friendly experience of a search engine with the reliability of service that is only provided by lawyers regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and includes a marketplace, where our network of lawyers can decide if they want to offer clients more bespoke advice with an up-front and transparent quote.
Lawyers will always be necessary to ensure that expert advice is available, but technology enables new methods for delivering customer-centric services, even in the legal market. Technology can benefit lawyers and firms by relieving pressures on their time, finances and geographic restrictions. Therefore, I see LexSnap as a partner to law firms, not a market insurgent.
LexSnap is already live and helping people through their family law issues. And, while our services can’t fully address the crisis in the provision of family law legal help triggered by legal aid cuts, they provide an excellent first step by enhancing access to and visibility of the legal options that are available in an efficient, non-intimidating and transparent way.
Tetiana Bersheda will be discussing ways to deliver fast low cost legal advice in family law at ARK Group's Disruptive Innovation in Legal Services event on 19 April 2018.