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Graduates offer free legal advice online

PUBLISHED: 17:53 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 July 2010

The 25-year-old creator of an acclaimed free legal advice website called Freegal has no qualms about what could be seen as a mini mutiny against a profession famous for its fees.

The 25-year-old creator of an acclaimed free legal advice website called Freegal has no qualms about what could be seen as a mini mutiny against a profession famous for its fees.

The ethos behind Freegal appeals to Daisy Ashworth's sense of justice and fair play - and it serves the best interests of clients and legal practice graduates alike.

The website she set up with two friends puts clients in touch with a bank of graduates who aim to deal with queries within a week, offering two hours' free advice.

And in its first year, Freegal has been shortlisted for a clutch of national awards at prestigious London ceremonies where Miss Ashworth has rubbed shoulders with prime minister Gordon Brown, education minister Ed Balls and chancellor Alistair Darling.

Ormesby-born Miss Ashworth, of Private Road, is a legal practice graduate from Leeds Metropolitan University and a former Caister High and East Norfolk Sixth Form pupil.

She said: “After completing my academic legal training at university, I had a vision to create a website which offered free, independent legal advice to all members of society. The website would not be limited to helping any section of society and, most importantly, would not be limited to those on a low income.”

She added the aim of the website was two-fold: firstly, to help graduates develop their legal experience and improve their CVs; and, secondly, to offer free advice in a cold economic climate in which even better-off people were feeling the pinch but were unable to qualify for legal aid.

“In many cases, the advice Freegal will give will be to contact a solicitor, which can help to relieve the worry a client has about wasting their, and a solicitor's, time, knowing the money they spend pursuing their legal query will be of benefit to them.

“I wanted to let the young people of Great Yarmouth know about my achievements because it can be daunting and overwhelming when, at the age of 16, 18 or 21, we are asked to make choices which can affect the rest of our lives. Having a goal can be inspirational, but getting there should also be enjoyable.”

Miss Ashworth said she and her team aimed to develop the freegal.co.uk website and increase links with other organis-ations. The website has helped more than 100 clients over the last year, many with employment and family concerns.

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