Members of the public can get expert legal advice for as little as £4.99 through the latest start-up aiming to answer questions online. Its founder, a high-profile international lawyer, insists the service will complement the service provided by law firms, not compete with it.
LexSnap provides instant advice from 'top lawyers in London' on family and immigration matters. Fees, which start at £4.99, are capped. The platform also offers free video tutorials from firms including Withers, Macfarlanes, Farrer & Co and Shoosmiths. Visitors are offered a free assessment to help identify their legal needs.
The service was founded by Geneva-qualified Tetiana Bersheda who, in 2014, acted in a record-breaking £2.6bn divorce case involving Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Bersheda said: 'If you go straight to a law firm, you will talk to a lawyer for 30 minutes about your personal situation. All this is time which lawyers bill on an hourly rate, which makes advice very expensive. We have identified those standard questions for specific situations.'
Visitors can find an answer for as little as £4.99 to questions such as: should I make a will? Can I adopt a child of my partner? Can my ex claim financial support from me? I am a UK national, my wife is a non-UK national, can our child become a British citizen? A package on immigration for children, containing five answered questions, costs £19.99; an immigration package for married couples, with 10 answered questions, costs £44.99.
Bersheda acknowledges that there are reliable sources of information that can be found on the internet, such as government websites. However, she highlights the lack of checks on information posted in many internet blogs which, she says, 'is quite dangerous'.
She says: 'We're different from what you can find on Google. [Our advice] is prepared by the best lawyers and people can be assured about the quality.' However, Bersheda insists technology will not replace lawyers. Instead, it will make their work more efficient, enabling them to concentrate on work with a 'higher-added value'.
LexSnap works with solicitors authorised to practise in England and Wales. It is not a regulated platform because there are no lawyers inside the company.