Bromleys Solicitors is to expand its free legal advice services for the public during 2019 after seeing demand soar last year.
A total of 764 people attended surgeries at the firm’s offices in Ashton-under-Lyne during 2018.
The figure represented a 54 per cent increase over 2017, when 497 people took advantage of Bromleys’ Access to Free Legal Advice programme.
In addition to five weekly surgeries at its offices, Bromleys runs advice sessions during and outside working hours at a variety of locations across the borough.
These include nursing and care homes, adult day care centres, charity premises and women’s centres, benefiting residents, service users and staff.
Bromleys assigned more lawyers to the service during 2018 than in previous years.
Those attending last year sought initial help with issues concerning employment, neighbour and boundary disputes, wills, probate and lasting powers of attorney, divorce and care proceedings, cohabitation agreements, parental and grandparental rights and child protection.
This year, the firm is looking to add further pop-up sessions at various organisations in and around Tameside.
Mark Hirst, senior partner at Bromleys, said: “The free advice sessions provide a safe, private space where members of the public can talk to our experts and find out more about the legal options available to them.
“Greater awareness about our programme through marketing activities and client referrals has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people attending.
“Reductions in Legal Aid are also a factor. People know they can come to us for a free initial consultation and that we will put them on the right path to resolving their situation before matters escalate.
“They can get information about possible funding options and schemes available and, if they wish, they can instruct Bromleys to act on their behalf.
“Our commitment to providing free initial legal advice to the local community and in particular vulnerable people is a cornerstone of our corporate social responsibility programme.
“We enjoy what we do and get an enormous amount of satisfaction knowing we are able to assist and provide peace of mind, helping people with their problems and connecting them to external services they may not have known were available to them.”