More than 400 people have already benefited from Tasmania’s first online service for accessing legal information.
An initiative of Tasmania’s Legal Aid Commission, Legal Talk is an online chat service connecting lawyers to clients.
Tasmania is only the second state in Australia to offer the service, which is modeled after a similar program that has operated in South Australia since 2015.
Since launching in Tasmania in April, the service has already surpassed the expectations of Legal Aid’s Advice and Legal Services manager Anthea d’Eemden.
Based in Launceston, Mrs d’Eemden was responsible for getting the program off the ground and said the service helped bridge the information gap.
“What is great about Legal Talk is that the response provided to the user is from a real person, this is not a robotic service,” she said.
“Since we launched it has just gone so much better than I could have ever expected.
“What we have realised is that people of different age brackets prefer different methods of accessing advice and information.
“Whether that is on the phone, face to face, or from their computer or electronic device at home or work.
“Our statistics indicate that people starting on a legal journey, often just need information to them started on the right path and this service provides that.”
Legal Talk is available in addition to LACT’s free legal advice line and sessions.
LACT director Susie Winter said the online program gave people more options when looking for legal information.
“This service will benefit those people whose preference it is to not speak with someone on the telephone or face-to-face,” she said.
“Telstra records show Legal Aid’s telephone helpline receives around 30,000 calls a year.
“But around 40 per cent of callers don’t need to speak to a lawyer, but are just seeking legal information.
“Legal Talk enables those people to chat with an operator who can direct them to the information they need without having to call or drop in at one of our offices statewide.”
Legal Talk is available Monday to Friday during normal business hours, from www.legalaid.tas.gov.au.