Lawyers' website answers questions

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:29 03/12/2012
LawSpot.co.nz
LEGAL EAGLE: Maya Shino's LawSpot website offers free advice for those struggling with legal issues.

Relevant offers

Digital Living

Secretive billionaire reveals how he toppled Apple in China Facebook is masking our depression, but can it help us get better? How do you know if you're over-doing it on Facebook? British Prime Minister Theresa May calls on social media companies to act Three things Samsung says its Bixby assistant will do that Siri can't How online bullying became an epidemic we're all guilty of It is past time we fully examined the ever-expanding influence of Facebook on our lives What you should think about before buying Apple's cheaper iPad and red iPhone YouTubers claim restrictions targeting gay-themed content Smartphones set to dominate digital payments

A former Palmerston North Girls' High School pupil has poured her passion for law into a website for people seeking free legal advice.

Maya Shino, who is now a solicitor for Russell McVeagh in Wellington, won an AMP scholarship earlier this year to launch LawSpot.org.nz.

The non-profit website allows New Zealanders to post legal questions and receive free answers from volunteer lawyers.

A database of answers is then listed on the website, under certain law categories, so people can look at it and save time instead of waiting for a reply.

Ms Shino said the idea for the website came about after she volunteered at the Wellington Community Law Centre, and saw how technology could help it and other law centres handle clients better.

"A lot of the questions [volunteers] get are the same or very similar questions, with quite a lot around employment law to tenancy disputes.

"Instead of spending half an hour answering the same questions, people can have a look in a second."

A web model also gave flexibility to fulltime lawyers who still wanted to volunteer, she said.

"They can answer these from home, or sometimes [at law centres] there isn't a line out the door, so they can answer online questions then."

Ms Shino said she worked closely with the Wellington Community Law Centre, which was supportive of the project.

"We brought the technology side to them, and they were really excited because they weren't very good in that area."

Online websites with qualified professionals answering queries were popular overseas, but New Zealand was "just catching on", she said.

Although the scholarship from AMP was helpful, a good portion of work on the website was done pro bono.

Ms Shino said she was also looking for a corporate sponsor to fund the cost of maintaining the website.

Ad Feedback

- The Manawatu Standard

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content