Entrepreneurial rookie bids to fill legal aid gap and earn cash
A ballsy law student has set up his own pseudo-law firm offering legal help and assistance to paying clients.
Lincolnshire-based David Wade (pictured) of ‘David T. Wade: Student of Law’ offers help with areas including divorce law, employment law, road traffic law and, interestingly, firearm licensing law. He does so with the help of Emma Hoole, another law student, and JoAnne Watkins, who has previously worked in a solicitors’ firm. They are described as Wade’s “team”.
Clients can buy time with Wade — who is currently studying his LLB via the Open University — through an online checkout system. He charges £25 per hour for his time, a £175-£200 fixed fee for lay representation and McKenzie friend services, and £50 for an advice only consultation. Wade also requires a £100 deposit from his customers, to enable him to set up their file.
The ex-plumber’s website also features a newsreel with a series of short blog posts on matters such as human rights and divorce law.
Although Wade terms his business as a “Law Practice” on social media, he makes clear on his website that he is not a solicitor or barrister and that, for clients, this has its restrictions. He explains:
I cannot provide you ‘legal advice’ in the sense of giving legal advice, purely because am not classed as ‘qualified’ as yet.
The website does, however, define Wade’s £50 consultations as time to:
[S]it down over a coffee listen to what your issue is and provide you with our advice in relation to it.
Covering the Grimsby, Goole, Hull and Scunthorpe areas, the website stipulates that Wade and his team work 9am-7pm weekdays and are closed only on Sundays.
To juggle all this and study for a law degree is no doubt admirable — though his website does feature a few glaring faux pas. Major clunkers include his spelling of “learn’t”, flipping in and out of English and American English, and we’re not too sure this header hits the right notes either.
That aside, Wade appears to have built up a commendable project for himself, racking up over 1,400 likes on Facebook.
We were particularly interested in what this all meant from a regulatory point of view. Legal Cheek spoke to a Solicitors Regulation Authority spokesperson about Wade and his website, and asked who is responsible for regulating law students. He told us:
If Mr Wade is not doing something that needs to be regulated, then no-one. Support in court would make him a McKenzie friend, other legal advice is just that, advice.
The spokesperson continued:
If he’s not carrying out any of the reserved legal activities, he doesn’t need regulation, nor indeed does he come under our umbrella if he’s not admitted to the profession. It’s therefore a bit tricky for us to comment on people we don’t regulate, who aren’t affiliated to firms we regulate, carrying out legal services that aren’t regulated.
Legal Cheek contacted Wade to discuss his venture, but he declined to comment.