Skip to main content

A free-of-charge legal guidance service in Darlington is celebrating its first birthday this week.

DMA Law Link is a free walk-in legal clinic run by DMA Law, set up in June 2014 to make legal services more accessible to members of the public, particularly in light off cuts to legal aid, which have limited access to legal services to many.

So far, 594 people have visited the Link since it opened its doors on Skinnergate, Darlington, to access advice on a range of legal services, including will, personal injury, conveyancing, disputes, debt and family law.

Julie Mathieson, partner at DMA Law, said the offices are designed to be as approachable as possible: “We set up the Link because we realised that not everybody definitely knows whether or not they need a lawyer – we wanted to welcome people off the street, without an appointment, who have legal questions or problems.

“We are delighted with the response so far – for every day we’ve been open, we’ve helped an average of almost 2.5 people, which means nearly 600 people in Darlington have received free legal guidance from us.

“We totally understand that seeking legal advice can be intimidating, and that people are frequently concerned that they will start to accumulate charges as soon as they walk in the door. While that isn’t the case, the DMA Law Link was set up to help break down those barriers with an open-door service that allows people to make enquiries and ensure they get qualified answers to their questions.

“There are, of course, times when we cannot help people directly and in those cases we always try to point them in the direction of an organisation that can help.

“In the long-term it’s something we’d like to roll out to other towns in the North East. We also have offices in Chester le Street, Consett, Peterlee, Sunderland, and Hartlepool, so there is plenty of potential for expansion if the idea continues to prove popular.”

Staff at DMA Law Link have also organised a series of fundraisers for a number of different charities. In May 2015, the Link waived its fees for writing wills, instead donating proceeds to TFM’s Cash for Kids. Other charities to benefit from fundraising efforts throughout the past 12 months have included the British Heart Foundation, Wear It Pink for the Breast Cancer Campaign, Comic Relief, Age Concern and MacMillan Cancer Support.