Online advice is an increasingly popular way for people to get legal advice by using new technology. While at one time it was essential to pay expensive legal fees in order to get advice that seemed simple to the normal person, nowadays people are much more attuned to their legal rights than at any previous point, location or epoch due to the proliferation of websites which offer information about people’s rights, obligations, duties and expectations that ever before.
It is even possible these days to take a degree in law online; such as scenario is revolutionary and could barely be imagined, even only a couple of decades ago, let alone with the establishment of the rule of law in the United Kingdom. While at one time solicitors had to be rich, white and Oxbridge educated, the increasingly democratic nature of society means that anyone with the intelligence and aptitude can now be whoever they want to be, including an upstanding legal professional. This is the story of one such person.
Betty Gray is an eight year old great grandmother of three who finished school at fourteen in order to take care of her husband. Betty soon found herself pregnant and the existential cycle of birth and rebirth began in earnest.
Betty came to regret the fact that she had left the educational world so early and once her children had all flown the coop, took a university course in accountancy. While initially struggling with her degree, she eventually graduated with flying colours. She says of this experience, “I never thought I would have a degree, I thought they were only for the posh people”.
Betty used this degree to get herself an office job and at fifty got a job as manager of her firm; a job she continued in until her retirement at the age of sixty-five. After retiring, Betty found herself at a loose end and milling around the house with little to do, following the death of her husband Fred. Tragedy almost befell Betty when her bank attempted to have her removed from her home of fifty years due to legal complications which, to this day, she does not really understand. “All of a sudden I were getting these letters from the bank.
At first I just ignored them, but then they started to get more aggressive, saying that they would have me kicked out if I did not start to pay them an increase interest rate, which, after my husband died, I just could not afford”, said Betty. Thankfully, her children came to her help and she was able to placate the bank, but her experience had left her wanting to understand the world of the law more so that such a situation would not sneak up on her or her family again.
Betty had started to spend a lot of time online since the death of Fred, and when she heard about The Open University she was intrigued. Having already done one degree, she decided that it was time to do another and she enrolled on a course in Law, online.
Betty graduated last year with a distinction and has since been offering legal counsel to one of her grand-children who has been having some legal problems of his own. Betty spoke of her experience thus, “after those bankers had tried to stitch me up, I just had to do something for my own piece of mind. I had never thought about doing another degree, but my daughter said it would be good for my mind, stop me going senile and give me a hobby. Turned out she was right after all and I have gained confidence in myself from the whole experience. I have been trying to get some of my friends to do a degree, but they say that are all too busy playing bridge and bingo; never mind! I’ve got my degree now so nobody can stop me!”