By News
| 5 June 2017

CooperBurnett associate solicitors, Gemma Gillespie and Katie Hilsdon, both volunteer for Citizens Advice in Tunbridge Wells one afternoon each month – Gemma offering advice on family matters and Katie on other areas of civil law.

Citizens Advice is a network of 300 independent charities across England and Wales which provides free, confidential and independent advice to help people with everything from money issues to problems at work and housing worries to consumer rights.  Over the past 12 months, Citizens Advice has helped 2.7 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat.

Gemma is a solicitor in CooperBurnett’s family and matrimonial department. She qualified in 1996 and, for the last 15 years, has specialised in family law, acting on behalf of clients in complex financial cases in respect of divorce proceedings and private law children proceedings

“During my sessions at Citizens Advice, I advise on a range of family matters from finances through to adoption and protection injunctions,” says Gemma. “It appears that, with the reduction of availability of legal aid for family matters that Citizens Advice is the first port of call for people requiring help.”

She continues: “I really enjoy being able to point people in the right direction. So much advice is now online and generic and doesn’t meet a person’s specific circumstance. I am able to advise on their legal position and when it is worth pursuing a matter and, if so, how they should do this and what local services are out there to help.”

If people come in needing urgent assistance on family law at other times during the month, then Citizens Advice offers their clients a free half hour meeting at CooperBurnett’s offices.

Katie Hilsdon is based within CooperBurnett’s company and commercial team and has been involved with Citizens Advice for a number of years.

“I first started volunteering with Eastbourne Citizens Advice in 2014 and then worked full-time as a project manager for them for a year, before I became a paralegal,” Katie says. “I was keen to continue to be involved once qualified and enjoy the opportunity to help the local community in Tunbridge Wells.”




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