A LAW firm has become the first in the region to offer a range of same-sex legal services.

Ellis Jones Solicitors in Bournemouth chose National Coming Out Day yesterday to launch the venture.

Lawyers will offer help on aspects of the law that relate directly to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

They include family issues such as gay marriage and divorce, finances, children and parenting issues, financial support for children and mediation.

The service will also help with discrimination issues and employment law advice.

Lauren Day, who is partner and head of dispute resolution at the firm, came out to her friends at the age of 17 and married photographer Rebecca in July this year.

She said there were a host of areas where legal advice was relevant to LGBT people. “It doesn’t make a difference in a lot of legal matters. The ones where it’s very much bespoke to the LGBT community are matters relating to families and civil partnerships. Decisions on civil partnerships are a purely same sex point,” she said.

The team also includes Deborah Leask, partner and joint head of family, as well as associates Katie Taft and Kate Brooks.

Ms Day said: “We’re all individuals doing this stuff but we thought let’s put it under one umbrella and offer it as a bespoke service and it mirrors society as a whole and shows us being supportive to a fairly underrepresented community.

“If you’re looking for legal advice, wherever that is, it seems to me that knowing you’re going to a firm which recognises, and openly says we’re supporting, the LGBT community hopefully makes us seem more approachable.”

She added: “We regard this as a growth area with demand for same-sex legal advice likely to increase in the future.”

She said the firm was the only one in the area to have brought services for LGBT people together in this way.

“When I was at university doing a law degree and considering becoming a lawyer, it was very much a white, middle class profession. I think it’s got a lot better now but it still suffers from a perception of not being that approachable.”

Nigel Smith, Ellis Jones’ managing partner, said: “As a progressive, forward-looking firm, we believe our services should mirror changes in society as well as the law.

“Our team are all specialists in their respective fields and have been chosen for their expertise in dealing with aspects of law directly relating to the LGBT community.”