New Zealand Law Society - Department store law firms open in USA

Department store law firms open in USA

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Would you shop for legal advice at the same time as gathering the weekly groceries?

Customers (clients?) in Missouri, USA now have that option, following the recent opening of two law firms inside Walmart department stores.

The Law Store "offers fast, face-to-face legal services in convenient Walmart locations," its website states.

It currently operates Walmart-based legal offices in two Missouri cities, Joplin and Neosho.

The firm offers shoppers a free first appointment (in fact, it has trademarked its 'Free First Advice' offering) with one of its Law Store attorneys or 'LawPro's (also trademarked).

According to a report by the Joplin Globe, fewer than 20% of legal problems experienced by low-income Americans are addressed with the help of a lawyer. 

"The Law Store is a law firm, that's what it is," Joplin attorney and chief public relations officer for The Law Store Katrina Richards told the Globe.

"But what we handle are basic, transactional services, smaller things. Things that most every American needs, but a lot of people are not able, or they don't know a lawyer, or they just, for some reason, they don't go to a lawyer to get these types of services.

"Those types of things that can help out everyday Americans, but they otherwise might not get the service."

The Law Store advertises a menu-pricing model rather than a traditional hourly rate.

For example, the Law Store charges US $99 to establish a simple will. That's $141 NZD.

It will also offer some cost-free services including notarising, accident reports and trademark searches.

Following the recent wholesale reform of legal services regulations in the UK the BBC reported on a so-called "Tesco law", whereby legal services operating as 'Alternative Business Structures' could be sold from within supermarkets.

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