Accessing legal services is often a difficult, expensive, and time-consuming endeavor for most people. Raj Abhyanker is looking to change that.
LegalForce BookFlip is a brick-and-mortar legal services store in the the heart of downtown Palo Alto. In addition to selling legal self-help books and other tech products, like tablets, LegalForce allows people to schedule to consult attorneys. It is very similar to scheduling an appointment with a Genius at an Apple Store. A 15-minute consultation is a flat-fee of $45, and you can meet in person, on the phone, or over Skype. LegalForce conducts a conflicts check before consulting with before providing services.
The store is centrally located in the heart of Silicon Valley. I can envision Stanford students and graduates, and other Techies, who need legal advice on patents, trademarks, or start-up issues, who cannot afford a retainer at a big firm, trying this service.
This provides an easy way to get simple questions answered. If the questions are more complicated, I’m sure Raj’s firm will be ideally suited to continue the representation. Unlike LegalZoom or RocketLawyer, which are impersonal, and cannot provide actual legal services, Raj’s shop offers people direct access to licensed attorneys.
I could not attend the big grand opening last night (coverage in TechCrunch, eLawyeringBlog, and MyShingle) though Raj gave me a tour of the store a few months ago before it opened, and it was very impressive endeavor.
I look forward to seeing how this business model develops.
Update: Here is a video of Raj’s talk.