Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is adding a new offering for their price-conscious customers: legal services.
According to the ABA Journal, the big box retailer is testing out onsite law offices in some of their Canadian stores with an eye on possibly expanding the concept in the United States.
Walmart shoppers in the Toronto area can find law offices staffed by attorneys from Axess Law, offering services ranging from document notarization to simple wills. The firm has plans to offer real-estate and power of attorney services in the near future, with handling uncontested divorces beginning in the fall.
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Axess founder Lena Koke explained that, “A lot of people are intimidated by lawyers. This is a non-intimidating setting.”
The offices are open seven days a week with some open until 8PM.
Pricing ranges from $25 for document notarization to $99 for a simple will. Koke notes that they are able to keep prices low due to the high volume of business..
The Strategist blog at FindLaw explains that this new low-priced legal model could come to the United States due to the high-price of legal services and an excess of attorneys seeking work.
Pointing out that legal services providers like LegalZoom aren’t actually law firms, William Peaccok at the The Strategist writes: “…. toss in tens of thousands of unemployed lawyers, and you have an unserved market, a tempting business model, a cheap labor supply, and a distribution network already in place.”
Current US law bars Walmart from ownership of the low-end legal shops, but does not prevent them from leasing out space to firms wishing to fill the need for inexpensive legal representation. Walmart does not face the same obstacles in selling basic do-it-yourself legal documents.
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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