The legal profession is a massive one in terms of the amount of money involved in it. However, as time goes by the market itself is entering stagnation. Green Target mentions that the outlook for the legal market in 2018 going forward is slow in terms of growth. It’s not a wonder then that many lawyers are looking at things that can help them maintain their office rental while at the same time offering them the potential for profits.
In recent years, the most significant front-runner among these alternative businesses is the coffee shop. Forbes notes that coffee franchises are experiencing massive growth and appeal recently, making it an ideal business idea for legal professionals that are looking at a more laid-back setting.
The Stereotype of Lawyers Turned on its Head
When people think about lawyers in popular culture, there’s always the image of the perfectly dressed professional that maintains his or her professionalism across the table from where you’re sitting, listening to your woes and offering useful (and expensive) legal advice. While it’s the romantic view of the modern-day lawyer, the reality is quite far removed from this dream vision.
Global News mentioned that a Toronto cafe called Lawyers & Lattes is seeking to change the way people see coffee and legal advice at the same time. Instead of meeting in an office, clients can enter and browse the menus of both hot and cold coffee drinks and legal advice that can suit their needs. The lawyers themselves are fully qualified, but instead of confining their dress to the stuffy professionals, they’re regular, approachable people, which sets many Millennials at ease.
Not an Outlier
While Lawyers & Lattes is among the most well-known of these legal profession coffee shops, they are by no means the only one cashing in on this trend. Skunkworks suggests that the opening of these cozier, more personal spaces in which clients can bring their legal woes are a response to the domination of the legal profession by large law firms. The idea behind opening up these smaller firms, such as lawyers in Coquitlam, is to address the concerns of a client directly as well as provide a level of care and attention that is lacking from the highly impersonal nature of “Big Law”.
The use of a cafe appeals to a broader group of people than any other and allows the company to be more than just a coffee shop of a legal advisory office. It offers both of these things and a natural ambiance that clients can enjoy and relax in. Legal matters can take a lot of time and can be quite complicated to sort through; why not do so over a hot cup of well-brewed coffee?
The Risk of Long Term Saturation
One of the significant condemnations of this new type of legal advisory office is that it’s something new, untested, and could potentially bring dishonor to the entire profession. The opening up of the market to legal professionals that aren’t bound to a law office might make other competitors decide to join in the fray.
In recent news Walmart Canada has announced that it intends to offer legal services by partnering with a firm called Axess Law. With companies like these offering legal advice and consultation, it’s likely that many legal firms will see a drop in the number of walk-in queries they may have. Walmart has had a history of being disruptive in the industries they decide to compete in, and it’s likely that the legal profession won’t be an exception to the rule.
Additionally, many established lawyers are concerned that the advice that clients receive from these sorts of organizations might not be helpful at all, and in some cases might even be detrimental to the client.
Is a Cafe-Based Legal Advisory a Bad Idea?
While many of the experienced legal professionals are likely to see a drop in their already slow workload if these new legal offices start to take off, the clients are likely to benefit. Now only that, but the legal profession itself is a taxing one. Beyond Billables notes that as many as 23% of lawyers experience higher than average levels of depression, and 23% deal with chronic levels of stress due to the demands of their jobs.
If something like this could help both lawyers and their clients, then it should be celebrated. The cost of services that they offer are likely to be far less than the established offices, and there’s always a second opinion if you think you need one to gain perspective. All in all, this might be a great idea to help smaller lawyers make their mark on the world as well as offering them and their clients a bit more java-fueled happiness along with their legal advice.