There is more than one way to practice law. This is a message many law students don’t hear often. Accessing justice and where lawyers are practicing their craft is changing.
Look at Toronto based Axess Law. Lawyers Lena Koke and Mark Morris, co-founded Axess Law, a discount law firm with 10 locations within Walmarts throughout the GTA. Axess Law offers legal services such as wills, business incorporations or residential real estate transactions and are located where clients can access their services — the local WalMart. Apparently, business is good and Axess Law is looking to expand in Ontario and possibly across Canada. Before you think that this isn’t what the legal practice should look like. Consider for a moment that most law firms started in simple storefronts long before they became Bay Street blue chip firms.
Not to mention that in many common law jurisdictions, law firms are set up and function very differently compared to Canada. For example, Australia’s Slater & Gordon Ltd is listed on the stock exchange.
Britain’s QualitySolicitors is a franchise model. They are a chain of independent small and medium sized firms working under a brandname. By functioning under a brandname, smaller and medium sized firms can compete nationally with larger traditional law firms in their marketing.
The success of Axess Law is an example of how the delivery of legal services is starting to change in Canada. That’s why in November 2014, the Women’s Legal Mentorship Program through its uOttawa Chapter’s WLMP Fund co-sponsored with the Cavanagh LLP Professionalism Speaker Series a joint panel entitled “Innovations in the Delivery of Legal Services.”
You can learn more about alternative business structures (ABS) among other innovations by viewing the panel through the WLMP YouTube Channel.