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In 2014, Walmart entered the legal services market. Or rather, Axess Law moved to Walmart, opening four offices in Walmarts throughout Canada. Hey, if the clients aren't coming to you, go to them, right?
Two years later, their practice is still going strong and is expecting rapid Walmart-based growth in 2016. Should you join them?"We Need a Price Check on Simple Wills at Cashier 12"
Axess Law's business model is simple, but genius -- and kind of shocking. Forgo the trappings of the typical law firm -- the wood-paneled law libraries, the fancy conference rooms, the lack of discount produce -- and focus on an underserved legal market.
Attorneys Lena Koke and Mark Morris, Axess Law's co-founders, operate a simple, low-fee, high volume practice. You can get a will for $99, for example. According to a recent report by the Financial Post, Axess law "offers a menu of legal services that can be easily 'commoditized' or replicated and offered to a large volume of clients who have relatively simple legal needs."
But highly discounted services require volume -- hence the Walmart location. Their Toronto-area Walmart location sees 200,000 customers a month, according to the Financial Post.
Should You Join Them?
Walmart seems to have paid off for Axess Law. When they started two years ago, they had just four Walmart offices. That number will have more than quadrupled in 2016, when they plan to open in as many as 18 locations, expanding from Toronto Walmarts to Ottawa Walmarts.
Walmart has been a good landlord too, it seems. "Walmart has given us absolute discretion to build out the company that we want," Morris told the Post. "They've kept a hands-off approach, which has allowed us to remain functionally and completely independent of their activities."
Should you follow suit? We haven't heard of any Walmart firms down south in the U.S. yet, so there's definitely an opportunity. Plus, there's no need to limit yourself to Walmart. We're sure Target or Costco would be open to the idea. Of course, you'd have to have a practice in simple legal services and a willingness to hawk your expertise like it was fast food.
But, it could be a great opportunity to network with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who spends his summers RV camping in Walmart parking lots.
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