LegalForce, a US concept for delivering legal services, has today simultaneously launched in the US and UK, with plans to open a new type of legal retail store in the heart of London’s technology industry, Legal Futures can reveal.
Centred around intellectual property protection, LegalForce will also offer start-ups and small businesses other commercial legal services.
The UK operation is being run by south London law firm Freeman Harris – although it will shortly recruit more firms to the brand – and the intention is to open the retail store in either Soho or Shoreditch at the end of this year or beginning of next, with more to follow elsewhere in the UK if it proves successful.
The US store in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, launched last night with a novel bookstore/coffee shop feel (see more photos below), which will be replicated in the London store. 'LegalForce BookFlip' provides online do-it-yourself, lawyer 'assisted', and lawyer 'guided' services. Customers can walk in and meet with a lawyer on weekends and nights, and the store offers a range of community events as well.
LegalForce in the US is a rebranding and extension of Trademarkia, a highly successful online search service that claims in just three years of its existence to have filed more trade mark applications in the US than any other provider in history (over 22,000) and receives 1.8m unique visitors to its website every month. It is now expanding to provide users with other commercial law services; the Trademarkia name will be phased out.
LegalForce Freeman Harris will replicate the model, handling trade mark work in the UK and Europe – which it has already been doing for US clients coming through Trademarkia, registering 1,000 marks – and providing other commercial advice.
Partner Ian Freeman told Legal Futures that the plan is shortly to recruit a further five to 10 firms around London that offer those commercial services his firm does not.
Trademarkia and LegalForce founder Raj Abhyanker said there will be co-marketing and co-branding in London, with “common online paid search and a local advertising budget – we will advertise on bus stops, in local radio, etc and create a network of firms in the London metro area first”.
He added that all LegalForce network firms in the UK will benefit from a shared operational support team – providing paralegal, document review, accounting and billing support – at LegalForce India in Nagpur “to make them globally more competitive and efficient”. The ultimate plan is to become “the largest law firm and legal brand in the world through the effective use of technology and retail stores”.
Freeman Harris is also part of QualitySolicitors – opening the network’s first shopping centre store in Lewisham – and its personal injury practice will remain in the brand. The firm is a member of Rocket Lawyer’s panel as well. “Brands are good,” said Mr Freeman.