From Perogies to Law Trucks – With Love

Maybe it’s something that happens to your brain at 5,000 feet above sea level. Maybe it’s the fresh mountain air. Or maybe it’s the frontier, no-one’s-gonna-help-me-so-I-just-gotta-do-it-myself, spirit of the West. Whatever it is, some of the most entrepreneurial Canadian lawyers I’ve met to date, are from Calgary.

Over and over again I’ve heard that if you have a great idea in Calgary, you can find partners to help make it happen.

We live in an age of cloud computing, greying of the bar, and underserved populations living on mobile devices, and many of us have also been commenting on the poor cost structure of traditional law firms for some time. But these comments and trends have fallen on deaf ears.

So, for confidentiality reasons, I can’t share some of the exciting ideas I’ve heard, but let me make a suggestion that dawned on me today during lunch.

Perogy Boyz food truck was parked near the law school at University of Calgary where I’m currently teaching and acting as journalist-in-residence – I had tracked them down from Twitter and was not disappointed. It was while munching on my apple pie perogies that my mind started to whirl.

What if we created a law truck to service small or rural communities?

The truck would have a private meeting area/computer/printer/scanner/wifi/ phone – even filing cabinets if needed.

I like the concept of a food truck – go to where the customers are, instead of planting a flag in one spot and demanding that they come to you. And we now know that law offices don’t really need the traditional trappings any longer.

So, why not?

A mobile app would allow clients to see where you’ll be parked next and could be used to make appointments. You could maintain any needed staff at a central, low cost hub – like your home. Or they could work from their own homes.

Paypal or credit card payments can be done electronically on the spot like at most restaurants.

A law truck would bring the law to the people in a less intimidating and more accessible way – a way to build rapport with every-day Canadians and even educate them on their rights and obligations.

Maybe one of my students at University of Calgary Law School will take this idea further one day.

Or maybe the sugar rush from my perogy dessert has gone to my brain.

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Comments

  1. fresh off the boat

    *Pierogi NOT “perogies” urgh.

  2. Great idea, Mitch! Very do-able. Harks back to the old Bookmobiles that started back in the twenties in the US, taking the info to the people, and that continued up into my day (though my memory may be hazy on that score). More recently, Brewster Kahle’s great internet Bookmobile is a good model: it goes where people might not be able to purchase books and lets them print and bind texts that are in the public domain. (There is, too, the Lincoln Lawyer — but I can’t say I’d hold him up as someone to emulate…)

  3. Hey, why bother with the truck? We can just go full Max Headroom with this one.
    If you’re not into full, we can ease into it with a Larry Middleman style professional surrogate to do house calls, a la Arrested Development. He could drive a Segway. Of course Larry is just there to scan in client papers if needed, and maybe to verify photo ID of a client. The lawyer is anywhere.
    I really prefer the Max Headroom LLP idea though.
    Again, the lawyer could be anywhere, but instead of hanging off of Larry the Middleman’s iPad bib, she’s projected more autonomously into the room like a TED-powered robo Snowden . That takes care of the Segway too! The wheeled lawyer could be drone-dropped within a couple yards of the client’s Foursquare coordinates by Amazon Prime Air!

  4. Great idea Mitch. I have actually thought about this concept as a way to deliver in person mediation services throughout BC! Wouldn’t it be great to provide a multi-disciplinary team concept (lawyer, paralegal, mediator, etc.) that rolls into town using technology in advance to schedule appointments, triage the services and promote the visit.
    Your post may have been tongue in cheek but I think the concept might have “wheels”!
    Thanks so much!
    Kari

  5. I was thinking about bookmobiles, too. They are still alive and well; here is Toronto Public Library’s: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/bookmobiles/ Perhaps they would have some valuable knowledge about providing this kind of service that lawyers could learn from.

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