By David Wiseman:
Here is a link to an article in the current issue of Precedent magazine that I thought might be of interest. It is a profile of the lawyers behind Axess Law and how they went about setting it up. For those that don’t know, Axess Law is a new entrant in the legal services market in Ontario that aims to provide affordable services to low and middle income people. All or most of its offices are in Walmarts (!).
The business model that Axess Law uses is an interesting development in relation to improving access to justice and is receiving some attention in the ongoing consideration of whether to allow ABS in Ontario (an issue that is being considered by law societies across the country). Interestingly, both sides of that debate like to refer to Axess Law. Those who support allowing ABS cite Axess Law as an example of exactly what ABS-entities could be expected to do, although on a grander scale. Those who oppose ABS cite Axess Law as showing that ABS-type innovation in legal services, for low and middle income groups, can occur without actually allowing ABS (and without risking the purported downsides of ABS).
For those interested in the broader debate on ABS, in which the issue of access to justice is figuring quite prominently, I would draw to your attention (I don’t think I have seen it explicitly referred to on this list yet) that the LSUC ABS Working Group has released a summary of the submissions it received in relation to its Discussion Paper on ABS. The summary is available here: <http://www.lsuc.on.ca/uploadedFiles/ABS-full-report.pdf> All of the submissions are available via links on this page: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/abs/