The firm, The Law Store, was established in Walmarts in Joplin and Neosho and quickly expanded to include a Springfield location and two in Dallas, Texas by year’s end.
It’s the first known firm in the U.S. to be located in the retailer’s stores, filling leased spaces near other professional services like vision centers, medical clinics and banks.
Hershewe said the idea for the location stemmed from an interest he’s had in building a national law firm. His vision evolved from being a largely virtual firm to one located in brick-and-mortar locations.
“What I always intended to do was deliver good legal services, hopefully through automated processes, that would kind of replace online legal services that aren’t really legal services,” he said.
He pointed to companies like Avvo, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer.
“To compete with them, you have to have automated services where the price point is good for the consumers,” he said.
His initial attempts to raise the idea with the company were rejected, but after revisiting it following the recession, he found a more receptive audience.
Hershewe said he envisioned that the store would be staffed with lawyers, provide reasonable and transparent pricing and operate in convenient hours.
He still maintains a separate personal injury firm in Joplin, the Hershewe Law Firm. He said he didn’t want to put that type of a firm in Walmart, however.
“I wanted to be more like a family lawyer,” he said. “We did a little bit of everything and tried to do it quickly, inexpensively and for people, to be a help.”
He said the goal is to quickly assist customers with their legal needs.
“We pride ourselves on automated processes. It speeds up the process and makes it reasonably priced for everyone,” he said. “We pride ourselves on getting the folks in, getting their project done, getting them out and going on to the next person.”
The Law Store includes a wide range of services, from wills and estate planning, traffic tickets and basic small-business and real estate needs. It will also accept personal injury, family and elder law, immigration and bankruptcy matters, with more complex cases referred to outside attorneys.
So far, he said the response has been positive.
“We offered them something they haven’t had before,” he said. “It’s convenient, there’s really no barriers that are put up to going to see a lawyer if you’re going to The Law Store.”
The firm has plans to continue its expansion in 2017. Three stores are slated to open in Kansas City area Walmarts – in Liberty, Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit – and a third is set to open in the Dallas metro area.