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API Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez

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LegalForce Opens General-Interest Bookstore Offering Walk-In Lawyer Access

LegalForce (formerly, one of the largest legal websites, today announced the opening of LegalForce BookFlip™, a brick-and-mortar retail store in downtown Palo Alto’s historic 323 University building.

The three-level, 8,000-sq.-ft. store, in the heart of Silicon Valley within walking distance of Stanford University, is on downtown Palo Alto’s prestigious University Avenue, the location for Google’s, Facebook’s and PayPal’s first offices.

The LegalForce BookFlip store uniquely provides seven-day retail hour access to licensed U.S. attorneys on a walk-in basis without appointments. LegalForce lawyers provide initial advice on a wide range of personal and business legal topics. Follow-up meetings can be set up with specialists in a variety of practice areas. The store, designed as a retail bookstore lounge, sells not only a wide range of books and tablets but also offers free classes on topics including entrepreneurship, business, and law. It is designed to fill the growing bookstore void left on Main Streets across the U.S.

“People want and need bookstores on Main Street,” noted Raj Abhyanker, LegalForce CEO. “Independent bookstores and national chains such Borders and Barnes & Noble are finding it increasingly difficult to survive because of high rent and because some prefer to purchase books online.”

This undermines the community-based feel and the sanctuary of knowledge that bookstores have provided to neighborhoods over hundreds of years. LegalForce is working to keep bookstores on Main Streets by supplementing them with a revenue model based on access to legal services. In addition to its flagship LegalForce BookFlip store, the company plans to form partnerships with existing bookstores across the country.

The historic LegalForce BookFlip building, across the street from a new Apple store, has been fully restored to its original characteristics with an investment of over $2 million. It features original mahogany doors and staircases, as well as historical facades accurately reflecting the Spanish Colonial revival style of the original architect, Birge Clark, which the Palo Alto Weekly nearly a century ago labeled “Palo Alto's best-loved architect.” The historical restoration is refreshed with a hip and ultra-modern Apple store-like interior in which books on shelves surround tablets for sale.

“We want people to realize that lawyers, like doctors, can provide help throughout various stages of life,” CEO Abhyanker, himself an attorney, said. “Few people know where to turn for legal help. We solve this by letting the public walk into a major retail location for help. This makes obtaining legal assistance easy, convenient and affordable.”

LegalForce plans to create a new national brand for legal services, based around the core values of efficiency, transparency, and accessibility. To achieve this goal, LegalForce plans to attract other law firms that share these core values and will unite under the LegalForce brand.

Clients can also book LegalForce attorneys online through the website’s new “Chat-torneys” feature, which delivers worldwide access to a California-licensed attorney privately via video chat, telephone, or instant messaging. LegalForce will also sell books and Google Nexus tablets online, offering individuals and businesses unique bundled offerings of legal services, books and tablets.

Since its Sept. 2009 launch, the self-funded LegalForce has helped to create the world’s largest trademark law firm, having filed more than 23,000 U.S. trademarks. LegalForce has already helped to file more American trademarks through licensed U.S. attorneys than any other law firm in U.S. history. Its trademark search engine attracts more than 1.8 million unique visitors per month, making it one of the largest legal-oriented websites.

About LegalForce:

LegalForce is a technology company helping a network of independent law firms improve access to law for millions of people worldwide through online and offline technology. LegalForce achieves this through rearchitecting legal processes, improving internal efficiency, and creating compelling online and offline operational and marketing collective law firms sharing the “LegalForce” brand.

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