One of my favorite "blogs of the minute" is Jason Duncans "A Thought Over Coffee":
"Follow me through my journey towards opening Cafe Evoke. From my final semester at Belmont University in Nashville, TN to opening day in Bozeman, MT I will share my expirences with writing the business plan, doing the research, and opening the cafe."
In amongst the commentary on the fun and games that are taking place as he attempts to establish his new cafe (Evoke), Jason offers lots of great quotes, lessons and other cool links. Today he pointed me to this article on Jeffrey Hughes:
Thirsty for justice? Jeffrey Hughes' two Legal Grind cafes in the Los Angeles area offer "Coffee and Counsel" to those who may not otherwise seek legal advice. Through his innovative venture, Hughes has worked hard to both provide a valuable service to his community and change the public perception of attorneys.
It's Starbucks meets LA Law, and it's great stuff:
Over a dozen lawyers work out of Legal Grind on various days, generally between 3 and 6 p.m. For example, on the first and third Monday of every month, attorney Michael Goldstein offers a $25 "Coffee and Counsel" session on employment rights, worker's compensation, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, personal injury and civil/business disputes between 5 and 6 p.m. Another lawyer simultaneously offers advice on landlord/tenant disputes, auto accidents, restraining orders and small claims.
During the day, before the various experts come in, people can use the document preparation service, pop in to get something notarized or drink coffee while browsing the self-help books on the shelves, including "Your Divorce Advisor."
Coffee. His point of difference is as simple as coffee, good coffee of course:
"We don't want to serve bad espresso, because then people will think we'll screw up their divorce"
It's a great story and is another example of what can happen when you really think about what your customers would really like from you, and it is almost an example of how Chris Carfi's "Transaction to Community" model works.
I don't know that you can ever feel like you are part of a lawyer's community, but at Legal Grind it is about as good as it is going to get.