Markets, Innovation and Prepackaged Law
Franchise law firms bring legal services into our mass consuming society. The commodity system is where consumers expect to satisfy most of their daily needs ( Ewen 1976). That the goods and services available are increasingly prepackaged has not deterred their purchases. Franchises continue to enjoy incredible popularity and growth (see, e.g., Ritzer 1996; Cullen 1996). The success of franchise law firms at gaining clients and the adoption of their techniques by plaintiff's personal injury firms ( Van Hoy 1996) suggest that legal services are not immune to the twentieth-century trend toward creating a mass society.
For most middle-income consumers the prepackaging of legal services offers many potential benefits. Advertising increases awareness that legal needs can be solved by procuring professional services. Standardization of services focuses consumers on price competition rather than quality and may even ensure that some basic level of quality is being maintained. Most importantly, however, prepackaged law offers consumers what they have come to expect: an atmosphere that is appealing, courteous and efficient. The branch office secretary's calm voice and friendly smile combine