America’s Largest Full Service Consumer Law Firm Celebrates 40 Years of Innovation

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Today Jacoby & Meyers, the largest full-service consumer law firm in the U.S., celebrates 40 years of leadership, innovation and excellence in legal services.

Today Jacoby & Meyers, the largest full-service consumer law firm in the U.S., celebrates 40 years of leadership, innovation and excellence in legal services. Leonard Jacoby and Stephen Meyers (1943-1996) opened their first law office in Van Nuys, California on this date in 1972. The two attorneys sought to make the legal system more accessible and lawyers more accountable to the average person.

Len and Steve revolutionized the delivery of legal services with innovations such as: changing the rules that prohibited lawyers from giving the public information about their legal services, which led to Jacoby & Meyers becoming the first law firm to advertise; being the first multi-branch, multi-state law firm to specialize in personal legal problems of the middle class; and the first to accept payment by credit card.

Jacoby & Meyers redesigned the traditional law office for the convenience of the public. Offices were located in shopping districts rather than downtown high rises. Evening and Saturday appointments were available. Clients paid a low cost consultation fee and got an estimate of the fees in writing. In many cases there were flat fees for the services. Efficiencies were introduced to reduce the cost of the services. Paralegals, new to law offices in 1972, were employed to assist lawyers. Standardized forms and pleadings were created to reduce time spent on a case and insure quality. The staff attorneys specialized in different areas of law, such as Family Law, Personal Injury, Bankruptcy and Criminal Defense. These revolutionary practices have become the standard for consumer law firms around the world. Firms based on the Jacoby & Meyers model are operating in Italy, the UK, Australia, and other countries.

Jacoby & Meyers grew quickly throughout Southern California, and became a national firm in 1979 with the opening of offices in New York and New Jersey, managed by Gail Koff (1945-2010,) who became the third partner. Gail also wrote several books to give consumers a better understanding of the law and their rights, including The Jacoby & Meyers Practical Guide to Everyday Law in 1985, Jacoby & Meyers Guide to Divorce in 1991, and Jacoby & Meyers Practical Guide to Personal Injury in 1992.

With 135 offices and 310 attorneys in the U.S. and aggressive expansion plans in the works, Jacoby & Meyers’ goal is to continue its tradition of pioneering newer, better, more convenient and more affordable ways of providing legal services.

The firm’s tradition as a leader in revolutionizing the legal status quo continues today. Jacoby & Meyers recently merged with the largest bankruptcy law firm in America, Chicago-based Macey Bankruptcy. The firm has also created the websites “DangerousDrugs.com” and “PersonalInjury.com” to answer questions that consumers may have about how they may be affected by drug side effects and injuries from accidents. Jacoby & Meyers is also working on ways to make getting information and advice from attorneys easier and more convenient than ever before. Later this month Jacoby & Meyers will make an announcement about its entry into the legal forms market as the only law firm provider of consumer legal forms to the entire U.S. public, joining non-law firm industry leaders Legal Zoom and USLegal Forms, Inc. in providing do-it-yourself legal forms to consumers.

In addition, Jacoby & Meyers is challenging the rules that currently prevent non-attorney investment in law firms. Last year Jacoby & Meyers filed federal lawsuits in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, seeking to change bar association rules that curtail its ability to raise capital from outside investors. Alternative Business Structures (ABS), which allow outside investors to purchase shares, are already in place in the United Kingdom and Australia. For example, Australian law firm Slater & Gordon became the world’s first publicly listed law firm after floating an IPO in 2007. Using an ABS in the U.K., Slater & Gordon purchased U.K. personal injury firm Russell Jones & Walker earlier this year. While all 50 U.S. states currently ban outside non-lawyer investments in law firms, Washington, D.C. firms have been allowed to have non-lawyer investors for more than two decades. Len Jacoby, founding partner of Jacoby & Meyers said, “We will not wait on external capital to continue our expansion efforts and we expect to make several other announcements in the coming months regarding our growth to better serve clients. We are looking forward to our next 40 years of innovation and service.”
Note: we have archival newspaper articles from the early years of Jacoby & Meyers available upon request.

Contact: Robin Rainer
Robin.Rainer(at)jacobymeyers(dot)com
334.944.2507

About Jacoby & Meyers: Jacoby & Meyers, recognized as a pioneer of consumer legal services reform, is America's largest full-service consumer law firm, helping clients and families obtain assistance in the U.S. legal system. It is Jacoby & Meyers' goal to make lawyers and the legal system more accessible and affordable for every American. Since its inception in 1972, Jacoby & Meyers has grown to become the largest, best known and one of the most innovative law firms in the U.S. with over 135 offices serving all 50 U.S. states. For more information on the Jacoby & Meyers law firm, go to http://www.jacobymeyers.com.

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