Legal Grind Before Shark Tank
Jeff and Annie Hughes joined the Shark Tank from Los Angeles. They came up with a unique idea that would combine two complete different things together, and called it Legal Grind. On the outside, their idea looks like a regular coffeehouse where you can order coffee and a slice of pie; however, it comes with a twist. By walking in and ordering coffee at Legal Grind, you are also able to ask for legal advice, should you need it.
The reason why Jeff and Annie Hughes decided to combine these two ideas into one is because Jeff Hughes recently graduated from the Law School in Los Angeles and passed the Bar Exam; however, he was unable to find a steady job as a lawyer. As a teenager growing up, he was always interested in opening up his own coffeehouse, and because he couldn’t find a steady job as a lawyer, he decided to follow his dreams and open up a coffeehouse.
While he was working as a barista in his own coffeehouse, he figured that a lot of people who came in for coffee had a lot of problems that they wanted to talk about with him. Due to the fact that his actual profession is being a lawyer, he decided to give legal advice inside his own coffeehouse; thus Legal Grind was born. Jeff and Annie Hughes are hoping that the Sharks will invest in them and their company, in order to be able to franchise it.
Legal Grind During Shark Tank
“Jeff and Annie Hughes walk confidently towards the Sharks and stand in front of them”
Jeff and Annie Hughes start their presentation by introducing themselves to the Sharks, after which Jeff Hughes continues by stating that their company is called Legal Grind. Jeff Hughes states that they are seeking an investment of two hundred thousand dollars, in exchange for a fifteen percent equity stake in their business.
Jeff Hughes continues by telling the Sharks that seventeen years ago, he graduated from Law School in Los Angeles and passed the Bar Exam; however, the economy was in recession, and there were not a lot of opportunities for him to get a steady job as a young lawyer. At that very moment, he decided to pursuit other interests.
Jeff Hughes states that he always wanted to open up his own coffeehouse, and he ended up spending more time in coffeehouses than courthouses. And then it hit him, because he realized that a coffeehouse would be a perfect place for a legal resource center, because they can cater to the unmet needs of the middleclass.
“Annie Hughes asks Jeff Hughes why the middleclass”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that he is from the middleclass himself, after which Annie Hughes tells the Sharks that she is from the middleclass as well. Jeff Hughes continues by stating that people with lower incomes have legal aide, and the wealthy have their own lawyers on retainer; however, the middleclass has neither of those things.
“Annie Hughes asks Jeff Hughes what he did about this problem”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that he moved back home, and with the help of his family, he opened up Legal Grind, Coffee and Council in Santa Monica.
Annie Hughes continues the presentation by stating that Legal Grind offers its very own trademarked Coffee and Council and an A La Carte menu of services at affordable prices.
Jeff Hughes states that Legal Grind is a place where anybody can conveniently access affordable information, services and representation. Jeff Hughes continues by stating that with the Sharks’ funding and expertise, they will franchise Legal Grind locations. Annie Hughes stats that for the sake of justice, the Sharks should really think about funding them.
Kevin O’Leary tells Jeff and Annie Hughes that whatever happens on the Shark Tank, they will always have a future in bad theatre.
“Robert Herjavec starts laughing out loud”
“Annie Hughes thanks Kevin O’Leary for his comment”
Kevin O’Leary states that Jeff and Annie Hughes are not selling any legal advice yet, and that Legal Grind is most likely a concept at the moment.
Annie Hughes disagrees with Kevin O’Leary and states that Jeff Hughes started Legal Grind in 1996, which means that their company already exists for years.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Jeff Hughes if he is making any money with Legal Grind”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that Legal Grind is grossing them about two hundred thousand dollars every single year.
“Daymond John asks Jeff Hughes if he is netting any money”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that he is netting about twenty to thirty thousand dollars every year. He states that most of their income goes to their salary, because they have a family and they had to raise a family.
“Barbara Corcoran asks Jeff Hughes how much he and his wife have taken as salary”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that they have taken about fifty thousand dollars each as a salary, before netting about twenty to thirty thousand dollars.
Robert Herjavec states that he wants to make things clear for himself, and continues by stating that Jeff and Annie Hughes have combined a coffee shop with legal services.
Annie Hughes agrees with what Robert Herjavec has just said, and states that they wanted to serve the middleclass, because the middleclass are not getting their legal services met.
Robert Herjavec states that he gets the idea and that he really likes the target market, but the thing that he doesn’t get is that he would need to get into the retail coffee business, in order to be able to successfully run a Legal Grind franchise of his own.
Jeff Hughes states that you do not need to know anything about the retail coffee business, because the coffeehouse is just a setting. Annie Hughes states that the coffeehouse is just a place to start, and all of their lawyers have their own offices.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Jeff Hughes to explain to him why he would want to be in the low-margin legal services business, and why coffee has anything to do with it”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that he doesn’t think he is in the low-margin legal services business.
Kevin O’Leary interrupts Jeff Hughes and states that he is looking at the prices for all of the services, and says that he couldn’t get five minutes with any of his lawyers for those prices.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Annie Hughes to walk him through a Healthcare Directive service, and also asks Annie Hughes how much of her time would it take to service such a deal”
Annie Hughes answers the question by saying that she can prepare such a deal in about ten minutes, while their clients are having their coffee.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Annie Hughes if she has ever done that before”
Annie Hughes answers the question by saying that she has, and that she has managed the Santa Monica Legal Grinds store for seven years.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Annie Hughes if they didn’t need to find a lot of employees that are just like them, in order to be able to run a successful business”
Annie Hughes answers the question by saying that they do not have to do that, due to the fact that they personally train their own employees.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Jeff Hughes if there are any laws against coffee waitresses providing legal services”
Jeff Hughes answers the question that as long as the coffee waitresses are not providing legal advice, there is nothing illegal about Legal Grind. The coffee waitresses that are working at Legal Grind are also documented assistants, which makes their jobs legal.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Annie Hughes if it isn’t much easier to do these things on the internet, where there are no brick and mortar costs”
“Robert Herjavec asks Jeff Hughes why he chose the coffee shop setting”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that people actually like to come in for a cup of coffee and talk about their legal problems. Annie Hughes continues by stating that she had somebody come into the store, who did use the internet for legal advice, and he was not happy. When it comes to certain legal services, people simply want to interact with another human being, instead of staring at a computer screen.
Robert Herjavec states that Annie and Jeff Hughes could also have opened a store and called it Legal Services, instead of Legal Grind with a coffee shop setting.
Jeff Hughes states that nobody would come in, because people simply do not trust lawyers.
“Several of the Sharks start laughing out loud”
Annie Hughes states that Legal Grind is just like a regular coffee shop, where you can come in and sit with your lawyer. She continues by stating that people go out and meet with their lawyer at random locations all the time, including coffee shops.
“Kevin O’Leary asks Jeff Hughes why he didn’t open a pizza shop or drycleaners shop”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that there is no dignity in pizza and drycleaners.
“Robert Herjavec asks Jeff Hughes if there is dignity in coffee”
Jeff Hughes ignores the question and asks the Sharks if he can show them a list of franchisee requests that they have received since they started talking about it.
“Daymond John asks Jeff Hughes if he has a list of franchisee requests”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that there are over a hundred interested franchisee requests on the list that he has.
Daymond John asks Jeff Hughes why he just doesn’t take a down payment on several of those franchisee requests, because all that they would have to do is take twenty franchisee requests, ask ten thousand dollars as a down payment, and they would have their two hundred thousand dollars that they are asking the Sharks for.
Annie Hughes answers the question by saying that they are not in a position to know how or what to do when they receive franchisee requests.
“Daymond John asks Jeff Hughes what they are going to do when they receive the two hundred thousand dollars, because they will still not know what to do”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that they are going to hire legal consultants who will help them to set up a franchise.
Kevin O’Leary states that if he would want to get into the Coffee and Legal business, he would ask himself how much Legal Grind is making already. Kevin O’Leary continues by stating that Legal Grind is making zero, because after Jeff and Annie Hughes pay themselves a normal salary, there is nothing to make.
Jeff Hughes states that all they have to do is put a little bit of money in marketing, because that way, they would get known and people would be interested in becoming a franchisee.
“Barbara Corcoran asks Jeff Hughes what he is going to do with the two hundred thousand dollar investment”
Jeff Hughes answers the question by saying that he would have to discuss it with the Shark that has made that investment. Jeff Hughes continues by stating that he would take a hundred and fifteen thousand dollars to open up a prototype store, and that store should be making three hundred thousand dollars. It is not necessary for a lawyer to be always present at the prototype store, as long as there is a legal documented assistant in place.
“Kevin Harrington asks Annie Hughes how he gets people to come into his store”
Annie Hughes answers the question by saying that it is all word of mouth, and their store is located in a place where people are constantly walking by and asking themselves what Legal Grinds is, because it looks like a coffee shop, but it is not a coffee shop. Annie Hughes continues by stating that they know they can make Legal Grinds work, they just need money and help to get a store in a location where there is a lot of foot traffic, to advertise and market their store, in order to turn it around and make a successful franchise out of it.
Daymond John states that he will tell Jeff and Annie Hughes where he stands. He states that he doesn’t think Legal Grind is a bad idea, but he is a little afraid of getting into a business with a bunch of lawyers. Daymond John states that he is out.
Barbara Corcoran states that she thinks Legal Grind is a great gimmick, but she doesn’t trust Jeff and Annie Hughes that they will be able to replicate it through a franchise network. Barbara Corcoran also does not want to invest in Legal Grind and states that she is out.
Kevin Harrington states that a franchise is built on a success, which means that all “bugs” need to be cleaned out and fixed. When you have such a well-oiled machine, you can say to yourself that you want to take it and duplicate it times a hundred. Kevin Harrington states that he doesn’t think Legal Grind is a well-oiled machine yet, which is why he is out as well.
Robert Herjavec states that Legal Grind is simply a bad idea, because Jeff and Annie Hughes have been doing it for years, and one day they woke up and thought about franchising it out of nothing. Robert Herjavec states that he doesn’t want to invest and that he is out.
Kevin O’Leary states that he only thing of value that he saw today was some really bad theatre, and that he doesn’t see Legal Grind as a business. Kevin O’Leary is out as well.
At the end interview, Annie Hughes states that the Sharks are not open-minded to new ideas for the next generation of middle class people. She states that the economy is in recession, and people will definitely look for other ways to get legal advice.
Legal Grind After Shark Tank
Jeff and Annie Hughes definitely had a unique idea when they first appeared on Shark Tank. Their Legal Grind coffee shop was already up and running for years, with hundreds of satisfied clients and customers. Unfortunately, the Sharks didn’t really see any value in the company getting franchised, even though there was a list of potential franchisee. There is no mention of Legal Grind being the best or worst on Shark Tank; however, it did appear like several of the Sharks found the idea of a coffee shop mixed with legal advice comical.
It seems to me that Jeff and Annie Hughes could have done better research before appearing on the Shark Tank. Their presentation was pretty bad, often with Jeff Hughes forgetting what he was supposed to say. They also didn’t do any research on how to properly franchise their business.
It seems like after appearing on the Shark Tank, Jeff and Annie Hughes decided to continue working in their own Legal Grind location, and not franchise it out. You can visit the official Legal Grind website at http://www.legalgrind.com. On this website, you can find out more about the company itself, information about their prices and how to get in touch with them.