By Roger McKinney
BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Lawyers Chris Meek and Nathan Coleman are taking it on the road. They have turned a 2002 Volkswagen Rialta into a mobile law office.
“It’s a convenience factor for our clients,” Coleman said of the recreational vehicle, sometimes called a Winnebago Rialta.
The Meek and Coleman law firm has permanent offices at 1031 Military Ave. in Baxter Springs and 2203 E. 32nd St. in Joplin, Mo. They bought the vehicle about a month ago as a way to provide privacy when meeting with clients at courthouses.
“The Joplin docket can be extremely crowded,” Coleman said, adding that it’s common to see lawyers talking with clients in hallways and stairwells on court day.
The vehicle has desktop and storage space, a sink, a bathroom and a shower. Shades can be drawn for more privacy. A generator powers air conditioning and heat when it’s not on the highway. Meek said the vehicle has about 40,000 miles on it and gets about 19 miles per gallon of gas.
They also use the van to make house calls. Meek said some clients can’t take time off work or have unusual work hours. He said they offer to drive the van to a convenient location to meet with them over their lunch hour.
Meek said a potential client in Pittsburg called him last week and Meek told him that he was going to be in Pittsburg for a court hearing on Monday. The man met him outside the courthouse in the mobile office and agreed to hire him.
“He was tickled pink,” Meek said. The man’s driver’s license was suspended and he would have had a hard time getting a ride to Meek’s office in Baxter Springs and back to Pittsburg.
Meek said other clients can’t drive because of suspended licenses, so the lawyers sometimes pick up clients and drive them to hearings, if the clients don’t live too far from the courthouse.
The vehicle also is a convenience for the attorneys.
Meek said last week he had a hearing in Douglas County District Court in Lawrence and the following morning had a hearing in Lawrence city court. He spent the night in the Rialta. The firm also has future cases scheduled in St. Louis where they will use the recreational vehicle.
Meek also said during long hearings or trials, they also can retreat to the vehicle to review the case file or evidence during breaks.
The lawyers said they don’t charge extra for house calls.
Attorney Chris Meek said in 2001, with different law partners, the firm purchased a hybrid, two-passenger Honda Insight to travel to distant court hearings. The primary benefit of that vehicle, he said, was fuel economy.
By Roger McKinney
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