Social Issues

Bolivian brings legal services to the people with mobile office

By Yolanda Salazar

Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Jul 31 (EFE).- Attorney Marco Antonio Mancilla’s decision to turn one of the red minibuses that are the backbone of mass transit in Bolivia into a mobile office has attracted attention here in the Andean nation’s largest city.

He told Efe that he got the inspiration for the office on wheels when his brother shut down his transportation business due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving the bus to sit idle.

After an ambitious remodeling that included beefing up the electrical system to support a computer, printer and copying machine, among other steps, the mobile office made its debut on July 14.

On the side of the bus is a sign reading “Mancilla Flores and associates juridical consortium” with a partial list of the services offered.

Mancilla and colleague Clever Cuellar are ready to assist clients with matters ranging from employment and housing through wills and divorces to criminal cases.

And people who just need to use the photocopy machine are also welcome.

When it’s not circulating, the minibus is parked near the courthouse in Santa Cruz, attracting curiosity-seekers who posted photos on social media, providing Mancilla with free publicity.

Despite some initial skepticism about the seriousness of the operation, Mancilla began to gain clients.

“It is something innovative and for that same reason it has made an impact,” the lawyer said. “People have been impressed with the bus and many thanked us or congratulated us for the idea.”

The response from the public has encouraged Mancilla and Cuellar to think about outfitting more minibuses to expand the service to other parts of the Santa Cruz region and – maybe – to the rest of Bolivia.

But those ambitions can only be realized if the service shows a profit.

“We must analyze the reception of this innovation and if it has a good result we will look into generating a social impact,” Mancilla said, adding that he hopes one day to put a mobile office on the streets of his hometown of La Paz. EFE ysm/dr

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