LATA will be focusing on two groups of attorneys that have a need for temp attorneys. The first group is mid-size firms. They are characterized by having seven to 15 attorneys on staff. The mid-size firms will often need help on a project of limited duration and will bring on board a temp attorney to help out on an ongoing case that they have.
The second target group is a small law firm, characterized by having one to six attorneys. For a small firm, they will typically get a client who has needs that, because of current work loads, cannot be fulfilled. The small law firm will then bring the temp attorney on board and hand them the case to work on from start to finish.
Currently, there are several legal-only temp firms. While they are quite similar to LATA, there is plenty of room in the Portland as evidenced by the growth of these companies. Additionally, there are temp agencies that have attorneys as clients but do not specialize in the temping for the practice of law. Firms use these general temp agencies, but there is the trend toward specialization of temp services. Law firms are realizing that there is more value for them to get a temp attorney from a legal temp firm who better understands the firm's needs.
LATA's customers can be divided into two different groups:
In addition to these two groups there might be other miscellaneous customers that do not fit neatly into a segment.
LATA is specifically targeting the small- and mid-size law firms because they are the most likely to use a temp service consistently. LATA's strategy for marketing its service will be based on a couple different forms of communication:
The temp agency in Portland is similar in size to comparable cities in other states. Most agencies have some degree of specialization. Some firms serve IT companies, some serve clerical needs. Most firms do not specialize in such a narrow area as the practice of law. If they served law firms, it is generally a part of a larger professional group practice.
Companies that are in need for temp workers will contact a temp agency and tell them what type of workers they need. The temp agency will have a list of potential workers that they have previously interviewed and screened out highly-qualified applicants for specific skills. The company will then pay the temp agency an hourly wage and the temp agency pays their temp worker. The margins in the temp industry are typically 14%-20%. The value that the temp agencies develop for the companies is that they do all the job posting, interviewing, screening, hiring, and payroll, etc. If the client is unhappy with the temp worker most temp agencies will take back the worker and replace them with someone else. This is quite attractive for many companies who do not have the time or resources to invest into finding temp help.
There are many different temp firms in Portland. On a nationwide scale, the largest franchise temp agencies make up 40% of the market. Portland has a similar makeup with several large franchise agencies. There are also many independent temp companies. Typically, both the franchise or independently owned companies are either generalists or concentrate on a broad group of skills like professionals or IT. It is quite rare for a company to be specific enough to only serve a single profession. While concentrating on a single profession limits the market size of the firm, it allows the temp firm to offer a higher level of service for that specific market niche.
There is a recent trend of companies hiring temp workers and converting them to full-time employees. This allows them to spend less money up front on the worker and also allows them a trial period with the employee. While any employer can set up a trial or probationary period for a worker, the temp set up allows them to do this without investing much money into hiring or training of the worker. In essence it allows the firm to pay the temp agency to be their HR department, converting the temp worker into an employee of the firm after they have been impressed with the temp's work product and personality. This makes hiring significantly less risky as you are able to "try before you buy."