WLF's customers can be divided into two groups, technology firms and public interest organizations.
Technology firms. New clients are likely to be from small technology firms or start-up companies. The reason for this is that the larger tech firms usually will go with one of the larger law firms in town because a large firm can offer them a wide range of services and do all of the different types of work that is needed. This type of customer sees an advantage for one firm handling all of their needs, and rightfully so. A smaller company has fewer overall legal needs and can be serviced by a boutique firm. A start-up might also be attracted to us because of our willingness to accept equity as partial payment for services rendered. Clients that were brought over to WLF from Richard's old firm are typically small firms, but there are a few larger companies that are using this firm for some services and kept some other work at (name omitted), where Richard practiced before.
Public interest organizations. These clients will be diversified, some are environmental organizations others are civil rights groups. While some public interest organizations receive their legal services for free (pro bono) from some attorneys, there is an extreme shortage of legal help for these organizations. Therefore, it is quite attractive to these organizations to have the possibility of receiving top legal help at a subsidized rate. Attracting these clients will not be the problem, the difficulty will be for Richard to select which organization will receive his help.
Public interest organizations
4.1 Target Market Segment Strategy
WLF will be targeting high technology companies for two reasons.
Although the economy has taken a recent plummet, particularly technology firms, technology is still a growing sector of the economy. This is evidenced by the fact that 17 out of the top 25 fastest growing companies are technology firms, according to The Business Journal of Portland.
Technology is Richard's area of expertise. Richard practiced law at one of the top three law firms in Portland and was in their e-group, concentrating on technology firms. His experience, coupled with his network of colleagues within the industry, makes technology firms attractive customers.
WLF will be targeting public interest organizations for one simple reason, a desire to give back to the community. Public interest work is inherently altruistic to some degree. Generally, the person performing the work receives a good feeling for his/her contribution, but in today's capitalistic society, someone who donates his/her time at far below market wages should be considered altruistic.
4.2 Service Business Analysis
The technology law practice is fairly competitive in Portland. Most larger, more prestigious firms have attorneys who specialize in technology. Some smaller firms also have attorneys who do work for technology companies. Lastly, there are boutique firms, like WLF. As a service-based industry, the practice of law is driven by personal relationships and reputation. Potential clients choose attorneys based on reputation and who they are familiar with or are recommended to. Therefore, if the attorney is providing better service to a client, the client is likely to form a long lasting business relationship with the client.
Clients typically switch attorneys only if they are unhappy with their current attorney. New companies find attorneys through networking: who they know or who their friends know.
WLF has the advantage that when Richard left (name omitted) he brought 15 of his clients, which, for now, are almost enough to survive on.