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With some big clients under its belt, TLA has found its niche
Fledgling firm Technology Law Alliance (TLA) was launched just two months ago, but it is already celebrating major client wins.
TLA aims to compete with other leading Midlands firms and niche practices, specialises in IT law, outsourcing, call centre contracts and e-commerce. It was founded by former Wragge & Co associates Jagvinder Kang and Stephen Ollerenshaw.
Kang and Ollerenshaw decided to go it alone after they spotted a gap in the market for a niche firm and because they were attracted to the idea of running their own business.
Ollerenshaw claims it is a myth that the technology market is completely dead. He accepts that there is very little M&A work in the sector, but says that TLA does not want to get involved in this area. "What we do is day-to-day contract work which is the lifeblood of technology companies. If they don't enter into contracts with their customers they'll have no revenue. The work we do is a lot more measured and there are fewer peaks and troughs."
TLA operates from 'virtual' offices with meeting facilities in London and Birmingham. Ollerenshaw says: "We're a little bit unusual in that we're virtual. That means that we don't have a geographical base. So we don't have the baggage of being a Birmingham firm or a national firm. We're just a niche IT law firm. That's what we want to get across. It doesn't matter where we're based - we happen to live in the Midlands, but all our clients at the moment are in the South East."
Running a virtual law firm helps Kang and Ollerenshaw to keep their running costs down. Consequently, the firm claims to be able to undercut large technology law departments by around 30-50 per cent.
Ollerenshaw is reluctant to say too much about client wins, except that the firm is already acting for some FTSE 100 companies on procurement matters. Additionally, shortly after the firm opened for business it was added to the panel of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Wragges' biggest IT client. However, Ollerenshaw says: "We don't want to leave people with the impression that we went from Wragges, nicked a whole load of clients and we've started a business on the back of that, because that's not sustainable."
Currently, Kang and Ollerenshaw are the only lawyers at TLA, but Ollerenshaw is sure that the firm will expand within the first year, albeit in a controlled way. "We're not trying to be a medium-sized firm. We definitely want to be niche," he adds.
Originally, TLA planned to offer its services to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and mid-market companies. But Ollerenshaw says that has not turned out to be the case. "The SMEs have not been as interested in us and I don't know why. Maybe it's because we haven't been as active on marketing to them. Instead, major corporates have been interested in talking to us," he says.